August 2022 – A debt-ridden dental receptionist embezzled thousands of dollars and ID information from the dental surgery she worked at, a court has heard..
Coreen Basa lived an unassuming life as a mother and receptionist at a popular dental practice in Sydney’s inner west.
Or so it seemed.
Behind closed doors, the 30-year-old was drowning in crippling debt. She turned to a desperate but failed attempt at a quick fix, which involved deceiving her employer, customers and a colleague with embezzlement, theft and fraud.
Gift Card Scam
According to documents tendered to Downing Centre Local Court, Basa was a receptionist at a dental practice located at 100 Redfern St when she ordered $3500 worth of Officeworks gift cards on the company account from September 2021 to November 2021, averaging three per week.
But instead of using the money for the purpose intended and known by her employer, the Strathfield woman used the money to pay her bills and debts.
“Basa secretly paid small amounts of her own money back into this business account that did not cover amount taken,” the facts read.
Basa was sentenced for stealing from an inner west dental practice while she was a receptionist.
Refunded to her own account
During a separate offence dated September 22, Basa refunded $1000 meant for a customer into her own personal bank account.
Again, she paid small amounts back to the business which were not easily traceable, but did not cover the full amount stolen.
Learn more: Issuing Refunds in your Dental Practice
According to the facts, about two months later, Basa accessed confidential information of the dental assistant, Silvana Dominguez-Machedo.
“Using the business data management system, the accused accessed copies of Dominguez-Machedo’s passport and Medicare card,” the facts read.
“Using this information, the accused applied for an NAB credit card with a credit amount of $15,000”.
On November 28, Besa resigned from the business.
Soon after, the practice’s owner, Lina Gomez-Betancur, became aware of financial discrepancies in the business, the facts read.
She also discovered a letter from NAB in the business mailbox addressed to Dominguez-Machedo, referencing the credit card application Dominguez-Machedo never applied for.
Downing Centre Local Court heard Besa had paid back the money she owed.
Deputy Chief Magistrate Theo Tsavdaridis said Basa, who had a “fairly limited criminal history,” had a high moral culpability given the frequency of the transactions, particularly of the gift cards.
“These are matters that are particularly difficult to detect,” Magistrate Tsavdaridis said. “She has paid the amounts back.”
Magistrate Tsavdaridis convicted Basa of dealing with identity information with intention to commit an indictable offence, stealing property as a clerk or servant worth less than $2000 and embezzling between $2000 and $5000 as a clerk or servant.
She was sentenced to a 12-month community corrections order, which was discounted by 25 per cent due to her early guilty plea, and fined $2000.
Magistrate Tsavdaridis warned: “If you breach those bonds, that is, if you are found guilty of any other offence, you will have nothing left”.