I received this call on Christmas Eve in 2019.
The caller was not a dentist, and come to think of it, he never did tell me what he did for a living.
Still, based our conversation I could sense he was perhaps close to retirement age, very well-off and and educated.
I’ll call him Joe.
Joe called me because he recognized the name of an embezzler on the Dental FraudBusters! website and he wanted to know what happened to her after she was released from prison.
I asked why he was interested.
Joe told me he was in a relationship with this woman and had loaned her $60,000 just before she went to prison. (Joe did not know she was headed to prison at the time, and of course Joe has not heard from her since)
I asked Joe a few more questions, and soon soon realized I could not help him as a client.
Joe just wanted to tell his story, so I obliged.
Joe’s story is one I have heard time and again.
In essence, Joe was targeted by this woman.
She never told Joe about her previous job as a dental office manager or the criminal charges.
Instead she presented herself to Joe as an available, outgoing, “got it all together” woman who was very interested in him.
Joe told me he was single and assured me he was law abiding man. He then went on to describe his relationship with this woman.
Joe told me during their relationship, she solicited and enticed Joe to say and do things that, in hindsight, left Joe in a compromised situation.
A situation that made Joe unwilling to report her to police or seek legal action.
Ever since her release from prison, Joe has been trying to locate her, and to what end, I have no clue.
After my call with Joe, it occurred to me how similar his story was to other stories I have heard.
I do not keep count, but each month I receive calls from dentists who have uncovered evidence that their employee has stolen money from the practice, and yet they are unwilling to do anything about it.
In this group of dentists there are three segments:
The Ostriches – these are dentists who put their heads in the sand. They are reluctant to confront their employees for a number of reasons. Some believe that it will cost more in accounting and legal fees than it’s worth. Others will self-minimize the scope of the theft. The dentists in this group want to discuss their concerns with me, but ultimately they remain reluctant to confront the issue. (see: “I’ll just let her go. What could possibly go wrong?”)
The Pragmatists – these are the dentists who after speaking with me, reach the conclusion that there no benefit to pursuing legal action. In other words, it’s just not worth the time, cost or effort. Yes, situations like this happen and involve small losses or misdemeanors.
The Dilemmists – these dentists are in a situation like Joe. They are embezzled or swindled and reluctant to do anything out of fear. On one hand, they want prosecution and restitution but are precluded from taking action against their employees because they fear the employee will slander them, or disclose confidential information (like an extramarital tryst)
It’s a Mexican Standoff.
It’s easy to avoid finding yourself in a compromised situation like Joe. Just follow these rules:
- Never compromise your ethics or integrity.
- Do not have improper relations with employees, patients, suppliers or anyone connected to your practice.
- Cordial and social events are fine; just don’t go overboard. Refrain from “partying” with employees, patients, suppliers or anyone connected to your practice.
- Keep your personal life private. If you have a wild weekend in Vegas; keep it to yourself.
- Do not “cut corners” with dental insurance.
- Do not remove cash from the daily collections or make non-business purchases using company funds. Lead by example.
- Use the computers in your office for work only. Browse the internet and check email on your phone at work.
Here is how one dentist solved his temptation dilemma.
Dental assistant fired because she was too attractive.