Quotes & Notes:David Harris:  Are you employing criminals? - Relentless Dentist

  • We [Prosperident] are the biggest at what we do, which is investigating embezzlement in dental offices.
  • By embezzlement, we mean staff stealing from dentists, and it could take various forms.  It could be direct in the sense of stealing checks payable to the doctor from insurance companies or it could be indirect like, to give a frightening example, somebody with a little bit of clinical background bringing somebody into your office after hours and doing dental work on them.
  • If I had to give you an educated guess, I’d say that for a practicing dentist, there’s about an 80% probability that at some point in their career they will be embezzled.
  • The average amount that we see stolen from a dentist in an embezzlement matter is about $110,000.
  • There are broadly speaking two ways to steal from you, one is forcing you to pay out money that you weren’t planning on paying out. And the other way is to intercept money that is coming in from patients and insurance companies.
  • If you look at the basic anatomy of stealing, there is the act of stealing and then there is the act of concealment afterward.  When we investigate, it is the concealment that we are generally looking for.
  • What we have to focus on instead is what we can do to increase detection?
  • Who among your employees is displaying an attitude that would suggest to you that it would be relatively easy for them to get to the point of saying that stealing is ok? Do they resent your success? Do they covet your possessions and your lifestyle? Do they over-empathize with patients with financial issues?

They are stealing because they want to, and it is an ego thing. We did an investigation that we wrapped up last year. There was somebody stealing from an office. She was stealing and then she won 3 million dollars in the state lotto.  And after that, she kept stealing.

  • One of the most common comments we get from doctors is, “That is the last person I would expect to embezzle.”
  • If you break the rules, if you take cash payments and don’t report them to the IRS if you cut insurance corners, what you’ve done effectively is hand any embezzler in your office a get out of jail free card.
  • Your practice should have an entry alarm.
  • Use your practice management software properly. For example, everyone should be using their own unique ID, with their own password, and you should enable the feature that enforces everybody to change their password every so often.
  • We have a checklist called the Embezzlement Risk Assessment Questionnaire. And it is designed to systematically take a dentist through looking at staff behavior.
  • Whatever you do, don’t let them know you suspect.
  • Unfortunately going to your CPA firm, in general, is a waste of money to solve this money.
  • We need to vigilant, but at the same time, I don’t think that automatic mistrust of employees is the right plan either.

If you want to learn more or get the Embezzlement Risk Assessment Questionnaire, you can go to www.dentalembezzlement.com, or email David Harris at [email protected]. Questions for the questionnaire go to [email protected]If you prefer to call them, their toll-free number is (888) 398-2327.

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