The Hard Reality of Dental Embezzlement with David Harris

Bulletproof Dental Practice Podcast Episode 39

Hosts: Dr. Peter Boulden & Dr. Craig Spodak

Guest: David Harris, founder & CEO of Prosperident

Key Takeaways:

  • At least 60% of dentists will be embezzled from, but the actual percentage is probably higher.
  • Understanding WHY people steal will help in profiling an embezzler. People steal for 2 reasons: need & greed.
  • Thieves want to be alone when they steal. Keep an eye out for employees who are coming in early, leaving late, or otherwise coming and going at strange times.
  • Be familiar with your practice management software’s daily and monthly financial reports, and run / print those reports yourself. Don’t give anyone the option to report selectively.
  • The Office Manager generally has the most opportunity for financial theft, but anyone at the front desk can be capable as well.
  • Any form of wealth transfer to you can be intercepted; cash, check, ACH, sale of dental supplies, time, you name it.
  • Most embezzlement is not found through audits, but by watching employee behavior.
    • Look for staff members who have money issues, compulsive behavior, who never take vacation, staff members who always resist change, who are territorial, resistant to outside advisors, resistant to upgrades, etc.
  • Less than 1/3 of embezzlement is discovered through a financial anomaly.
  • The other 2/3 of embezzlement is discovered based on watching employee behavior.
  • Many dentists feel ashamed about finding they’ve been embezzled from, but in reality it is not the dentist that caused it, and there is no reason to feel ashamed.
  • There’s no way to totally safe-proof your business, but you can work to catch embezzlement early on. Shift your attention from prevention to detection.
  • Proper background checks during hiring are the BEST way to safeguard your business from embezzlement.
  • When hiring a new employee, talk to all previous employers for the last 5 years. Don’t call the phone number given to you by the potential new hire, instead google them and call the number found there.
    • Ask for exact start date and exact end date, compare those to the resume. You’re looking for discrepancies that may indicate hidden jobs.
    • Confirm job title.
    • The best question to ask is, “Would you rehire this person again if you had a job opening and they were available?”
  • 1 in 4 adults in the US has a criminal record.
  • Prosperident offers a range of products designed to help you put systems in place to aide in preventing embezzlement, and they also offer investigation products should you suspect an embezzler may be at work in your business.


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