Checks and Balances to Prevent Embezzlement
Nearly 15 years ago, one of my best friends, also a dentist, found out that he had been the victim of embezzlement. It was devastating, cost him a lot of money, a lot of patients and almost his entire practice.
It was an elaborate ploy that included billing CareCredit for patients and getting checks for large sums of money (after all, she did have their data) and when the checks came to his office, she hid them from him (he opened all mail) and she deposited them into accounts, only to write checks to herself from an account she had opened in her name. This is 100% real scenario and I apologize for not being able to answer a lot of the questions you may have, because it was 15 years ago and I simply don’t know or can’t remember.
However, what I do recall is that when patients would call asking why they were getting statements in the mail from CareCredit, she would explain it was a mistake and she would rectify it within 30-45 days and assured them not to worry. When they were appeased a few times over several months and she couldn’t do it any further, she would open a larger account in another patients name, pay off the first patient and keep going. She essentially cerated a Ponzi scheme with no knowledge from her victims.
At the end of it all, she left the practice not to be found, leaving the doctor with $150,000 due to care credit (after all, the money was technically paid to his practice) and dozens of very angry patients and a police department unwilling to chase down this woman.
I know what you’re thinking: This is untrue. Glenn has all the facts wrong. This never happens like this. It would never happen like this to me.
You’re 100% wrong. It can happen to you. My friend was nearly destroyed over it and it’s likely happening (through different methods) to many of us in this group right now. It’s been said that there are two types of dental practices: Those who have been embezzled and those who haven’t yet discovered it.
I’m not telling you to bring in a forensic auditor tomorrow, but I am suggesting that you learn more about this subject and put checks and balances into place. Saying things like: “I go and get the mail every day” or “I look at a day sheet” is simply nothing more than a comment. Plus, I can promise you that I am not as diligent as I should be and this lesson is directed at me as much as you.
This is why I have asked David Harris (https://www.prosperident.com) to speak at our Orthopreneurs 2018 meeting next June1st and 2nd (op2018.com or click the link below). He is arguably one of the world experts on this topic and is far, far more qualified than even the best consultant or management agency. I need to make it clear that I have zero financial interest or arrangement with David. I am simply explaining that if you think you’re in good shape because some consultant told you how to do things, it’s generally inadequate.
Remember, no matter what you’re doing, and no matter what your friend, uncle, mentor, etc. told you, I would suggest certified fraud examiners and private investigators to look at your books (which is what David does) or at least give you suggestions of their “best practices” for protecting yourself.
We work so hard to build our dream practices and we should never allow someone else to come in and steal our hard earned income. Learn from the masters and put iron clad systems in place and move on to the next challenge in practicing orthodontics and being an entrepreneur.
I’m hoping you’ll join us in Dallas next year and hear David and other experts teach us how to take home more, reduce our stress and create fantastic cultures in our practices.
Wishing you an amazing day,
If you want to come to learn more about an amazing business meeting for orthodontists, simply visit OP2018.com . We’ve got a world-class lineup of speakers, amazing food and an ambiance that will make you want to come back year after year. You can always email me at Glenn@OrthopreneursRD.com or message me on Facebook. I’m here to help.