Florida Dental Receptionist Charged With Stealing Thousands of Dollars From Patients
By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law
On October 20, 2017, a receptionist at a Deltona dental clinic was arrested on charges she stole thousands of dollars in cash payments from the business’ customers since the beginning of 2016. Lucina Rodriguez was charged with two counts of grand theft in the case, which involved 30 missing bank deposits totaling more than $18,000 in cash. Rodriguez allegedly collected the cash payments from customers at Dental Care of Deltona, according to the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.
The Alleged Theft.
According to Volusia County sheriffs’ detectives, Rodriguez pocketed the cash deposits that were supposed to be taken to the bank. She also collected pre-payments but didn’t give receipts and failed to make a record of any payment in the patient’s file. The missing money would go undetected until months later, when the patient returned for the procedure, and the loss was written off as a “paperwork error.” In one case, a patient came to the clinic to cancel a procedure and request a refund of her $400 pre-payment. The clinic staff searched through her file and found no record of any pre-payment.
As detectives conducted interviews and inspected records, it became clear that she was the common link in the missing deposits.
From January 2016 to September 2017, she made close to $15,000 in cash deposits to her personal bank accounts. After she was fired on September 19, 2017, money stopped disappearing from the dental clinic.
Rodriguez was charged with one count of grand theft ($10,000-$20,000) for the stolen cash deposits and an additional count of grand theft ($300-$5,000) for stealing the $400 pre-payment one victim wanted refunded. To read the press release in full from the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office, click here.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time a health professional has stolen from an employer. To learn more on how to stop employee embezzlement, click here to read one of my prior blogs.
Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced in Representing Health Care Professionals in Criminal Matters and Professional Licensing Matters.
If you have been arrested, it is strongly recommended that you retain an experienced attorney who can advise you on the criminal proceeding, your rights and how it may affect you. Most important to a physician, dentist, nurse, pharmacist or other health professional are what consequences may follow this. Consequences may include loss or suspension of hospital privileges, loss or suspension of your professional license, exclusion from the Medicare Program, termination from the state Medicaid Program, termination from health care insurance panels and other severe consequences.
To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.
“Deltona dental clinic worker charged with stealing $18,000.” The Daytona Beach News Journal. (October 20, 2017). Web.
Padró Ocasio, Bianca. “Dental clinic employee stole thousands of dollars from patients, authorities say.” Orlando Sentinel. (October 20, 2017). Web.
About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.
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