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Va. orthodontist files embezzlement suit against former employee

Misappropriation of funds in small increments over a long period of time is one form that embezzlement can take. A woman accused of embezzling more than $400,000 while employed as the manager of an orthodontist's office in Virginia now faces a civil lawsuit from her former employer after pleading no contest to embezzlement charges.

The office manager's former employer, an orthodontist in Roanoke, Virginia, has filed a civil lawsuit against her former office manager for punitive damages in the amount of $500,000 and compensatory damages of $850,000. This comes after the former office manager pleaded no contest to four felony counts of embezzlement. In November, the court indicted the 43-year-old woman on 10 counts of embezzlement, but following her no contest plea, she saw the remaining six of the charges against her dropped.

Regardless of the outcome of the civil case, the orthodontist will receive $421,119 in restitution from her former employee, who is to receive further punishment in January at her sentencing hearing. A jury will hear the orthodontist's civil suit starting a few days later.

Allegedly, multiple fraudulent transactions in small amounts accrued over the 10-year period that the orthodontist employed the office manager to keep records regarding billing and scheduling, among other duties. Inconsistencies in the office's financial records discovered after the office manager left her position in December 2016 prompted the Virginia State Police to investigate.

Embezzlement is a serious crime that not only involves theft but also a violation of trust. Those facing either criminal charges or civil suits for embezzlement may find it helpful to consult an attorney.

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