Former dental office manager accused of stealing $96K

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A former office manager at a dental practice in Utah has been charged for allegedly stealing $96,000 from her employer, according to news reports. She reportedly used the money to pay for personal expenses, including rent, food, and bail money for another unrelated criminal case.

Nikki Lee Martinez, 40, was charged on December 24 with 28 felony counts, including theft by deception, forgery, and obstructing justice. She is in jail awaiting her next court appearance.

Martinez is accused of using checks and credit cards belonging to her former employer, South Ogden Dental Associates. She allegedly engaged in the theft for about two years before she was fired in October 2019.

The authorities and her employer learned about Martinez's scheme after she was involved in a car accident on August 4. Police became suspicious when they found blank checks belonging to South Ogden Dental Associates and a bank card belonging to a dentist in Martinez's car.

On October 14, the dental practice filed a fraud complaint after firing Martinez. The office manager who replaced Martinez told police she found several discrepancies with checks, as well as a notebook that Martinez used to practice patients' signatures. Martinez had allegedly applied for fraudulent loans and issued checks to people who were neither employed or treated at the practice, according to authorities.

Martinez used the stolen checks to pay $13,700 to her landlord, and she also used $7, 550 in checks to pay for her heating, electricity, and cellphone bills, according to the police. She used stolen credit cards to make about $11,000 in purchases, including a Netflix subscription, pizza meals, and car repairs and payments.

Additionally, she wrote approximately $63,000 in dental office checks to pay to get her out of jail in June for an unrelated prescription fraud case. In this case, Martinez was charged with 14 counts of third-degree felony forgery for allegedly obtaining fraudulent prescriptions for hydrocodone from October 2018 through June 2019. Martinez was arrested in this case after a pharmacist became suspicious and checked with her doctor to see if the prescription was real. The pharmacist didn't write the prescription, and police said Martinez forged the doctor's signature.

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