Ex-dental office manager, spouse ordered to pay $3.1M

By Melissa Busch, DrBicuspid.com associate editor

July 27, 2021 -- A former office manager and his husband have been ordered to pay $3.1 million in restitution to a dental practice in Indiana after they pleaded guilty to wire fraud, according to a July 23 statement from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).

Brian Nordan, who worked at a Fort Wayne dental practice for more than a decade, reportedly used company money to fund his toothpaste business and to cover personal expenses. The owner of the dental practice also did not know or approve of Nordan hiring his spouse, Dustin Coleman, who allegedly did little work but continued to get paid.

In March 2006, the unnamed dentist and practice owner hired Nordan as a manager and chief marketing officer. As his employment continued, Nordan was given more responsibility for the daily operations of the practice. Eventually, the dentist owner paid the 44-year-old office manager a salary of $250,000 per year.

In his role as general manager, Nordan was tasked with making decisions in the best interest of the dental practice and its more than 100 employees, according to U.S. authorities. But in 2018, forensic accountants began investigating Nordan after the owner dentist discovered that Nordan had been using multiple schemes to fraudulently misappropriate funds from the practice.

An audit showed that Nordan used company credit cards and reimbursement checks to pay for unauthorized expenses. Nordan reportedly used dental practice money to pay his personal credit cards and to cover the cost of wages and benefits for his sister and Coleman when they were not actually working for the company, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Indiana.

Additionally, Nordan purportedly used his employer's money to invest in a toothpaste company in which he was one of the owners. He allegedly sold the toothpaste from his company back to the dental practice at highly marked-up prices.

Then, in 2012, Nordan allegedly hired his spouse, Coleman, to handle marketing for the practice without the owner's knowledge or approval. Coleman completed some work for the dental practice, but otherwise was a "ghost employee," according to the DOJ. Between 2016 and 2018, Coleman reportedly collected $149,756 in wages and benefits that he was not entitled to receive, the DOJ said.

Forensic accountants determined that Nordan's scheming, including the unauthorized enrichment of his family members, resulted in a total fraud loss of more than $3 million. Nordan and Coleman were ordered to pay $2.98 million and $150,00 in restitution, respectively. Nordan was also sentenced to 42 months in prison and two years of supervised release, while Coleman was sentenced to six months in prison and one year of supervised release.


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