Generally, when we think of dentists, we picture getting our teeth cleaned. We envision visits to an office where scraping, polishing and flossing is the norm. Depending on your personal attention to oral care, you may also think of more horrifying experiences like having your teeth pulled or getting a root canal. Dentists don’t, however, typically spark thoughts about embezzlement.
That is, of course, unless you know Jack Massarsky. This past Monday, the 65 year-old dentist was sentenced to two years in prison and three years of supervised release. As reported by the District of Massachusetts branch of the U.S. Attorney's Office, Massarsky embezzled over $1.2 million from his employer. He also fraudulently obtained government benefits in his employer’s name
Embezzlement is a type of financial fraud.
It is a crime that consists of dishonestly appropriating or misappropriating funds or assets entrusted to one's care. Embezzlement involves the deliberate manipulation or theft of funds that an individual has been entrusted with. It is often committed through a position of authority or responsibility within an organization or company.
“An example of (embezzlement) can be a family member who has access to another relative's estate or bank accounts and removes cash without consent and then sells the property or spends the money,” explains the Law Office of Michael B. Cohen, “Another example of this crime can be an officer or employee of a company who has legal access to handle the company's funds but has no legal ownership of such funds. If this member of the company finds a way to extract monies from the corporate account without permission, and uses it for their own personal benefit, this would be an act of embezzlement.”
Massarsky embezzled more $1.2 million over the course of five years.
He used the stolen funds for both personal and family expenses. As per the U.S. Attorney’s Office report, Massarsky opened a secret bank account in the name of a dentistry practice when he started working there 2015. He carried the responsibilities of being both a dentist and bookkeeper at the practice until 2021. While there, he intercepted insurance reimbursement checks that were sent to the dentistry practice in the mail. He then deposited those checks in his secret bank account.
Massarsky also used the dentistry practice’s name to defraud the United States. In July 2020, he submitted a fraudulent application to the Health Resources and Services Administration Provider Relief Fund (HRSA PRF) in the name of the dentistry practice. The agency provides health care to people who are geographically isolated or otherwise vulnerable.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, the HRSA PRF provided economic assistance to qualifying healthcare providers, including certain dentistry practices,” details the report, “By submitting the fraudulent application to the HRSA PRF, Massarsky obtained over $52,000 in pandemic relief funds that were deposited in the secret bank account Massarsky had opened in the name of his employer.”
Massarsky pleaded guilty to his charges back in January.
The charges included one count of mail fraud and one count of wire fraud. Prior to his sentencing, Massarsky paid over $1.2 million in restitution.
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