A North Strabane Township woman was arraigned Tuesday on theft charges after she allegedly stole more than $68,000 through falsification of pay records while working as an office manager at a Peters Township dental practice.
Heather N. Smith, 43, of 14 Smith Place, was charged by Peters police with theft by deception, receiving stolen property and tampering with records or identification.
Township police were contacted in April about suspected fraud at the office of Leonard Radnor, DMD, 157 Waterdam Road. Radnor and his wife told police they had learned Smith might have been fraudulently inflating her own pay over the last few years.
Through an audit and an extensive review of employee payroll documents, police said it was determined that Smith was claiming work hours that had not been approved and which could not have been reasonably worked.
Smith is accused of improperly claiming holiday hours and sick time, as well as overtime, from 2014 through 2017. Police indicated in court documents holiday and sick time are not offered at the practice.
Unauthorized pay increases also were allegedly identified on Smith’s earnings records. Smith had been responsible for recording her own hours on a time sheet, as well as consolidating hours of all employees on a worksheet. She then reported the hours to the office’s payroll company.
Police allege Smith repeatedly falsified the documents to account for her inflated hours. Some of those documents and records were missing from the office.
Police indicated it was suggested Smith did work at home to account for some or all of the overtime hours, but the Radnors did not believe the work needed to be done remotely. The laptop Smith had available for use outside the office did not have the necessary software to process patient claims, police said.
Smith was arraigned before District Judge Jesse Pettit and released on $68,000 unsecured bond. She is scheduled for a July 10 preliminary hearing before District Judge David Mark.
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