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October 20, 2011

BOSTON - A Quincy woman has been sentenced to 46 months in prison for embezzling several hundred thousand dollars from multiple area dentists.

U.S. District Judge George A. O’Toole Jr. sentenced PHUONG NGUYEN, a/k/a “Lisa,” 33, to 46 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release. He also ordered NGUYEN to pay $378,624. In May, NGUYEN pleaded guilty to three counts of uttering a forged security, one count of mail fraud and one count of wire fraud.

Beginning in approximately 2006, NGUYEN embezzled several hundred thousand dollars from four local area dental practices. To execute the scheme, NGUYEN obtained employment as an office manager or front desk manager at the dental practices. These jobs put NGUYEN in position both to generate insurance claims from these offices and to submit those claims to private insurance carriers. NGUYEN was also in a position to open incoming mail and intercept reimbursement checks and notices of denied claims from insurance carriers. NGUYEN intercepted incoming checks, forged doctors’ endorsement on checks, and deposited checks into bank accounts that she controlled. In instances where NGUYEN had access to the business check book, NGUYEN forged signatures on checks, making them payable to herself or to cash.

NGUYEN’s scheme followed a cyclical pattern. Typically, she would begin embezzling money in the manner described above shortly after obtaining employment as an office manager or front desk manager at a dental practice. After being terminated – in some cases as a result of the discovery of her embezzlement – NGUYEN would seek employment at a new dental practice, where the cycle would begin again.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Robert Bethel, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; Anthony DiPaolo, Chief of Investigations of the Massachusetts Insurance Fraud Bureau; Daniel F. Conley, Suffolk County District Attorney; and Michael W. Morrissey, Norfolk County District Attorney made the announcement today. The case was prosecuted by Todd Braunstein and Paul G. Levenson of Ortiz’s Economic Crimes Unit.



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