June 15, 2022 - 9:21 am
A woman who pleaded guilty to stealing from a Las Vegas Valley dental office will spend at least three years in prison for the crime, according to court records.
Clark County District Court filings show Senior Judge Mark Gibbons on Tuesday sentenced Danielle Powers, 42, of Las Vegas, to three to eight years in the Nevada Department of Corrections. The sentence stems from the theft of more than $249,000 from Desert Hills Dental, 5475 S. Fort Apache Road.
“Since the defendant was out of custody on this case, she picked up three new fraud cases,” according to notes from the sentencing hearing.
Dentist Deborha Staten and her husband, John Staten, told a grand jury the couple hired Powers as an office manager in 2014 because she was experienced in the dental field. She soon became a trusted employee.
A co-worker reported to them in 2019, however, that she saw Powers engage in suspicious activity with a customer by handling a large stack of cash in the office even though the patient’s records showed no cash payment. Office video later showed Powers stashing the cash received from the customer in the office and leaving for the day, then returning to the office after hours and pocketing the cash.
The couple told a Clark County grand jury a forensic auditor uncovered a complex embezzlement scheme that caused a $249,216 loss to the dental office. Part of the scheme, investigators said, involved hiding portions of a computerized spreadsheet that listed business transactions for the office.
Powers was initially charged with felony theft and embezzlement in February 2020 but was released from custody on her own recognizance, and court proceedings were repeatedly delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. She was indicted in October 2020 on 10 felony theft and embezzlement counts. She was then arrested again in October 2021 by Las Vegas police on accusations she had embezzled from Smile Vegas Dental, 8525 Blue Diamond Road.
Court records show Powers pleaded guilty on May 2 to two felony counts of embezzlement in the theft from the Statens. She was also ordered to pay $249,216 in restitution to the couple.