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DELTONA DENTAL CLINIC RECEPTIONIST CHARGED WITH STEALING THOUSANDS
A receptionist at a Deltona dental clinic was arrested Friday evening on charges she stole thousands of dollars in cash payments from the business’ customers since the beginning of last year.
Lucina Rodriguez, 52 (DOB 12/22/1964), of Deltona, was charged with two counts of grand theft in the case, which involved 30 missing bank deposits totaling more than $18,000 in cash collected from customers at Dental Care of Deltona.
Volusia County sheriff’s detectives determined Rodriguez routinely stole cash deposits that were supposed to be taken to the bank.
In one case, in late September, a patient came to the clinic to cancel a procedure and request a refund of her prepayment. She wanted to use the $400 to send supplies to her family in Puerto Rico, which was hit by Hurricane Maria just a few days earlier. The clinic staff searched through her file and found no record of any prepayment.
That’s because Rodriguez collected pre-payments but didn’t give receipts, and she didn’t make a record of any payment in the patient’s file. Instead, she pocketed the cash. That missing money would go undetected until months later, when the patient came back in for the procedure, and the loss was written off as a “paperwork error.”
As detectives interviewed others at the clinic and inspected records, it became clear that Rodriguez was the common thread in every instance of a missing deposit. From January 2016 to September of this year, she also made close to $15,000 in cash deposits to her personal bank accounts — in addition to her regular, direct-deposit paycheck. She was fired on Sept. 19, and money stopped disappearing.
Rodriguez was charged with one count of grand theft ($10,000-$20,000) for the stolen deposits and additional count of grand theft ($300-$5,000) for stealing the $400 prepayment the victim wanted to send to her family in Puerto Rico. She was taken to the Volusia County Branch Jail on Friday night and booked on $5,000 bond.