‘The most fabulous office manager ever’ accused of hijacking 3 Las Vegas dentists
LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – An office manager, accused of embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from a dental practice, stole money from two other Las Vegas dentists while awaiting trial, court documents show. obtained by the 8 News Now I-Team.
Danielle Powers, 42, is charged with six counts of theft and five counts of embezzlement. In total, she is accused of stealing money while working for three dental offices in the Las Vegas Valley.
Dr. Deborah Staten, owner of Desert Hills Dental on Fort Apache Road near Russell Road, hired Powers in 2014.
“It’s so easy to interview someone and then put them in that position of trust,” Staten said.
A video on the dental practice’s Facebook page shared with the I-Team features Powers saying, “Our goal here at Desert Hills Dental is always to make your dentistry affordable.” Another article celebrates Powers’ birthday, calling her “the most fabulous office manager of all time.”
“I had too much faith in one person who nearly sank my ship,” Staten said.
Powers is accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from Desert Hills Dental over a 5-year period, according to court documents. Evidence in this criminal case includes surveillance video, which prosecutors say shows Powers returning to work and taking $7,000 from his desk.
“It’s very hurtful. It’s very hurtful. The level of deception is just heartbreaking,” Staten said.
Desert Hill Dental fired Powers in 2019.
In April 2021, a dentist at Smile Vegas Dental on Blue Diamond Road near Durango Drive told police Powers stole more than $10,000 from his business, police said. The practice owner and dentist said he hired Powers in June 2020.
The dentist became suspicious after Powers “insisted” on not appearing on the firm’s website and not hiring office staff anymore. The dentist hired a private investigator who discovered Powers was facing charges of embezzlement from Desert Hill Dental, police said.
“[The private investigator] discovered that Powers stole money paid by patients and never recorded the payment in billing software, leaving patients with balances they did not owe,” police said. “In other cases, Powers attempted to conceal the theft by using deceptive entries in the software.”
In their report, police reference more surveillance videos, which they say show Powers taking $300 from a patient and hiding it “under a pile of clipboards,” they said.
In November 2020, Powers told the dentist she needed the day off for the reading of her grandmother’s will. In fact, she had a hearing in the Desert Hills Dental embezzlement case, police said.
“His grandmother passed away multiple times,” Staten said.
In November 2021, a third dentist filed a complaint with the police, claiming that she too was a victim. This dentist hired Powers in September 2021 and said he was $3,600 short.
“The defendant has flouted this court and her terms of release by continuing to engage in the very conduct with which she is charged in this case,” prosecutors wrote in court documents filed earlier this year, asking a judge to hold her without bail. “She continues to harm business owners in our community by using their business as her personal slush fund.”
Officers arrested Powers outside her home last week after she jumped out of court in February.
“Were you surprised when it happened not just a second time but now a third time?” I-Team’s David Charns asked Staten.
“It’s a tough crime to prosecute,” she said. “It’s very difficult to go through the system legally.”
In court on Tuesday, Powers asked Judge Michael Villani to release her from jail pending trial.
“I made some bad choices to get here, I’m okay with that,” Powers told Villani.
Villani noted Powers’ Tuesday hearing was for an arrest warrant for skipping a hearing and told him to file the appropriate documents with the court.
Staten warned all dentists to do their homework by entrusting the person running their business.
“It’s so important to do a background check,” Staten said. “If someone is going to sit down and count your money or manage money in the office, there should be a thorough background check.”
“Have you spoken to him since?” Charns asked Staten.
“No. No. I think about it from time to time, but no. I wouldn’t have anything nice to say,” Staten said.
A trial on the first embezzlement case was due to start in June 2021 but was postponed. A warrant for
Staten won a civil case against Powers, where a judge ordered him to repay the stolen money.
In his two criminal cases, Powers had pleaded not guilty. She has not been formally charged in the third embezzlement case.