Allied Dental Practices of New Jersey agreed to pay a $420,000 settlement in a case involving a whistleblower who alleged the company simply deleted accounts in which it still owed money to patients and insurers. According to the complaint, some of the deleted accounts included debts to patients of more than $1,000, money that — according to the attorney representing the whistleblower — should have gone back into Medicare and Medicaid.
Jennifer D’Agostino, who worked as a financial manager for the Toms River office of Allied Dental from 2009 until her termination in 2012, filed the suit. D’Agostino says officials from Allied Dental sent out an email in July 2011 basically asking all employees to take part in a scheme to wipe out patients’ credit balances. Credits ranged in amount from one cent to $1,170. In D’Agostino’s office alone, there was a totally of $173,144.74 that Allied Dental wanted to clear.
D’Agostino refused to take part in the action, saying she believed the activity was illegal, and received a disciplinary memo as a result. She was fired seven months later for being regularly late and failing to meet company expectations for performance, according to documents presented in court.
Allied Dental did not admit any wrongdoing as part of the settlement. However, it will pay $200,000 to the state of New Jersey and to the United States government, $75,000 to the New Jersey Unclaimed Property Office and $87,500 to D’Agostino.
Individuals are encouraged to come forward whenever they become aware of misconduct within their company. For more information on how to file a whistleblower claim and what types of protections are available to you, meet with knowledgeable Dallas Attorney Steve Kardell at Whistleblower Law for Managers.