Case Study: Shy Doc Gave Good Face
Brian Lee1 excelled as a plastic surgeon. His patients touted Lee’s skill and artistry when privately confiding the secret of their improved appearance to their closest friends. Exuding a serious, gentle manner, the 42-year-old bachelor took quiet pride in his beautification efforts—mainly nose jobs, face lifts, tummy tucks, and breast enhancements.
Lee practiced out of a large physician-owned clinic of assorted specialties, housed in several facilities scattered throughout a growing suburb in the Southwest. As its top producer, Lee billed more than $1 million annually and took home $300, 000 to $800, 000 a year in salary and bonus. But during one four-year stretch, Lee also kept his own secret stash of unaccounted revenue—possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Once Lee’s dishonesty came to light, the clinic’s board of directors (made up of fellow physician-shareholders) demanded an exact accounting. The clinic’s big-city law firm hired Doug Leclaire, a certified fraud examiner (CFE) based in Flower Mound, Texas, who had worked well with the lawyers earlier that year on an unrelated case, to conduct a private investigation.
“The doctors wanted an independent person to root around and document how much money was missing,” recalled Leclaire. “They also wanted to see how deep this scam ran. As far as I could determine, ...