DELTONA, Fla. - A Deltona dental clinic receptionist has been arrested after she allegedly stole thousands of dollars in cash payments from the business' customers since the beginning of last year, the Volusia County Sheriff's Office said.
Lucina Rodriguez, 52, was charged with two counts of grand theft in the case, which deputies said involved 30 missing bank deposits totaling more than $18,000 in cash collected from customers at Dental Care of Deltona.
Detectives with the Sheriff's Office determined Rodriguez routinely stole cash deposits that were supposed to be taken to the bank, deputies said.
In one case, a patient came to the clinic in late September to cancel a procedure and request a refund of her prepayment. Deputies said 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 the patient's file and found no record of any prepayment. Deputies said that's because Rodriguez collected prepayments, but didn't give receipts, and she didn't make a record of any payment in the patient's file, and instead, pocketed the cash.
The 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," according to the Sheriff's Office.
Detectives interviewed others at the clinic and inspected records. Deputies said it became clear that Rodriguez was the common thread in every instance of a missing deposit.
From January 2016 to September of this year, Rodriguez also made close to $15,000 in cash deposits to her personal bank accounts, in addition to her regular, direct-deposit paycheck, deputies said. She was fired Sept. 19 and money stopped disappearing.
Deputies said 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.
Rodriguez was taken to the Volusia County Branch Jail on Friday night and booked on $5,000 bail, deputies said.
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