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Woman Suspected Of Embezzling At Least $45K From Ladera Ranch Dentists

LADERA RANCH (CBS) — Authorities have arrested a 45-year-old woman suspected of embezzling at least $45,000 from dentists whose offices she managed in Ladera Ranch.

Deborah Lynn Kessler of Canyon Lake in Riverside County was arrested Tuesday and booked on suspicion of forgery and grand theft, Orange County sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino said.

Kessler is suspected of embezzling money from Todd Engel, who sold one of his Ladera Ranch practices last September, and another dentist who noticed discrepancies in his practice, Amormino said. When Kessler's new boss confronted her, she stopped showing up for work.

The dentist notified Engel, who suspects more than $100,000 was embezzled from him.

"So far we've found evidence of $46,000 taken, but we're just beginning the investigation," Amormino said.

Investigators believe there may be more victims, Amormino said. Kessler worked for a dentist in Irvine for several weeks after she left her job with the Ladera Ranch dentist, he said.

Kessler also worked for a dentist in Pomona and was on the phone with a San Clemente dentist trying to get a job when deputies showed up at her home to arrest her, Amormino said.

Sheriff's investigators began their investigation May 28 when the Ladera Ranch dentists filed a report, Amormino said.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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