Hospital Finance Director Charged With $3 Million Embezzlement

Sometimes, you may have an employee who checks out at the beginning of the hiring process, and climbs the success ladder. You can know someone for years before realizing they aren’t who you thought they were. This was the case in North Carolina, where a 46 year old woman has been charged with federal crimes for embezzling over $3 million from a hospital that she was the Finance director for.

For a period of 13 years. Kimberly Russell Hobson, 46, used a scheme that utilized fraudulent pretenses, representations, and promises along with false materials to shuffle money into separate accounts. Some went to her, some to her family and friends. She would eventually be caught and plead guilty to wire fraud, bank fraud, and identity theft.

On two major occasions, Hobson transferred huge sums of money into a Wells Fargo account, directly from a hospital subsidiary account. These occasions happened about 13 months apart, but consisted of transfers of $17,359 and $22,260. Following these two there were several more transfers about one per year up until August of 2017.

When convicted, Hobson will be due to forfeit the following:

  • $3.8 million dollars
  • 2 vehicles including a 2014 BMW and a 2013 Harley Davidson
  • Funds on deposit, totaling $109,704
  • Personal property and cash in Hobson’s possession at her arrest including a Louis Vuitton handbag and cosmetic bag; two Mont Blanc pens; Louis Vuitton sunglasses and case; Louis Vuitton wallet with various credit cards; and a pearl necklace.

Over a decade this woman worked in a high ranking position. Over a decade she stole mass amounts of money directly from the company. Hiring the wrong employee can be prevented through proper background screening during the hiring process. It can’t be stated if the accused was using drugs, or had any criminal record in the past, but ensuring all of your employees don’t is not that cumbersome. Working with a proven background check company like ESS enables you to help speed up the hiring process, and weed out the wrong candidates.

Full Story: North Carolina Woman Pleads not Guilty to Stealing $3M from Hospital

ESS is a national leader in drug testing and background checks for employers. No matter what industry you’re working in, you’re only as strong as your weakest employee. Hiring the right team to perform their duties is one of the most important factors for any business. The opiate epidemic has hit an all time high, which is unfortunate, but also a chilling reminder of why you should always ensure your employees are drug free.

You want to make sure anyone who is going to be handling business under your company’s name is going to be on the up and up, and won’t damage the company reputation. For more information on working with ESS, simply fill out our contact form or give us a call! We love meeting new potential clients and helping them better their organization.

ESS Expanding Down South to Florida

Employment Screening Services has been a proud provider of employment drug testing and background checks for companies all over the countries for years. We work tirelessly to ensure that we provide the most comprehensive background check packages for companies large and small, but we are proud to make a new announcement.

After years of preparation and planning, Employment Screening Services is expanding to the Florida market.

We aren’t leaving our current and original location up in Buffalo, NY. We will continue to be headquartered there, but with an expansion to the Florida area, we will be able to offer the same great customer experience to new clientele in and around Sarasota, Florida. Because we have worked so hard for almost 20 years, we are able to provide competitive rates for background checks and drug testing.

With a law enforcement background, ESS takes pride in the background check process. There is passion behind what we do. Anyone who has worked with our team would vouch that our customer service is second to none in this industry. So many times instant check services claim to provide you with anything you need. So many times this isn’t the case, and with ESS, all clients are provided with a personal Account Manager.

You’ll always have personal access to our staff, if you need anything or have any questions. Working as a partner to Quest Diagnostics, any lab work or drug testing you need for your employees will be at a low rate. Our staff is well trained, and take pride in making sure the client is happy.

For employers in Sarasota, Florida, and the surrounding areas, ESS is here to help. With years of experience working with various industries all over the country, we have the team to help provide an astute assessment of your potential new hires. We provide all types of pre employment background checks, employee drug testing, and criminal record searches. We primarily work with employers, to help them hire the people who are best suited to help their company.

If you need an experienced partner for background checks and/or drug testing for employees, know that Employment Screening Services is here.


The Dos and Dont’s of Reasonable Suspicion Drug Testing

Drug testing in the workplace can lead to some awkward encounters. Employees can feel like the work environment is against them or that they are targeted if the topic of drug use is brought up. So how does an employer balance a somewhat touchy topic? Reasonable suspicion drug testing is how. This clause in any work contract lets the employee know that if there is any cause for suspicion, they will be tested.

What actually is Reasonable Suspicion?

The employer has a legitimate reason, based on sound judgement and hard evidence, to believe that the employee has been taking drugs. There is no guessing, speculating, listening to hearsay or discriminating against them.There also are exceptions to this criteria. Examples of reasonable suspicion might include but are not limited to:

* Direct observation of drug use and/or physical symptoms of drug use

* Abnormal behaviors

* Evidence that the employee has used, possessed, sold, solicited, or transferred drugs while working or at work

At Employment Screening Services, we are here to help you run a safer, more effective workplace. So here are some dos and dont’s when implementing a reasonable suspicion drug testing policy;


Let employees know up front that they are subject to being tested if there is a reasonable question of their sobriety. This question should be brought to light by 2 concurring supervisors.

Train management a minimum of two hours of on reasonable suspicion signs, symptoms and documentation. Retraining those individuals on a yearly basis is highly recommended.

Be specific! If filing a reasonable suspicion action against an employee, keep the language concise and specific as possible.


Do not based any action on a prior incident. Reasonable suspicion is only for events that you have directly seen!

Do not over exaggerate or use anecdotes. When creating the claim be specific as possible.

Employee Screening Services wants to help you decrease turnover, accidents, and theft from your workplace. If you’d like to talk about employment drug testing, just give us a call and we can start working together asap!

Sign of the Times | Substance Abuse Amongst Young People

It’s important to screen and check any potential new employee. This is a them across most of the posts here on our blog, but today we wanted to talk a little about drug and alcohol abuse amongst young people. You might be surprised to hear how The Lucky Few, (1923-1942), Baby Boomers (1943-1962), Generation X (1963-1982), and Millenials (1983-2002) vary in drug and alcohol abuse. Taking a look at the infographic below might help shed a little light on the subject, as the results are pretty interesting.

For one, alcohol is the most used substance across all four generations. When at the peak of use, Millenials, Gen X, and Boomers used alcohol in over 80% of cases. The second most commonly used substance across all generation was marijuana. The drug use amongst Baby Boomers seemed to be the most prevalent amongst all 4 generations. It was painkillers, specifically opioids, that the Millenial Generation seemed to stand out much more than any of the other 3 generations. This is unfortunate, yet not surprising as we have seen the opioid epidemic reach records highs.

If you’d like to talk about employment drug testing, just give us a call and we can start working together asap!


Employment Verification | A No Brainer for Hiring Employers

When you’re looking into a potential new hires’ eyes, and they tell you why they’re a great fit for the job, they might not be lying. They very well could be a great person to fill the position. You look down at the resume and back at them. It seems almost too good to be true. They have experience working in your industry, they’ve worked in a higher position than they are seeking, and they have more years in the industry than candidate B.

Candidate B seems a little nervous. You can tell this is important to them, and they’ve told you they know their experience in the industry might not be the highest, but they’ve worked so hard to get this opportunity. All you can think about is the confidence in the eyes of candidate A, who you KNOW has what it takes to perform at a high level, because they’ve “been there before.”

Who do you go with? Do you verify the dates and positions listed in the resume of candidate A? You could see they were confident, and have time invested. What could happen if you don’t?

Did You Know?

86% of people surveyed by HireRight in 2015 indicated that verifying employment revealed candidates who lied on their resume. This means something, anything related to their work history, was a lie. Still trust candidate A? There may be gaps in employment for reasons out of the candidate’s control, but there might also be intent to show off they are more than qualified, when in reality they aren’t.

Reasons Someone Might Lie About Employment History

  • Small Business Venture
  • Maternity Leave
  • Return to School
  • Incarceration
  • Extend Job Start/End Date
  • Boost Job Title for Higher Salary

As a qualified and experience background check company, Employment Screening Services provides employment verification included in our background check packages. You should always make sure your potential hire is being truthful in their resume, as well as throughout the interview process. Trust is all you have at the beginning of a working relationship, and if you hire the wrong person, you face threats of having to retrain after a failed hire, workplace accidents, financial mistakes, and much more. To talk to someone from ESS about employment verification checks, just give us a call and we’ll be happy to help.

Workaholics Anonymous | Drug Abuse Among Nurses

Nursing is one of the most admirable positions a person can hold. It takes a kind, strong soul to maintain the desire to continue helping people each and every day. The endless workload can take it’s toll on nurses, as double shifts, rotating shifts, decreased staffing and other factors can lead to high levels of stress. Fatigue, alienation, and the “workaholic” mentality can be tough to deal with and oftentimes, lead to nurses living, breathing, and sleeping through their work. This can lead to drug and alcohol abuse.

Much like anyone else, someone who is in an unstable environment is at risk for abusing alcohol or drugs. Unfortunately for nurses, though the work they do is for the betterment of patients and their families, it is indeed an unstable environment for them. They battle through it each and every day and continue to show up, and that is a testament to all nurses all over the country.

The American Nurses Association has estimated that around 8% of nurses use either alcohol or drugs to an extent that could impair their professional judgement. One could suspect that up to 10% of nurses have alcohol or drug abuse problems, based on the lifestyle that nurses are forced to live. Prescription-type medication use has been noted to be higher among nurses, while cocaine and marijuana use is lower than the general population.

Drug and alcohol abuse can greatly affect an individual’s wellbeing, as well as their families and friends. This could increase tenfold when dealing with the responsibilities that a nurse has when taking care of patients. Drug abuse from nurses is a very harmful and dangerous situation. Just a few consequences that could happen when a nurse is using drugs or abusing alcohol include:

  • Patient mistreatment, including incorrect basic care, medication errors and abuse
  • Patient death
  • Higher hospital or clinic costs associated with legalities of patient mistreatment, stolen drugs, lost wages, training, and re-hiring
  • Nurses may lose time due to treatment, thus receive lower wages
  • Nurses can lose their job and even their entire career depending on the damage drug abuse has caused in their life

Employers that are hiring new nurses should be aware of the risks associated, and implement a drug testing policy with all employees. There are benefits to pre employment drug testing, in order to weed out potential hires who use drugs, but because of how much responsibility a nursing staff has, regular or random drug testing should be on the minds of employers. If you are in charge of hiring new personel at a hospital, nursing home, or any health care facility, turn to an employment drug testing company who takes their position seriously. Employment Screening Services has a long list of clients who know the passion that goes into helping the right people get hired, and preventing the wrong ones from causing harm to your company.

College Football Player Dies During Workout, Strength Coach Not Certified

Employment Screening Services is a company that prides ourselves on ensuring your organization hires the right man or woman for the job. The way we go about this is by verifying and checking the background of your potential new hire, and ensuring that they are completely honest and compliant with your organization’s regulations. Education and employment verification is something we specialize in. The following story is a very tragic one.

This past June, a teenager attended his football workout. The temperature was 81 degrees. A hot day, but nothing out of the ordinary. Running the workouts that day would be Ross Bowsher, the head football sports performance coach. Tyler Heintz, 19, was enrolled in early summer classes and preparing to fulfill his long term goal of playing division 1 football at Kent State. As an incoming freshman, he had yet to even strap on the pads, as this was a summer preseason workout, to show dedication and commitment.

That morning, Tyler Heintz would collapse around 9am. He was pronounced dead shortly after.

A tragic story of a young man destined to fulfill his dreams. The cause of death was initially undetermined, but has now been determined was due to hyperthermia (inability of the body to properly cool itself). This was one of 35 college football players that have died since 2000. 29 of those deaths were related to outside preseason conditioning or offseason drills.

One of the things the NCAA has done to combat this problem is requiring all strength coaches to be certified by a sanctioning body. This was a change made in 2015, after Bowsher had been employed at Purdue and Arkansas Tech. He clearly had no intention of harming any of the players, as he was employed to strengthen and condition his players. He was entering his 2nd year as the strength coach at Kent State. 

Following Heintz’s death, both certification bodies, the National Strength Coaches Association and Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association reached out to CBS Sports to tell them that Bowsher was not certified by either association.

A teenager died during a workout with an uncertified strength coach.

So what does this have to do with background screening? Well, what we do is prevent organizations from hiring someone who is unqualified. Depending on the industry, which all have different regulations, we check and maintain that everything on their work history is verified, and ensure that any obligatory accreditations are met. This helps prevent lawsuits. Lawsuits like the one that will probably be instituted on the case of Tyler Heintz. Though the coach had been certified in “Personal Training” from IUPUI, which is a program designed to prepare students for accreditation tests, he was never formally certified.

This not only causes a bad look for the University and it’s administration, but is going to lead to a hefty lawsuit. The Conditioning Coaches Association Executive Director has this to say about the matter.

“Today, the way liability is, if you’re not certified by an accredited organization you’re walking on thin ice.” Lawsuits could be $20 million-$30 million dollars. I can’t imagine hiring someone without the appropriate credentials.”

A tragic story of a young man losing his life. An unfortunate example of how improper hiring practices and failing to ensure all regulations are verified can end up costing massive amounts of money to an organization.

Reasonable Suspicion | Signs of Drug Use in an Employee

Regardless of if you implemented a pre employment drug screening, an employee using drugs is a high risk to your company. You simply can’t afford to risk ignoring a person who is using drugs frequently, or under the influence of drugs while on the clock. This person is not only putting themselves in danger under your figurative wing, but putting their teammates in jeopardy, and could end up costing the company money.

Drug testing all prospective employees prior to their hiring is a good way to avoid letting drug users into the workplace from the get go, but what if you suspect someone currently employed is under the influence? This makes for a time to request a reasonable suspicion drug test. There are many signs that a person may be using illegal drugs, or abusing prescription drugs. Here are a few signs.

  • Frequent Absences With Lack of Notice
  • Flimsy Excuses/Lack of Documentation for Sick Days
  • Frequent Lengthy Trips to Bathroom/Car/Other
  • Irregular Work Performance Fluctuation
  • Evidence of Lack of Attention, Poor Judgement, or Bad Decision Making
  • Typical Issues Causing Serious Explosive Outbursts
  • Memory Loss, Confusion, Difficulty Concentrating
  • Refusal to Take Responsibility
  • Lack of Typical Appearance/Hygiene
  • Intense Personality Changes
  • Fellow Employees Noticing Any Signals

As an employer, the responsibility falls on you to do your due diligence to maintain a staff that is working at the highest of their ability. Without a drug free staff, that task is impossible. Beyond the responsibility associated in ensuring the business runs safely and efficiently, consider the ethical and moral responsibility. If you recognize this person is showing significant signs of drug abuse or addiction, you can intervene and help them fix their situation before it’s too late.

With so much abuse turning into life-altering overdose and in some cases, death, don’t be afraid to reach out to someone who appears to be struggling. That being said, legality is in question when drug use is signified. As an American, you have a legal responsibility to ensure everyone in your circle is not breaking the law. Drug users can cause an accident in the workplace, but when left untreated, they can also cause harm to themselves and their family.

If you are considering implementing a new drug testing policy at your company, turn to a background screening company that takes this seriously. When it comes to employment screening companies, you can find a lot of different salesman, but turn to someone you trust. With years of experience working in this industry, following our leader, Bob Wright, ESS can help you today with any background screening or drug testing needs. Just simply give us a call!

Million Dollar Embezzlement Part 2 | Woman Sentenced to Face Jail Time

Here on our blog back in January, we featured a story here in Western New York of a woman working for a local car dealership that embezzled over $1 Million over the course of her career. As it all turned out, the amount of money far surpassed a million. We are talking some serious cash. When it was all said and done the 55 year old who worked for the car dealership had caused a loss of over $4.1 Million!

This woman had worked for the company for 15 years before anyone noticed anything. Trust is one of the most, if not the most important factors in any employer/employee relationship. Knowing that you can trust your team to work hard and always do the right thing is paramount when hiring new employees. In this case however, trust was the one thing hiding the truth from this woman’s employer.

“Through all of this I never got a chance to apologize to the ‘family’ for what I’ve done to them,” she said tearfully. “They treated me like family. I wish I could pay it all back.”

A family-run company, the business was started 48 years ago, and employs over 420 people from around Buffalo and Western New York. Who would have thought that one woman could steal over 4 million dollars with no one noticing? Drug testing employees is one way to ensure you are hiring a solid person, but this woman wasn’t stealing to buy drugs or gamble. Why did she do it? She used the money to fund her love for buying and training horses for competitive dressage. She spent the money as she took it, to avoid anyone noticing.

She stood in front of the judge last Tuesday to find out that she will be going to prison. Though she could have faced the maximum sentence of 25 years, she will face 4-12 years. Members of the family who owned the company wrote letters to the court to try and lessen the sentence, because she did try to make payment restitution by selling everything she owned. Making up the full 4 million dollars however, that would be impossible. She owes the state $256,000 in taxes, and deducting the $1 million covered by insurance, the family’s loss was still over $2 million. After the woman does finally get out of prison, she will be paying $500 a month just to reduce that number, probably for life.

“The ‘family’ say they felt betrayed and have lost trust in people, especially after providing you with such a wonderful job and wonderful salary,”

Though justice has been served, and the company no longer employs the largest embezzler in the history of Erie County, the money remains in limbo and the owners of the company have lost trust in people. This clearly is a daunting example of how even in our own backyard here in WNY, you can find white collar criminals that are damaging the reputation of a company. When your company needs a new employee, you should always take every possible step to ensure you’re hiring someone you can trust.

Read the Full Story From the Buffalo News

Employment Screening Services provides background check services for any industry. We also offer employment drug testing that can be provided prior to employment or during. We take what we do seriously, and our background in law enforcement backs that up. Don’t go cheap when looking into background checks, because you get what you pay for. You could very well miss something on a potential employee’s record that could not only damage your reputation, but it could cost you money. Let this example of a family-owned company losing over $4 million ensure that you take every step necessary.

Urinalysis Test Cheaters | How Employees & Job Candidates Can Try To “Beat the Test”

You’ve probably heard old wives’ tales about how so and so “beat” a drug test by using various different methods. You’ve also probably seen some of our materials on the benefits of hair follicle drug testing, in contrast to urinalysis. Maybe you follow professional sports and hear about potential first round draft picks dropping because of “diluted” samples. We figured we could take some time to talk about common methods that potential job candidates may use to “beat” a pre employment drug test.


This is probably the most widely used, and widely marketed process to avoid a positive urine drug test. Companies all over the U.S. compete to sell their “Detox” drink, that all promise the same thing; undetectable drugs. Though most are known by title as “detox” drinks, they do not detoxify the body. What it actually does is hold the toxins in the body, allowing someone to pass a drug test. A drug user can possibly turn up a negative test by simply drinking the drink 2 hours before, urinating 3-4 times before the test. “100% Satisfaction Guaranteed” is present on most of these products, but oftentimes, the test will show unusual amount of dilution, which should always require an additional test.


A simple Google search, much like the dilution “detox” drinks, can find you a multitude of “Urine Substitutes”. Back in the good ole’ days, a potential drug test cheater might just request or purchase another person’s urine, and try and sneak it in, to use as their sample. Nowadays there are all types of products and methods to try and substitute clean urine. Just check out the number of message boards on the internet to see how much thought and effort go into switching urine samples. Typically the strict way to avoid cheating is for a lab worker to literally watch the person urinate, but there are even products that recreate the process using tubing and artificial genitalia. Yes, artificial genitalia.


This is something that you can see a potential candidate try and to, or even a current employee that may want to turn back a random drug test. Basically what adulterating a sample is tampering with the sample by adding certain chemicals that will either mask the drugs in the system or interfere with the equipment/test. Also known as “doping” a sample, someone who wants to buy time for themselves in a random drug test scenario could add soap, salt, bleach, eye drops or something else to try and avoid a positive test.

As you can see, there is a lot of thought and effort that go toward beating drug tests. This is something that every business owner should know and understand, so they can avoid being fooled someone is drug free. Regardless of if you test them in the beginning, a drug user causing an accident or stealing from the job could cost you serious money. It’s always beneficial to administer a urine drug test for any possible candidate prior to hiring, and it’s also vital to think about random and reasonable suspicion drug testing. Hair follicle drug testing could possibly offer a better solution for new hires, with a longer window of detection. If you have any questions about employment drug testing, feel free to send us a message in our contact form, or give us a call!