North Bend woman expected to be charged with dentis-office theft

NORTH BEND - The Bellevue Police Department is expected to file a case this week against a North Bend woman who is suspected of swindling money from patients while working as an office manager at a dental office in Bellevue.

Gail Bratton, 39, was arrested at her home in North Bend by the Bellevue Police Department on Aug. 9. She was kept overnight at the King County Jail and released the next morning on $5,000 bail.

Bellevue Police Det. Karl Kleinknecht said his office was led to Bratton after investigating a burglary at Dr. Jeffrey Johnson's dentist office in Bellevue this past March. Kleinknecht said the burglar entered the office with a key and took very specific items, such as a computer tower, disks and certain patient records, while leaving other valuables.

Although Kleinknecht was unsure yet of how much money was involved in the scams, he estimated the total to be anywhere between $3,000 to $20,000.

Kleinknecht expects Bratton to be charged with first-degree theft.

Bratton's name reportedly came up when investigators realized she was suspected of telling patients who came into Johnson's office that they could pay her in cash for a discount on their bill. When patients started to complain to the office about subsequent unpaid invoices they received, Bratton was fired. Kleinknecht said when he found out that the records stolen corresponded with those who complained about their billing, the connection was made.

Before working at Johnson's office, Bratton managed the dental office of Dr. Thomas Quickstad in Sammamish. While Bratton was working for Quickstad, the office was the target of three arson attempts, the third of which burned the office down.

That case is being handled by King County investigators, who have no suspects. The case is still open.

Investigators believe the theft and arson may have been attempts to cover up any activity by Bratton while working at the offices.

Kleinknecht said he should file the case with the King County Prosecutor's Office by today, after which a deputy prosecutor will be assigned to formally file charges.

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