Career Center: Newly Self-Employed
Bryant Truitt, CFE
Founder and CEO
Brytan & Associates, Inc.
San Antonio, Texas
Bryant Truitt, CFE, Founder and CEO of Brytan & Associates, Inc. found his calling in preventing health care fraud, specifically for dentists and oral surgeons, over a casual conversation with his dentist more than 15 years ago. “I was in my dentist’s office when he admitted that he’d been ripped off for $54,000. I said I’d like to look into it for him. Within a week, an oral surgeon friend told me he’d been ripped off for $120,000,” Truitt said. “I was seeing a terrible pattern — people who worked long, hard hours to help others were losing their futures. I wanted to help.” Truitt started his own firm shortly after that visit to his dentist, and now has clients all over the U.S. and Canada. He and his team have helped more than 400 practices fight back against the fraudsters who stole from them.
What steps led you to your current position?
I made good use of my Masters of Business Administration from the University of North Texas by working in the consumer products industry for more than 30 years all over the U.S. and internationally. I was looking for a new direction and for something that would make a difference. I took courses and became a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE). I worked with an attorney and an insurance colleague to set up a company to help identify and reduce fraud and embezzlement for dental and health care practitioners. I am told that I was a pioneer; the first person to offer exclusive services to dental providers that helped them identify the cause of asset loss due to fraud, embezzlement, waste or abuse and how to prevent more losses. This group was so under-served, so vulnerable, and these services were so needed.
In addition to working with clients, I began to speak to young dental students to warn and prepare them about the dangers of fraud, embezzlement, waste and abuse. I think I’ve spoken to thousands of students and practitioners over the years. The stories of my dentist and my oral surgeon friend have positive endings. The oral surgeon got money and assets back from the woman who defrauded him. I helped the dentist find the guilty party. He offered her a chance to repay him instead of jail but she ran, stole from another dentist and served time in prison.
Did you always plan to pursue the role you are currently in?
No, I had an opportunity to make a difference and I took it. I was fortunate and blessed to be able to build such a great team and have the support of colleagues to make a business of something we are all so passionate about. Together, we built a successful national and international practice and have uncovered more than $8 million of fraud, embezzlement, waste and abuse, and removed criminals who could have created new victims.
How did you become passionate about fighting fraud?
I have such a high regard for the health care providers who work hard and don’t deserve to have people they trust steal from them or abuse their jobs. I am passionate because I have such a wonderful team to help me who also want to make a difference. Together, we have more than 100 years of dental and health care experience. We put a lot of effort into staying current on health care best practices, as well as the fraud research and information from the ACFE. We get a chance to work with top CPA firms, defense attorneys and practice management companies in the U.S. and Canada. And, finally, it’s easy to be passionate when I see people learn how not to be victims of fraud or embezzlement because of what I’ve said or taught them.
What is a memorable case or project that you have worked on?
We have many memorable cases, but a case we solved last year hit close to home. No one would have ever expected a respected tenured professor of economics to be a fraudster. He had a bookkeeping business on the side, and over a four-year period, he stole $850,000 from a general dentist. We found the fraud and prosecuted him successfully. He is a resident of the federal bureau of prisons and can’t create more victims. My client is receiving restitution and was so grateful for our work that he brought us in and shared his story with other professional colleagues. It’s hard to admit you were taken, but he did it in order to try to keep others from being victimized. This kind of unselfish action makes me proud and passionate about what we do at Brytan & Associates.
What do you wish someone had told you about your career when you were just starting out?
Most of our clients come to us after the crime has been committed. I wish someone had told me when I was starting out that although people are concerned, they think that these crimes only happen to others. I also wish someone had helped me see that even those who want to make corrections in their business practices literally have no time, let alone energy. When you work straight through 32 hours a week, this only leaves eight hours to manage a practice. The fraudster or embezzler has all 40 hours to come up with and put schemes in place, set up gangs, etc. while their boss thinks they are only doing the work assigned to them. I don’t believe we will ever totally prevent fraud. But if you take action, you can slow it down or lower the losses. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to communicate to clients the real value of taking those actions and doing the investigation. To someone new to fraud, this can be hard to understand or take.
How did you know starting your own firm was the right decision for you?
I just knew it was the right thing to do and wanted to help. I had a background in sales and marketing. I wasn’t afraid to try to introduce practitioners to this new way of thinking that would have a big payback for them in terms of reducing their earnings and asset losses.
What advice do you have for those looking to open their own business or consulting practice?
To make any business idea successful there has to be an underserved market. My best advice is to find that market using strong research practices and a realistic business plan. Then, make sure you can add true value to these customers. You must also be willing to struggle and deal with selling an intangible that, if you do it right, they won’t ever see because there will be no losses. Be available, be a great listener, and be well-organized, flexible and passionate.
When you are not working, what types of things do you enjoy doing?
Faith-based disaster relief, woodworking and travel.
For questions or for more information about Bryant, contact him on LinkedIn.
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