Is it Employee EmbezzlementA very depressed-looking business owner came in for an appointment at . We are accustomed to clients or prospective clients arriving emotionally charged, either very angry or hurt, but they don’t usually act like this gentleman.

Once talking, he explained that he was “darn near just ready to chuck it all in.” He said he was just confounded by what he knew was going on in his company. He just needed proof of it and confirmation of how deep the damage went.

Whew. He explained that because his company dealt with many clients coming in for training from out of town, he maintained an apartment for their use doing their stay. It was fully furnished and maintained. What he had discovered was that it had become a hub of what he called “immoral and inappropriate” activity by some of his employees.

It boiled down to his learning that some of his employees were using the apartment for extramarital affairs and unauthorized parties. He knew his assistant, who had been with him for many years, was in on it because she maintained the schedule, the keys and arranged for all cleaning and maintenance. He had no idea how it started, but he wanted it to end.

It was a pretty straight forward case, we thought.

We installed covert cameras in both the apartment and in select offices in the business headquarters as well as surveillance equipment. That allowed for the collection of documentation of use and discussion regarding use of the apartment.

A computer forensic investigation started with the assistant’s computer. Data mining software uncovered an entire folder of calendars, schedules and, even more disturbing to the owner, records of fees collected by the assistant for use of the apartment.

Then the investigation expanded as more questions were being asked. Where was the money collected by the assistant going? Theft by employees is a big problem for business today. But was this employee embezzlement? We weren’t concerned with labeling the facts we were uncovering or answering those questions for the owner. That would be up to him and his attorney. We were looking for the full story – the truth.

Financial investigators began digging into the assistant’s assets. The financial investigation did not show any large or continuing significant streams of income coming into the assistant’s personal accounts. An overall asset investigation did not reveal any large purchases, big vacations or other evidence of big spending.

One stream of income on the company’s books was suspect, though. After more examination, it was determined that the assistant was depositing most of the money she received from the “rentals” into a business account. She had created another stream of income FOR the business. She was taking a small portion for herself, but most of it was going to the company.

In the end, it was revealed that she had published flyers and provided them throughout the company offering the unit as a “place for your next private event.” Some employees had used it for baby and wedding showers. Some had “rented” it for visiting relatives. And yes, some had used the space for trysts and parties.

The owner wasn’t quite sure what to make of the facts once we gave them to him and his attorney. We aren’t sure how he handled it in the end. We just provided the facts so he could make an informed decision.

-Brenda McGinley, CEO, All in Investigations, All in Investigations