man arrested for embezzlement with dollar bills“I can’t believe I didn’t see it.”

Riley had run his own business for years. He’d had hundreds of employees, some of which had stayed for years and retired from his company. So when his attorney brought him in, it was obvious he was both surprised and shocked that he could possibly be in this position.

There was strong evidence of embezzlement by an employee. Although he knew theft by employees was a costly problem and touched every business, he didn’t consider a few missing pens or copies being made for some kid’s carwash was a big deal. But this was more than that. This was outright skimming money out of accounts, writing forged checks and manipulating accounts that could only be answered by employee embezzlement. This was big time theft in the workplace and he was here for help in getting the evidence he needed to bring charges. He was mad and he didn’t even know how much had been taken yet.

With the help of financial forensic team the employee embezzlement investigation didn’t take long to determine who, how much and for how long. Riley filed an insurance claim, but still lost out on several thousand dollars. The employee had been with him for a long time and had simply fallen on some hard times and didn’t know what to do. He did not press charges, but he terminated the worker and refrained from providing any reference at all.

Riley isn’t alone. Employers across the nation continually had to be on the lookout for theft by employees. But suggests that there are some steps every business owner can take:

  • Establish procedures and demand adherence to them. Honest employees will not balk at checks and balances.
  • Don’t give any employee carte blanche or freedom to manage accounts and money with no counter-balance.
  • Review monthly and month-over-month accounting reports. Look for big swings and large discrepancies. Many time a theft is made one month with the intention of repaying it later.
  • Conduct random audits and ask questions when something doesn’t add up.
  • Pay attention to changes in employee’s personal financial situation and family situations. Hard times often compel people to act contrary to their norm.

Riley said that even though he was very selective in his hiring, he would conduct an employee background check on every new employee going forward. Someone who has iffy references would probably not be considered, because he knew that his decision to not provide a reference for his former worker spoke volumes. He’d listen for that in the future.

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