embezzlement

Discovery, Depositions and Findings

We had a Client, James who started and built a booming business with his longtime friend, Bill.  Bill was outgoing, charismatic while James was more laid back and book smart, while both had the desire and knowledge to start a company.  For years, growing up, through high school and college, they knew they wanted to work for themselves, didn’t want to report to a boss, wanted to have choices and full control over their own destiny and livelihood.

After graduating with degrees in two different fields, they merged their knowledge and started a much needed consulting business in their hometown, just 30 minutes outside of Indianapolis.  Twenty years later, they had talked about selling the business someday to spend more time with their families and [...]

What Causes 33% of All Business Bankruptcies?

It isn’t uncommon for the phone to start ringing at International Investigators at the beginning of calendar quarters - you know, January, April, July and October. We don’t always know who will be on the other end of the line – small business owners, financial officers, or sometimes an attorney. But we know why they are calling – it will be about missing money, theft by employees or employee embezzlement. That’s because quarterly reports are reviewed and something is found that isn’t quite right.

Sometimes there is just a suspicion and in those cases, we provide financial forensic experts to thoroughly examine the financial records and processes. No one wants to think there is an employee stealing from the company.

In other situations, there is obvious [...]

Is it Employee Embezzlement?

A very depressed-looking business owner came in for an appointment at International Investigators. 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 [...]

Protect Your Business from Theft in the Workplace

“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. [...]

Is Your Work Environment Cultivating Theft by Employees?

Objectivity is the cornerstone to a private investigator’s work – and success in doing that work. As we discuss here at International Investigators offices, uncovering the truth is based on facts. We don’t make judgments other than those that help us follow-up or lead us to conclusions to further an investigation.

Good investigators are keen observers and study cause and effect as well as patterns and trends. In recognizing patterns we can anticipate what a subject might be likely to do and then be prepared.

A good example is in the situation where we are contacted about possible theft by employees. By looking at the work environment we can often determine what kind of clues to look for.

Theft in the workplace can include a variety of [...]

Computer Forensics Uncovers Business Embezzlement

For more than a year, Sam and Julie worried about their future as business owners. For some unknown reason, their successful business now struggled financially. Sam spent long nights carefully studying line items on the budget with Steve, their business partner.

It was difficult for Julie to finally speak up. But when they again worried about how to survive financially, she admitted her suspicious feelings about their business partner Steve. Julie was insistent that Steve absolutely had to be stealing money.

Sam was positive that could not be the problem. Steve had been a long-time friend. He believed there was no way he would do something like this. Besides, Steve was as unstable financially as they were. Plus, since Sam repeatedly examined the financial records with [...]

Catching an Internal Thief with Video Technology

Lifelong friends Jeff and Chris came to visit International Investigators the other day. Jeff is a local business owner who built a successful real estate management company and Chris is his attorney. It was Chris who scheduled the meeting.

Jeff really didn’t think it was necessary, but because he trusted Chris, he came along.

The thing is that Chris had been working with the accounting firm that handles Jeff's books. He thinks he uncovered some discrepancies, but the accounting checks and balances seem to be in order.

According to Chris, there is one common denominator in every record in question – and that is Jeff’s secretary, Margot. Jeff keeps saying that he trusts Margot – she’s worked for him for years – 13 to be exact and [...]

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    Do You Have a Trail of Paperwork That Reveals Employee Embezzlement?

Do You Have a Trail of Paperwork That Reveals Employee Embezzlement?

Employee embezzlement is a major problem, especially for small businesses. I recently read an article by Todd Frankel of the St. Louis Dispatch, “Wave of embezzlement cases hits St. Louis region.” Case after case spoke of employees:

Getting reimbursements in “office expenses”
Improperly documenting vehicle impound fees and pocketing the money
Creating fraudulent invoices and making payments to dummy vendors (themselves)
Skimming money by adding a fee to an invoice, then taking the money once the invoice is paid

Theft by employees is increasing, according to a poll of the members of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. Looking at the cases, embezzlement by employee after employee shows that the theft occurs over a long period of time and is taken in small amounts. Unlike a bank robbery, the [...]

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    What Business Owners Need to Know About Theft by Employees and Employee Embezzlement

What Business Owners Need to Know About Theft by Employees and Employee Embezzlement

Theft by employees is rampant – just ask any business owner or CEO. And when you start talking about employee embezzlement, the impact can be catastrophic to some businesses, especially small businesses, for several reasons:

Loss of assets – an employee stealing from a company can take anything from supplies and materials to money away from the company’s resources.
Loss of credibility – if a large theft or employee embezzlement is uncovered and reported to the public, the perception of the company may be damaged. The “if they can’t manage their own house, how can I think they can manage mine” theory can result in loss of clients and potential clients – for a long time.
Drain on future finances – Seeing a business embezzlement or theft [...]

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    An Investigation Provides Answers When You Think You Have an Employee Stealing Customers

An Investigation Provides Answers When You Think You Have an Employee Stealing Customers

In order to protect their client list and trade secrets, many businesses formalize confidentiality and non-compete agreements with employees. Client data protection is also an element of the privacy organization strive to maintain.

But sometimes employees or contractors see those agreements only as valuable as the sheet of paper they are written on and ignore the legally binding agreement. And it’s not only the people you hire, but family who work in the business, too.

International Investigators has had numerous investigations that revealed family members were involved in clandestine operations – sometimes.

For instance, a small family business owner contacted International Investigators about suspicions he had at work. He thought he had an employee stealing customers – and that employee was his nephew. Not only was he [...]