When employees are entrusted with large sums of money, the temptation to keep some for themselves can often be overwhelming. They are often motivated by debt or greed. Sometimes they even convince themselves that they are entitled to it because they are undervalued as an employee. While most companies focus on employees that they may not trust when they suspect money is going missing, it is usually the trusted employees that have access to financial documents and accounts that are committing the fraud. Embezzlement typically starts small and then increases significantly as the employee becomes more comfortable.
A Texas woman who worked as a bookkeeper started embezzling from her employer, Pizza Hut of East Texas, with a small wire transfer of $5,970.94. That was just the beginning for the 64-year-old-woman. She ultimately transferred more than $425,000 to her personal credit card and PayPal accounts over the course of two years. An investigation was conducted by the Gregg County District Attorney’s office and the FBI led to federal charges. The woman pled guilty to wire fraud and sentenced to serve two years in federal prison. Additionally, she is required to pay restitution to her former employer.
You never know who could be stealing money from your company; it is often the “model” employees who are the best at falsifying reports and covering their tracks. If you suspect that an employee is embezzling, it is probably a good idea to quietly seek legal advice from a business attorney. An attorney can advise you on the best course of action to investigate the crime and make sure that nothing is done to give the other employees legal recourse against you.
Source: KLTV.com, “Longview woman sentenced for embezzling $425,000 from Pizza Hut,” Marshall Stephens, July 12, 2013.