For Victims of Embezzlement

Have you ever wondered if your office manager is stealing from you? If you’re here, chances are the answer is yes. Unfortunately, embezzlement happens to every type of business. Whether you’re a dentist, small business owner, municipal agency, it can happen to anyone.

It didn’t happen because you weren’t smart. It happened because someone, perhaps your office manager, took advantage of you. They saw an opportunity to steal and took it. The fraud triangle has three parts: opportunity, pressure, and rationalization. You can only control opportunity. 

You need to understand the process. There is no CSI: Embezzlement. These cases take time, patience, understanding, and money. Below is a checklist of tasks to be undertaken. Most importantly you need to realize that money is replaceable and time is not. Trust may be difficult to regain within your business. You will look at everyone differently.

Let’s get started. People first:

  1. The first call is to your attorney. Not just any attorney but an attorney that handles employment law and fraud. If your regular attorney is not comfortable or you are not comfortable with them handling it, ask for a referral.

  2. The second call is hopefully to your insurance carrier. Do you have employee dishonesty insurance? There are rules about notifying your insurance carrier.

  3. Assemble the rest of your fraud team. This may include a certified fraud examiner, law enforcement, computer forensics, and your accountant. One of the most important members of your team may be a therapist. Many victims have told me that they were most impacted by the breach of trust. The long-term, trusted employee who you had to your home and possibly considered to be part of your family has lied to you for potentially many years. This is devastating.

Other items to do:

  • Computer access: Remove remote work access (if they have it.)

  • Passwords: Change all passwords ASAP.

  • Physical security: Change the locks and passcodes ASAP.

  • Credit checks: Run both personal and business credit checks.

  • Banking: Notify your banker(s).

  • Vendors: Notify your vendors (depending on the position of the employee.)

  • Payroll: Be compliant with state and federal laws when terminating the employee

  • Staff and clients: Be careful when notifying staff and clients. You don’t want a lawsuit about libeling the employee.

  • Document, document and document. Consider their work space to be a crime scene. Do not disturb it without proper guidance.

If you would like a consultation, please contact me. One-hour consultations are provided for a fixed fee.

And finally, as hard as it is, you need to get back to work. Your job is making money, keeping your employees employed, and staying on track. Money is replaceable. Time is not. Stay focused.