Embezzlement has been the number one financial crime for the past 30 years. If an employee embezzles, then the employer has already lost. Of those losses the employer suffers a financial loss, a loss of trust, and additional revenue loss from litigation matters that follow the embezzlement. To avoid embezzlement embarrassment, employers have to move quickly, as the financial impact will likely have a greater effect than was first suspected. The employer has to stop the damage quickly and conduct a fraud examination. If stockholders are involved then the employer has the responsibility to investigate and recover the losses. If you have an embezzlement issue come up, follow these three steps in order:
Contact Legal Counsel and Your Insurer
Contacting legal counsel is an important first step because sometimes the employee’s rights can be violated even though they were the one who committed the crime. Contact your insurer also because failure to do so could void potential losses from being covered.
A fraud auditor will know what information and data to secure and back up. A good start for an employer is to do the following:
- Create a mirrored hard drive of the employee computer
- Secure electronic backups in the network and local drives of original data
- Secure CDs, disks, thumb drives, etc.
- Search the offending employee’s desk and office for any sensitive information (review handbook policies with attorney first)
Deal with the Employee
Management should follow their legal counsel’s advice in dealing with the employee as swiftly as possible.
Remember, fraudulent activities are easier to prevent than to detect. Make sure you have a plan in place, and know what to do should fraud occur in your business.
To learn more about preventing fraud in your business, contact Kit Powell
Certified Fraud Examiner