Employee Theft Destroys Profits

Many retailers can’t understand the true costs of employee theft. It goes much deeper than the simple act of theft itself. Employee theft destroys profits, hurts employee relations and can change the entire atmosphere in the store.

Employee theft investigation is an important part of the retail environment. Even if the managers don’t believe their employees are stealing or causing loss, the chances are much greater they are. In my time as a loss prevention professional, I have seen stores closed, positions eliminated and many other restrictions or reductions due to internal theft. It is serious stuff.

It’s not just a plaque at the store level, internal theft or employee theft is also seen at the corporate level. From simple office equipment theft to more intelligent crimes (or white collar crime) are unfortunate and regular occurrences. White collar crime is sometimes difficult to investigate by persons not experienced in these types of issues, or is maybe a little shy at poking around higher level corporate employees. It’s always recommended when conducting corporate fraud investigation to bring in a corporate fraud investigator. Typically, a corporate fraud investigator is very skilled in this level of employee theft and will work hard to ensure every confidential employee theft investigation is given the highest level of attention and closure.

In stores, internal theft (like corporate fraud investigation) should be investigated as quickly and thoroughly as possible. Gathering information both verbally and visually is a good start. As a manager or business owner, these steps are crucial at maintaining an enjoyable and attractive atmosphere for both employees and customers alike.  No one wants to believe they have bad employees, but the cold hard truth is, you do. Help your business, protect your assets and keep your employees satisfied.

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For more information on corporate fraud investigation, corporate fraud investigator, employee theft investigation, internal theft or white collar crime contact us at employee theft or call 1.770.426.0547

Corporate Fraud Investigation Leads to Discovery of White Collar Crime

Corporate Fraud investigation has long been looked at by those in the corporate world as “big brother.” In reality, corporate fraud investigation plays into deterring employee theft or internal theft.

As an experienced corporate fraud investigator, I have seen the damages of white collar crime, and although these types of crimes may not directly affect the general public, the crimes still cause damages. As a corporate fraud investigator, I’ve launched an employee theft investigation into corporate employees whom work in various departments like accounts payable/receivable, accounting, and others. The job at times can be tedious and uninteresting, but very important in driving the development of the business and to curtail employee theft.

As with any investigation, it takes a thorough look through all aspects of the business to identify losing trends, but will be worthwhile when you suspect white collar crime. Now not everyone is cut out for employee theft investigation or allegations of internal theft. It takes an analytical thinker and sharp eyes.

Recently, a corporate employee for a retailer was having a hard time paying bills. She saw an opportunity to double pay a bill, she contacted the payee and claimed the overpay. She told the company of her mistake, and that company sent her back the second payment. She took that money, had her husband endorse it, and deposited the check into her personal bank account. During this employee theft investigation, she was certain she was gonna get away with it. She didn’t.

White collar crime or corporate crimes can and will cost business profits. The time it takes to investigate, representation in court and the loss of the employee all play a part.

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For more information on internal theft, employee theft, employee theft investigation or corporate fraud investigator contact us at corporate fraud investigation or call 1.770.426.0547

Employee Theft is a Crime in Atlanta Georgia

Employee theft is a crime and against the law just like any other crime, but don’t expect the police to react to it in the same way that they react like other crimes like purse snatching, robbery, or burglary.  In fact, just call the police and ask them to investigate a theft that you suspect one of your employees may have committed, and unless it involves a whole lot of merchandise or money, don’t expect a robust employee theft investigation to be conducted.  This is no indictment against law enforcement or individual law enforcement departments or officers, but they have better things to do.  And off the record, I’ve had a police investigator tell me, “Don’t expect me to get excited about something that the employer should have prevented in the first place.”

So what can a business owner do if he suspects an employee has or is continuing to steal from him?  Ask him?  Confront him?  Set him up?

The best bet is to find someone who knows in detail how businesses operate and also has the investigative skill set to analyze a problem and offer not only an immediate solution, but also ways to avoid internal theft in the future.

A corporate fraud investigator is trained and experienced in dealing with incidents of internal theft – money, merchandise, other property and supplies, time, identity, or even intellectual property.  It’s an unfortunate fact that your own employees can hurt your business in ways that even your competition can’t.  A corporate fraud investigator has the resources to deal with employee theft on every level, from white collar crime like embezzlement to minor pilfering like candy bars and snacks.  Why would an employer worry about minor pilfering?  Multiply 15 employees times a $1.00 candy bar times 5 days a week for 50 weeks.  $3750.00 per year in employee theft through pilferage.  And that’s just at a dollar each.

While conducting an employee theft investigation, a corporate fraud investigator will develop information through observation and interviews with the employees just how widespread the employee theft actually is. Business owners and managers are frequently shocked when they discover the scope of internal theft cause by employees at their business.  Employee theft has a tendency to spread among employees until it almost commonplace if not stopped in its early stages.

To speak with a corporate fraud investigator about and employee theft investigation or internal theft in Atlanta Georgia or elsewhere, call 770-426-0547 or click here for more information.

Employee Theft – It Could be Worse

That’s right, your problems with employee theft could be worse if you had hired a person like the one who worked at the U.S. Marshal’s Service in Washington, D.C.

According to an article at the Examiner online a ten-year employee was sentenced in Federal Court to 21 months in prison plus 3 years probation and restitution of $104,000.

What made this case seem unusual to me were the different ways the former employee who worked as an administrative officer at the Superior Court found to defraud her employer.  None of these ways by themselves are all that unusual, but for one person to come up with these schemes shows that she really put forth some effort to get over on her employer.  Just one avenue of employee theft was not enough.

The ex-employee admitted to:

· Used an agency credit card to pay personal expenses
· Created a fictitious employee and submitted false time and attendance records for that employee for a year, converting the payroll dollars to her use
· Had U.S. Treasury checks issued to pay down the balances on her personal credit cards by referencing false invoices

The grand total of admission was $104,000 – your and my tax money, by the way.  Aand this is probably al she could remember.  Surely there’s more.

Of course the really ironic thing about this article is that the victim was the U. S. Marshal’s Service.

If a federal law enforcement agency can become a victim of employee theft, what chance do the rest of us have?

Lesson learned: Never let one employee, no matter how trusted, take so much responsibility that no supervisor or auditor ever checks up on all their work functions; Require at least two sets of eyes on every disbursement before the money is paid; Audit payroll occasionally; Review company credit card activity often; Trust but verify!

White collar crime has a huge impact on private businesses in every category.  Each business has to take the initiative to protect itself from internal theft.  Loss prevention consultants are business-oriented professionals who act to prevent employee theft through an objective look at the business’ policies and initiate and conduct an employee theft investigation if called for, and bring an unpleasant situation to a satisfactory conclusion.

Call 770-426-0547 to speak with one of our loss prevention consultants about potential employee theft situations or an employee theft investigation at your business, or click here for more information.

Another Employee Theft Case

Another employee theft case shows the need for redundancy in job duties and the necessity of adequate supervision and follow up.

An accounts payable clerk for a Pennsylvania security company was recently arrested and charged with the theft of over $880,000 from the company. [Read the full story here at lancasteronline.com.]

The woman, an employee since 2003, stole the money over a period of six years.  She would endorse checks to herself and deposit them in her own account in amounts ranging from $1000 to $3500.

The employee theft was discovered, as many often are, while the employee was away from work for a while, and another employee had to look at the bank statements.

Upon her return, her employment was terminated and the owners continue to investigate the case.  Initially, the thefts were thought to be around $17,000 and the investigation was handed over to the police department, who discovered the rest of the missing funds.

According to the owners, the former employee was allowed to handle all financial transactions for the company.  The detective assigned to the case was quoted as saying, “Businesses put people in these positions because they feel they can be trusted – then those people take advantage of that trust.”

This business is fortunate that the police department was able to fully investigate this incident.  Frequently, police agencies have their hands full with violent crimes and other types of theft to adequately devote the manpower to white collar crime, unless it involves, as this case does, large amounts of money.

To prevent employee theft, companies write procedures and job descriptions that delegate responsibilities for cash handling to several employees so that the duties are separated.  This greatly reduces the opportunity for embezzlement.

At the first suspicion of internal theft of any kind, a business should contact an expert, a qualified loss prevention agent, to investigate and solve any improprieties.  A loss prevention agent with a background in business understands the concerns of the business from the standpoint of recovery and prevention and is able to assist the business owner in avoiding instances of internal theft in the future.

A business oriented loss prevention agent can help prevent and correct employee theft.

Call 770-426-0547 to speak with a loss prevention agent or click here if you have suspicions or concerns about employee theft for more information.

Preventing Employee Theft – Atlanta Georgia

“One cannot be betrayed if one has no people.” This is one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite movies. However, in the real world a business needs people to survive, and for this reason employee theft will always be an issue. The trick is to identify it as quickly as possible and eliminate the culprits. Studies show that companies with fewer than 100 employees tend to suffer the worst losses due to employee theft. The reason for this is 2-fold. A smaller company usually has far less money to spend on anti-theft controls, and a smaller company is also far less able to absorb the loss than a larger, more profitable one. Therefore, if you run a smaller business this is especially important to you.

Background checks are a vital part of doing business today. Nobody want to accept the fact that someone you’ve selected to fill a trusted role in your organization may be stealing from the till or slipping merchandise out the back door, but it happens. So it is in your best interest to perform comprehensive background checks on all new hires to include criminal, credit and drug screenings. Don’t assume that you can throw money at the problem either. Well-paid employees are just as likely to commit employee theft as your minimum wage workers. A quick look at the news involving the Enron scandal and the Bernie Madoff debacle should show you that greed has no cap.

Work with your employees to develop a plan to discourage employee theft. When people feel they have a vested interest in the company they are far less likely to view you as “the man” and more likely to see you as a partner and a friend. Everyone wants to stick it to “the man”. Only a real heel robs from his friends. Create a clear, consistent and comprehensive policy regarding theft with no room for error or false interpretation and you will be one step closer to preventing employee theft.

For more information about corporate fraud investigation or corporate fraud investigator or employee theft investigation or internal theft or white collar crime contact us at Employee Theft or call 1.770.426.0547 – Atlanta Georgia

Preventing Employee Theft – Part II – Atlanta Georgia

It is important to recognize that employee theft happens at all levels of business. Whether it is the cashier siphoning $5’s and $10’s from the register, the dock worker who puts a DVD player in the trash for his buddy to pick up later, or the assistant manager who has been taking $200 a week from the cash room for the last 4 years, it all adds up. Over the course of time it can add up to your company being put out of business by dishonest employees. Here are a few more steps you can take to prevent employee theft in your organization.

Develop a list of all individuals with keys to the building and what areas each person has access to. Be sure to keep this list up to date in the event of new hires, transfers, etc. You should always know who has access to your money and merchandise. Limit the amount of cash that is allowed to build up in any one cash register. Make regular and unannounced cash drops at every register. All cashbook entries should be cross-checked with a physical count of on-hand cash on a daily basis. Make sure the person doing the counts is different from the one who makes the entries.

Perform regular and frequent audits on all of your receiving processes. Ensure that employees who are responsible for doing payroll are not also responsible for said payrolls distribution. Make sure your checks and balances are done aggressively and ensure that any shortages are investigated and resolved as quickly as possible. Most employee theft is a crime of opportunity. Eliminate the opportunity and you’ll reduce the amount of crime that goes on within your four walls. Stay alert; these are just a few tips. Criminals are getting smarter and more innovative every day. You must do the same if you intend to prevent employee theft.

For more information about white collar crime or internal theft or employee theft investigation or employee theft or corporate fraud investigator or corporate fraud investigation contact us at Employee Theft or call 1.770.426.0547 Atlanta Georgia

Preventing Employee Theft – Atlanta Georgia

Here are a few tips for you to follow that will help you prevent or reduce employee theft within your organization. First of all, develop a policy which states plainly how employee purchases are to be handled. Be sure to emphasize the fact that employees should never process their own purchases under any circumstances. Install lockers and establish a policy under which employees are not allowed to bring personal items (i.e. purses, backpacks, briefcases, etc.) onto the sales floor. Establish an “employee entrance”. Everyone who’s working should use those doors to enter and exit. Make sure that entrance is monitored at all times.

Perform regular refund audits. Fraudulent refunds have become an increasingly popular form of employee theft. Make sure you’re cross-checking the refund slips with the actual merchandise in stock. Be sure to audit all vendors and suppliers that come in and out of your business as well. These individuals have access to areas of your building that everyday customers don’t, but because they’re not your regular employees they’re usually the last ones you suspect in cases of employee theft.

You should develop a process for trash removal as that is one of the biggest ways employees have been known to remove merchandise from a building. Use clear trash bags whenever possible and make it mandatory for all boxes to be flattened or crushed before they are discarded.  Perform random spot checks of employee packages, purchases, backpacks, purses, etc. It is important that everyone in your employ know that you are watching and are aware of the possibility of employee theft, and that it will not be tolerated.

For more information about corporate fraud investigation or corporate fraud investigator or employee theft or employee theft investigation or internal theft or white collar crime contact us at Employee Theft or call 1.770.426.0547 – Atlanta Georgia

Internal Theft Methods – Atlanta Georgia

Internal theft is growing in the United States. It is estimated that 75 – 80% of all theft that a business endures comes from one of that business’s employees. It is obviously important that you, the business owner, make internal theft a priority in your day to day operations. These are just a few examples of how some employees commit this type of theft. The most popular method is concealment. Just like a regular shoplifter the employee simply places merchandise or goods in a handbag, briefcase, backpack, etc. then they wait for the end of their shift and simply walk out with the goods.

Another popular method is “tossing”. This is where an employee takes whatever merchandise they intend to steal and loads it into a trash bag. From there they simply go out to the dumpster and toss that trash bag away. Later, when the store’s closed or they’re sure that nobody is looking they’ll return to the dumpster, get the trash bag out and they’re off with your merchandise. There are also quite a few less obvious methods of internal theft.

An employee may purposely be overcharging customers on certain merchandise. They then take the extra money and pocket it. They may be working with others and giving away merchandise, a method known as “sweethearting” or simply allowing friends and family to use an employee discount on merchandise. They may also be giving out cash, checks or vouchers for returned merchandise that was never actually returned. There are many different types of internal theft. These are just a few that you need to be aware of.

For more information about corporate fraud investigation or corporate fraud investigator or employee theft or employee theft investigation or white collar crime contact us at Internal Theft or call 1.770.426.0547 – Atlanta Georgia

Signs of Employee Theft – Atlanta Georgia

It is estimated that 1 in 3 workers commits employee theft, and often they do it repeatedly. It is obviously important to determine who that 1 person is without alienating the other 2 potentially good and honest workers. There is, of course, no sure fire method of detecting a thief prior to the crime. There are, however, a number of warning signs that you’d be wise to look for. Be aware of employees who begin making large purchases or change their spending habits drastically. If they were trying to scrape up lunch money last week and they’re buying a big screen TV today you should start paying attention.

Some people who are planning employee theft will begin to find reasons to work unsupervised. They’ll come in early or volunteer to stay late to ‘finish a project’. This doesn’t necessarily mean they’re stealing, but it is something to keep an eye on. Anyone with excessive absences is also a red flag. They may have a drinking or drug problem, this is always bad news for an employer. Even if it’s nothing that sinister, maybe just a prolonged sickness. Well, with doctor visits come doctor bills and they may be now looking for a quick and easy solution to paying those off.

Many employee theft cases involve outside partners. Be aware of anyone who has a lot of family and friends visiting them at work, especially if they insist on going through a certain person’s register. Sure, they may just have a great personality that people want to be around, or it may be something else. Any strange cars parked behind the building or near the dumpsters should also be noted. There are many different ways to spot a crook. These are just a few warning signs that can put you ahead of the curve when it comes to battling employee theft.

For more information about corporate fraud investigation or corporate fraud investigator or employee theft investigation or internal theft or white collar crime contact us at Employee Theft or call 1.770.426.0547 – Atlanta Georgia