You’ve noticed a change in sales lately but can’t find a reasonable explanation to account for the losses. You don’t want to believe that one of your employees has been stealing money out from under you, but your suspicions are growing. You believe that someone in accounting may be to blame. However, before you confront an employee, you’ll want to know for certain that you’re confronting the right person and can provide evidence to back up your claim.
What are the signs that an employee has been embezzling money? How can you confirm your suspicions and take legal action against them?
The red flags of an embezzlement scheme
Employees who steal are often egotistical enough to believe that they’ll never get caught, but there are subtle giveaways that can help to reveal their true identity. Whether they’re a longtime or new employee, embezzlers are eager to learn the ropes of the company so that they can eventually manipulate and exploit the processes. They may also appear to be “living the good life” or otherwise living outside of their means. You see their paychecks, so how can they afford to buy a new car and brand name clothing even you can’t afford? Things simply aren’t adding up.
Embezzlers have no hesitations about lying so it comes to no surprise that they may abuse other company policies. This can include sneaking out of work early without permission and abusing the number of sick days that they can take. Lastly, do they have a motive to steal? If you have an employee who has expressed discontent about the way they’ve been treated, they may have felt the need to seek revenge against your company.
How to conduct your own embezzlement investigation
If you’ve noticed the behaviors above, you may want to do some investigating. Gather your business’s financial statements and start reviewing accounting documents. You may find that some documents are missing, which should immediately raise a red flag. When analyzing the documents, do you notice any unexplained expenses and reimbursements? Are there unauthorized vendors on accounts? An embezzler may also receive a customer’s payment, but then pocket the money. If an employee is doing this, you may notice an unusual amount of past-due accounts.
After you’ve gathered enough information, it’s time to create a game plan to address the problem with them face-to-face. But this isn’t always a task you should take up alone and you may want to get a second opinion before doing so. You have the right to protect your business through termination and subsequent litigation. A dishonest and disloyal employee should be ousted for their actions and held accountable under the full extent of the law. Empowering yourself with your options can help you to take back control of your company and close in on opportunities for financial exploitation.