Is Fraud and Employee Theft Hurting Your Business?

Employers lose millions of dollars each year from fraud, embezzlement and employee theft in the Tampa Bay area. All businesses need to be proactive in eliminating the most common workplace scams.

Embezzlement is theft that involves someone placed in a position of trust. While larceny or theft is merely the taking of another person’s property, embezzlement normally is larceny accomplished through a breach of trust–a taking from someone who trusted the embezzler with access to the funds. It can be an employee taking from an employer, a fiduciary from a beneficiary, a spouse from another spouse, a lawyer from a client, a trustee from a trust, etc. Often it is committed by the person you least suspect, a kind of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

A woman in Tampa recently admitted embezzling money from the church of which she was an employee and a member. 10 News reported that over a number of years, the woman embezzled thousands of dollars through software the church used for payroll purchases. She could be sentenced to a federal prison term of 20 years.
In 2016, a former Tampa Fire Rescue captain plead guilty to embezzling nearly $200,000 from a charity for orphaned children. By all accounts, when Alfred Schaffer, 50, wasn’t working a shift at the fire house, he volunteered much of his free time at Hope Children’s House as its chief financial officer, a role that allowed him to conceal his actions until October 2011. Between 2007 and 2011, he wrote dozens of checks to himself, ultimately stealing at least $187,284 from the children’s home.

Each of these examples involved people placed in positions of great trust. Each were able to hide their activities for long periods of time because of that trust and easy access to the funds. If you own or run a business, sooner or later someone you trust may embezzle from you. Findings from the University of Florida’s 2018 National Retail Security Survey suggest that theft by employees means more than $14 billion in annual losses, which means that employee embezzlement and dishonesty is the single most expensive type of fraud affecting businesses today. Yet, many businesses are blissfully unaware of the impact their employees have on their profits.

There are many ways that employees may steal from a business:

  • Stealing outright. Employees who have access to bookkeeping and cash in a business can simply pocket the money. Even employees who have no access to money can steal company products and even business supplies that can easily add up to thousands of dollars in losses.
  • Disguising thefts as waste or some other reasonable loss. Many employees may report stolen food or items as spoiled, for example. They may also report stolen money as petit cash handed over for deliveries or other legitimate spending.
  • Giving services or products to friends and not ringing up purchases.
  • Incorrectly ringing up purchases and pocketing the difference. A common scam is to deliberately ring up a purchase incorrectly. If a client or customer does not notice the difference, the employee can simply cancel the receipt and keep the difference for themselves, either in cash or in product. This sneaky scam victimizes customers and gives any business a poor name. Unscrupulous employees in the food industry have ideal conditions for this type of fraud.
  • Wasting time on the job or simply not doing the job. This ensures that employees are paid for work that they have not done, which essentially steals from the payroll. This year, a State Police trooper plead guilty to overtime abuse charges, receiving pay for shifts he either didn’t work or arrived late and left early. The trooper concealed the fraud by submitting fake citations and falsely claiming he worked the shifts in payroll entries.

If you suspect that employee fraud is hurting your business, it would be wise to take call Sig14 immediately. Many experts now claim that employee dishonesty may be one of the leading reasons why businesses fail. Stopping deceitful employees in their tracks is a must to save a company, in many cases. Any business owner needs to start looking at accounts and bookkeeping carefully themselves to check for inconsistencies.

When irregularities are found, it is imperative to call a Tampa private investigator to document the abuse. Simply dismissing a dishonest employee can bring about an unlawful dismissal suit, and in these legal disputes, the onus is on business owners to prove that they were justified in firing an employee. Private investigators should also be called in if you cannot pinpoint the source of the theft. Sig14 investigators can identify who is stealing and find specific ways to stop the process. We can also gather evidence so that employers can fire unscrupulous workers without fear of lawsuits. In rare cases, we can work to reclaim some of the money that employees have squirreled away by their embezzlement.

Contact Sig14 For More Information About Our Tampa Private Investigator

You need to act now to save a business and stop theft. Tampa Private Investigator Kenneth Stevens is the answer. Sig14 is a team of local, qualified investigative professionals who can start work on a case fast and get real results. If you have a nagging feeling that employee fraud is happening in your business, you should contact Sig14 Investigations for help. Kenneth Stevens has more than 35 years’ experience in law enforcement and private investigation services.

Our close relationship with Florida law courts, as well as membership in the FL Association of Licensed Investigators, give us added advantages. Call us today and discover why Sig14 is the most trusted Tampa private investigator.