Articles involving employees stealing from their employer have become nearly daily occurrences in the newspapers. What is troubling is that statistically only 1 in 9 cases is reported within the media. Many cases are settled for a variety of reasons and never result in criminal charges.
Employee embezzlements are by far the largest practice area of our firm, having over twenty-four years of experience investigating these cases. Our experience has shown that how each case is ultimately resolved is a combination of art and science.
Working directly with the victim organization’s counsel, we provide both case strategy and case management expertise.
The key is to get us involved as early as possible in the case. Early involvement will allow our experience and expertise to help maximize desired outcomes and successful resolution, and control undesired consequences. A systematic, controlled and calculated approach is always required for these cases, especially during the emotional period of discovery.
In our experience, some cases involving allegations of embezzlement concluded that no evidence of such fraud existed, and we identified the real explanation for the identified problem or issue. Reacting too quickly could lead to the loss of key personnel and business interruption at best, and unwanted lawsuits at worst. Once a potential embezzlement is detected, the following need to be contemplated immediately to develop a resolution strategy:
- Who is the attorney that will handle the matter?
- Who is involved, how much is involved… ?
- What financial impact could this have on the organization?
- What non-financial impacts could this have?
- Is there insurance coverage?
The most important thing to remember if a potential embezzlement is discovered – consult counsel before doing anything.
Although difficult, if not impossible, to resist emotional reactions, such as immediately terminating the employee and searching through his or her desk and computer – it is critical to do nothing before obtaining legal advice.
This will help minimize further exposure from unwanted counterclaims and lawsuits by the suspect (which is extremely common).