Tonight I did a simple Internet search through Google’s News, using the key word “embezzlement.”
The results – three screens of articles just from today’s publications on recent embezzlement cases, with a wide range of perpetrators and amounts involved. The largest – a Wisconsin case – a recently discovered $4.5 million scheme by the vice president of finance at Koss.
Others worth noting – $330,000 in retirement funds stolen by the company’s president in New York; $3 million embezzled from a retired doctor in Michigan; $66,000 by a local hardware store bookkeeper in Providence; $45,000 by a physician office manager; $200,000 by union president in Manhattan; and $1 million by a finance clerk at a car dealership in Anaheim Hills – to name a few from today. There was a church pastor who stole $18,000, a church bookkeeper who stole $90,000, and a former police chief who embezzled city funds to buy weapons for personal use.
Bear in mind that statistically somewhere around 1 in 9 cases ever appears in the media. If that statistic is accurate, the thirty articles I read from today alone would equate to around 270 actual instances of embezzlement. Staggering.
Regardless of the size and nature of any entity, fraud prevention and detection measures need to be implemented, and owners need to be vigilant – especially in these economically challenging times.
Joe Campana of the Madison Headlines Examiner said it best in his article regarding the Wisconsin $4.5 million theft –
“Regardless, business ethics, privacy, information security and fraud prevention should be on every businesses New Year to-do list.”
You can find his entire article at http://www.examiner.com/x-26501-Madison-Headlines-Examiner~y2009m12d22-45-million-Wisconsin-employee-fraud-case-should-sound-business-alert