Day after day I receive Google notifications containing news articles relating to embezzlement. On any given day, somewhere between twelve and twenty different notifications are delivered to my in-box, some with only one news article or post, while others contain several different cases. It amazes me just how much theft is occurring, and when you take into consideration only one in nine cases ever hits the press, the incidence of embezzlement is staggering.
Another pattern I have been tracking is that no contexts seem to be immune. Individuals with access and opportunity seem to be stealing everywhere possible. I’m not saying everyone is stealing, because that is certainly not the case. But I am saying a significant risk exists for theft or embezzlement within every business, entity, government agency, program, club, group, and every other type of organization that maintains funds, regardless of the nature, size and context of each potential victim organization.
I truly believe employee behavior is a leading indicator, often detected long before evidence of the actual diversion of funds has materialized. Living beyond ones means seems to come up in many of the cases. Know your employees, and for anyone who is a member of any social club, sports program or any other member organization, know who handles your finances and what controls are in place to safeguard your funds.
Below is a small sampling of Google Alerts received today alone:
Woman jailed for embezzling youth soccer funds (over $200,000)
A local judge accused of embezzling court funds and other misdeeds could be removed from the bench
Sentencing for Ira town clerk who admitted embezzling
Former Tenderloin Housing Clinic Employee Sentenced For Embezzlement
A Kent County minister accused of embezzlement is due in court today.
Former Shelby Schools superintendent charged with embezzlement