24 May Employee Theft Investigations
Employee Theft Investigations
EMPLOYEE THEFT = $50 BILLION PER YEAR!
There are countless ways where employees can steal from an employer. Depending on the type of business, common ways include taking cash, refund fraud, discount fraud, gift card fraud, credit card fraud and “sweet hearting” where an employee simply passes off merchandise to an associate. Another common avenue for employee theft results from poor inventory control.
Live Case of Employee Theft
A large electrical contractor has several offices and warehouses and employs several electricians. Each day the electricians are given their assignments and when they arrive at the warehouse they are provided the material they will need for the specific job(s) they have that day. The inventory control is lax and the electricians often take more material than they will require, including hundreds of feet of expensive copper wire. There is no process for documenting the return of any material, it is only suggested…like an honor system, that unused material is to be returned to the warehouse.
Surveillance confirmed that some of the employees were simply taking the large spools of copper wire home and storing it in their garage. The employee theft could easily amount to thousands of dollars in losses per month for the company. Once the criminal employee accumulated enough material, he simply sold it to another electrician for pennies on the dollar.
Employee Theft Prevention
Employee theft prevention includes training and awareness of internal theft, and confirmation that the company will not tolerate it. This includes criminal prosecution of the suspected employee when appropriate. A clear understanding of the companies’ position on employee theft is often enough to dissuade other employees from attempting to steal from you. Management must take proactive steps to eliminate any opportunities to exploit company resources for Employee Theft. Comprehensive policies and procedures with an emphasis on inventory control are critical to the future of your business.
Initial Self-Investigation of Employee Theft
If you suspect insider theft at your company, your first step should be to contact a licensed private investigator at Top Gun Investigations in Tampa for a free case analysis. Our experienced private investigators will be happy to advise you on the proper steps to take.
However, if you want to initiate the investigation in-house, know that you must be very careful and thorough. We live in an extremely litigious world and if you go into an investigation unprepared or fire employees without the proper evidence, you may be subject to a devastating and costly wrongful termination lawsuit.
At a minimum, you should follow some basic steps when investigating suspected employee theft in your business.
Evaluate your internal procedures for inventory control:
Be as discreet as possible. If the subject gets wind of any internal inquiries, they will most likely shut down making it much more difficult to ferret out any thieves. Make sure to evaluate every employee and don’t focus on any specific suspects. Be objective and don’t allow personal relationships and feelings have any effect on the investigation. In a recent case, we found insider theft of more the $300,000 by the human resources officer who was with the company for 20 years. Weak inventory control policies and procedures are a typical opening for employee theft. Finding these weaknesses will help create a list of potential suspects.
Comprehensive, professional background checks:
There are countless companies online that advertise very inexpensive “Background Checks”. The problem is they are based on basic, free public record searches and the information is often inaccurate and notoriously stale…sometimes more than a year old.
You should hire a licensed Private Investigator to conduct a comprehensive nationwide background, asset, criminal and civil case search on every potential employee and then again every year or two. Top Gun Investigations has access to highly secure, specialized databases that provide accurate, real-time intelligence so you know the very latest information on the subject.
Document, document, document everything:
It is critical that you create a clear and convincing paper trial. Digitally date and time-stamped documentation will address and counter any ambiguities should an employee(s) decide to sue your company.
Private Investigator Tampa
If you suspect insider or employee theft at your company, call Top Gun Investigations in Tampa today at 813-902-0420 or email us at [email protected] for a free case analysis.
About the author:
Mark J. Aubin is the only practicing professional investigator and licensed attorney in the State of Florida. He owns Top Gun Investigations, a Florida based, international investigative services firm providing general civil and criminal investigations.
Employee Theft Investigations Orlando Office