Embezzlement is the act of dishonestly withholding assets for the purpose of conversion (theft) of such assets, by one or more persons to whom the assets were entrusted, either to be held or to be used for specific purposes. It is also a very serious accusation. You don’t want to accuse someone of embezzlement without being absolutely sure it is true.
If you think that someone in your company, especially a supervisor or someone in a position of authority over you, is embezzling funds, there are a few things to keep in mind before picking up the phone and calling the police.
The initial reaction of someone witnessing a crime is to call the police but often in an embezzlement case that will not get you anywhere but fired and it gives the accused time to destroy evidence or cover their tracks. The police will typically not perform an investigation into the internal financial workings of a company. You will want to do a few things to try to gather evidence of wrong doing.
- Back up electronic data: You don’t want a hard drive to conveniently crash once an internal investigation is obvious to the accused. Make sure that there are copies available and in a safe place.
- Discretely call an attorney, fraud investigator, or forensic accountant: Having someone look at the situation and the evidence in an objective manner is very important. If the problem happens to be an accounting error or other innocent mistake within the company you have saved not only the reputation of someone potentially being accused but also yours as the accuser.
- Don’t confront the accused: You want to make sure that you don’t confront or otherwise tip off the accused you are on to them. If you do speak to them about the problem make sure you are always in the presence of others to make sure that you don’t get involved in a physical altercation or get accused of making threats or other harassment charges.
Discovering the holes
Doing a thorough investigation of the suspected embezzlement can reveal costly mistakes in company policy or accounting practices. As stated before, the missing funds may be a product of mismanagement but not necessarily theft. Finding these holes sooner rather than later can improve the profitability of your company in the end. Changing company policy regarding the checks and balances regarding funds may also deter any embezzlement from continuing.
No Doubt about it. Now What?
If it happens to be a significant amount of money, you have evidence and know without a shadow of a doubt that your boss is embezzling from the company you will want to contact the police or the District Attorney’s office. You should be prepared to present any and all evidence you have gathered.
As a whistleblower you will want to make sure your rights are protected in an embezzlement case and try to prevent any backlash by hiring an experienced attorney in white collar crimes. Contact us today online or by telephone at (404) 233-4171 to arrange a consultation with an experienced Georgia attorney.