Posted Layla Alzahrani.
Embezzlement is money stolen by an unethical person. According to the article, 40 percent of small businesses in the United States will be targeted for average loss of $ 140,000,00.00, but embezzlement is only reported two percent of the time. Most of the embezzlers are trusted and long-term employees or family friends, or relatives. Victims’ trust usually is shattered after embezzlement happened, especially if embezzlers are their friends or relatives. According to forensic psychologists, victims have lack of judgment to discover the perpetrators before embezzlement happens.
It is difficult to discover employees who follow no pattern and offer no outward signs. Embezzlement sometimes is committed by people who do not have previous criminal records and and may have reputations beyond reproach. There are warning signs, however, that can show as evidence of employees’ behavior before the theft is uncovered, such as: enthusiastic employees who ask questions about business processes and procedures; employees who have excessive debt because of divorce or drug abuse; and employees who refuse to take time of their job, and who want to work when no one is around. Usually embezzlers have a hostile attitude if they get questioned about financial transaction.
Moreover, there are three factors must be present before a person can commit fraud; they are need, opportunity, and rationalization. Some examples of need are addiction to drugs, alcohol, and gambling. Rationalization appears when an employee believes that his/her illegal action fits within a personal code of conduct or ethic, which means that an embezzler steals because they see that as situational fraud. However, embezzlement can be discovered if accountants find amounts of expenses that are not consistent with historical norms or budget, documents are missing or incomplete, problems of bank reconciliations, and documents are adjusted without adequate support.
Preventing embezzlement can be difficult because there is no sure-fire method that can prevent it. Some examples that make it difficult to prevent fraud are issuing fictitious checks, invoking products that a company does not need it, issuing cashing checks for return products that not actually returned, forging checks and destroying them, and charging patients more than a duplicate invoice. There are some precautions that clients can take to prevent fraud such as doing an extensive background check before hiring an employee, tracking a person’s checks and verifying them, making bank deposits nightly, reconciling the bank and credit card statements, and requiring vacations. Those handing funds must be closely and routinely monitored in a company to insure that all profit within the practice and not in someone’s pocket.
Layla is a graduate accounting student with a concentration in forensic accounting at the Feliciano School of Business, Montclair State University.
Tranyor, Robert M. (2016) Embezzlement Could it Really Happen to You?, Audiology Today, Vol. 28. No. 4.