Many people think that thieves are people who have no respect for their employers or co-workers. Certainly, there are people who steal property from their company or even take money right out of the cash register where they work.
However, many times, acts of employee theft that technically constitute embezzlement are far more subtle than someone stealing a large amount of cash or small amounts of money frequently. There are ways that otherwise diligent and trustworthy employees could find themselves accused of embezzlement.
Maybe you work for a restaurant and cook yourself a meal even though they don’t offer a free meal as a benefit. Perhaps you take home office supplies so that you don’t have to pay for school supplies for your children every fall.
Anyone who takes items from the company without paying for them could face accusations of embezzlement. Even if the items on their own aren’t worth much, they may add up to more money over time. Also, some companies have zero-tolerance policies for workers taking company resources home.
If an employer doesn’t carefully review every credit card receipt that workers turn in, someone might start trying to write off dinner with friends instead of just dinner with business clients. Although such behavior may go unnoticed for a long time, a single charge could trigger a review of previous transactions and could result in the company uncovering years of questionable financial conduct.
Sometimes, instead of taking money from the business, employees find creative ways to get customers to pay them something a little extra. They might intentionally over-charge for their services and then just pocket the extra cash. They might even create two separate invoices is so that the business doesn’t catch on to their behavior.
Recognizing some of the mistakes that could lead to embezzlement charges could help you avoid potentially life-altering mistakes at work. If you are accused of a crime, make sure you fully explore all your defense options.