Embezzlement is wide-scale form of theft that takes place within in the workplace. Any individual within a company can become an embezzler, including line workers and company executives. Sometimes managers and supervisors pursue embezzlement schemes to make extra untaxed money despite the fact that doing so could land them in jail. Managers that steal from their employees and/or customers might not immediately display characteristics that indicate their guilt. Before opening an investigation on your manager, look out for specific signs of embezzlement and cyber fraud, including the behavioral characteristics associated with these crimes.
How to Tell if Your Manager Is Stealing
To determine if you should initiate a fraud investigation, or report your manager for embezzlement, it helps to have some form of proof or reasoning to back up your suspicions. Certain warning signs indicate embezzlement is taking place within the company:
- A drop in company profits
- A change in personal spending habits
- Faulty or disorganized financial documentation
- An unusual amount of credit going to one customer
- Delayed or altered paychecks
- Accounts receivable and accounts payable don’t balance out
- Customers often complain about being charged twice for bills, even after payment
When it comes to embezzlement, there comes a certain point where someone within the company identifies the patterns and incongruencies associated with theft. Many individuals simply quit their job instead of seeking legal recourse, but this is not the only option. Learn the different behaviors associated with workplace theft and fraudulent activity.
Criminal defense attorneys argue there are certain signs to look out for in individuals who may be participating in fraudulent activity. If you suspect that your manager is responsible for these signs of embezzlement, look for certain behavioral “tells” that guilty parties exhibit:
- Spending long hours at work – Employees often mis-attribute this as being devoted to one’s work when in reality the perpetrator is either conducting illicit transactions or keeping up appearances
- Becoming overprotective or secretive of their work
- A change in demeanor – This could mean either an overly cheery disposition or an increasingly off-putting or distant attitude
- Ambiguity when discussing matters surrounding potential embezzlement
- Refusing to provide pertinent documentation or defensively protecting their integrity
It might be hard to determine if you have a case against your manager. However, the court honors circumstantial evidence along with direct evidence. Circumstantial evidence might look like the following:
- Spending time alone with, or having sole access to, the assets in question
- Spending more extravagantly than their paycheck has historically allowed them to spend
- Unintentionally altering in personality after the initial act of embezzlement
In essence, circumstantial evidence does not directly expose the embezzler for their actions. Instead, it looks at the different ways that a potential embezzler could implicate themselves indirectly.
What to Do Pending Investigation
When you suspect that your manager is embezzling, you must address certain tasks.
- Call your attorney – Contact an attorney that specializes in employment fraud. This resource will help you conduct an investigation for evidence. Lawyers provide many tools to their clients that make them invaluable in an embezzlement case.
- Gather more resources – The resources you need are professionals that specialize in different areas of your investigation, like law enforcement, computer forensics specialists, and fraud examiners. An attorney can help you gather this professional help or refer you to additional resources that can help.
It can be intimidating to press charges against someone that is higher up in the company than you. However, holding an executive position often makes it easier to successfully embezzle for a long period of time. If you have suspicions that your manager is embezzling, collect evidence in any ways that you can, because even a documented change in behavior could act against the defendant in your case. Remain alert and remember to contact an attorney when you’re ready to discuss whether your case could have legal grounds in court.