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These situations are common employee embezzlement examples. Each year companies lose millions of dollars to employee embezzlers. The sad truth is that white-collar embezzlement DOES pay.
Unfortunately, the overburdened state and federal criminal justice systems provide little relief to businesses victimized by thieving employees. In most circumstances, district attorneys will not prosecute embezzlement under $100,000 simply because of the amount of time these cases take to pursue and the number of cases burdening major fraud divisions. Many district attorney offices prefer that the victim provide most of the evidence needed to prosecute, rather than depend on a police department or DA investigators to gather evidence. Federal prosecution is even more difficult. Most cases taken by the U.S. Attorney's Office involve embezzlement over $1 million. Even multi-million dollar embezzlement federal cases can take several years to develop. As a result, companies must often wait years for relief from the criminal courts.
Immediately upon discovering embezzlement, a company's initial actions can be critical in the outcome of both whether criminal charges are ever brought and whether the company can recover any of the funds.
Gardere attorneys have significant experience in guiding clients through this initial moment of crisis. We can assist in forming a strategy, which may include instituting a civil lawsuit to 1) obtain a judgment against the embezzler and recover any funds that have not been spent; and/or 2) gather evidence to be used by a prosecuting authority, thereby expediting the criminal proceeding. Depending on the size of the loss, a publicly held corporation's audit committee or chief financial officer may need to be advised of the loss to ensure compliance with the mandatory disclosure requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Also, if applicable, the company should contact its risk manager or insurance agent to determine its rights under any insurance policies that it may have. Most policies require that a notice of claim be filed within a short time after discovery of a loss.
What to Do When Current Employees Are Caught Stealing?
A company should proceed cautiously upon discovering a current employee is embezzling money. In most circumstances the employee has spent most of the stolen funds; however, it is sometimes recoverable. Below are important steps to take in recovering some of the misappropriated funds and in gathering evidence to provide to the prosecutorial authority.
What to Do When You Discover Embezzlement by a Former Employee?
A company's steps following the discovery of embezzlement by a former employee will be similar to those taken when the embezzler is a current employer. However, there are additional considerations to keep in mind when dealing with the criminal activity of a prior employee.
What Can You Do to Prevent Employee Embezzlement?
Employee embezzlement is a serious and, in recent years, growing threat to all companies. The likelihood that a company can recover embezzled funds – and deter other employees from engaging in similar behavior – depends in large part on the swiftness and appropriateness of a company's actions immediately following the discovery of the theft.
Please contact Gardere Partner Rachel Powitzky Steely (firstname.lastname@example.org or 713.276.5605) or any other member of the Gardere Labor and Employment team if you would like more information about addressing employee embezzlement, whether you want to be proactive and craft policies granting you broad monitoring powers, or if you're already the victim of employee embezzlement.
The publications contained in this site do not constitute legal advice. Legal advice can only be given with knowledge of the client's specific facts. By putting these publications on our website we do not intend to create a lawyer-client relationship with the user. Materials may not reflect the most current legal developments, verdicts or settlements. This information should in no way be taken as an indication of future results.
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