Embezzlement often starts small, maybe long after you started working for a company. You may have even learned the practice from the person who trained you. Many people who embezzle from their employers don’t start with outright theft. They may not even think of their actions as a crime.
Instead, their attitude about their employment starts to sour after a few years of working without cost-of-living wage increases. They feel like they do more work than they should given the compensation they receive, and they may look for job perks that can help alleviate their negative emotions.
Possibly because they have access to a cash accounting system or a company expense account, workers may begin to use company resources for personal benefit or even take certain company assets home. Using company accounts for personal expenses or taking property from the business for personal use as a way to augment your wages could eventually lead to claims that you embezzled.
A lack of oversight won’t keep you from getting caught
Although many people associate embezzlement with top executives and big businesses, small to medium-sized businesses see more than their fair share of serious embezzlement cases. Researchers estimate that roughly 30% of embezzlement takes place at small businesses with very little or no employee oversight.
Just because your employer currently gives you free rein over the finances and chooses to let you use the expense account without oversight does not mean you can do whatever you want without consequences. There is likely still a paper trail that could connect you to missing assets or the questionable use of company resources.
How do people get caught for embezzlement without oversight?
If the company goes under, sells to a new owner or faces some kind of legal issue, your use of the company account or misappropriation of assets could come to light and lead to charges. Even if you are friends or family members with the owner of the company, they may not have control over your prosecution once there is clear evidence of financial misconduct.
It is natural and normal to feel frustrated when the company that employees you cannot compensate you according to your skill level and the functions that you perform. Recognizing that how you express that frustration could lead to white-collar criminal charges can help you make better decisions with a focus on your long-term success.