Note From an Embezzler

Jonathan Crystal
Jonathan Crystal
CFO, Crystal & Company

One of our clients received this letter last month; it is shared with the client’s permission:

“As difficult it is for me to compose this letter to you, it is also the most liberating. I have been living with this burden on my shoulder for 3 years nows and it keeps me up at night and literally makes me sick to my stomach. I’ve written this in my head a dozen times. I know the issue with the petty cash and i believe i am responsible for 50K. I will pay you back,, i don’t know how and when but i promise i will. I am at a crossroad where i will either stay on the slippery slope i am on or go the right way, i am choosing the latter. I am no longer worthy of working at YOURCO, I have been there to long and it is not fair to you or my family to continue, so i will not return. This is not a cop out it is a reality. I fight my own demons daily and I need to finally do the right thing and face them. I ask only that you let me leave with a little bit of dignity and a little bit of grace. I really am sorry, i feel terrible, ashamed and embarrassed. Things have gotten out of control in my life and i am trying to do the right thing, finally.”

The contents are copied verbatim, except for the name of the company. The note’s author was an employee of good standing for more than 20 years and was estimated to have stolen at least $80,000 over a period of several years.

Why am I sharing this? Because even in this digital age, corporations and organizations are still vulnerable to the oldest of crimes: theft.

Employee theft is among the worst kinds of thievery, as those we trust the most are often the perpetrators. The profile of an embezzler is, more often than not: a long-standing employee (therefore in a position of control), well liked (therefore assumed honest), and hardworking and diligent (it’s hard to take vacation or be sloppy when you are covering up a crime every day).

Bottom Line: Take a look around your organization and the controls environment you have in place and see where this rogue employee is most likely to be lurking.

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