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What motivates small business theft?

On Behalf of | Aug 15, 2019 | Criminal Defense |

There are many ways some employees steal from the small companies they work for. Forbes lays out a few examples, like stealing blank checks, padding expenses, tampering with payroll, or issuing fake invoices. It might seem to Savannah residents that people who would commit such acts show outward signs of being bad people, but the truth is many of these crimes are committed simply because the opportunity existed to do so.

 The Forbes article explains that some small business owners do not take the proper precautions to secure their businesses from theft because they trust their employees not to steal from them. Many small business owners know the people they employ and do not consider that one of them might try to steal company assets. This lax attitude leaves opportunities for thieves to get their hands on company checks, invoices or just simple cash.

Small business owners can eliminate temptation to steal by making sure a single employee does not wield too much power over the business finances. Instead of a single employee controlling company cash flow from start to finish, owners can split up the responsibility among different workers. This helps create a set of checks and balances. Business owners can also cultivate a culture of integrity and ethics in the company and make workers aware that fraud is being watched for.

Splitting up financial responsibilities among different workers also helps protect employees from being unfairly accused of theft. If company assets are unaccounted for and only one or two workers are in charge of managing the company’s money, suspicion may fall on those employees even if they are innocent. Accusing or firing a worker can damage the worker’s reputation, and if the worker is not guilty of the charge, the employer could be sued for wrongful termination.

 Theft and embezzlement charges can result in dismissal from a job and even arrest, so a person accused of theft should consider legal representation. There are many types of small business theft, so do not consider this article as actionable legal advice for your situation. The information presented here is only for educational purposes.