Here on our blog back in January, we featured a story here in Western New York of a woman working for a local car dealership that embezzled over $1 Million over the course of her career. As it all turned out, the amount of money far surpassed a million. We are talking some serious cash. When it was all said and done the 55 year old who worked for the car dealership had caused a loss of over $4.1 Million!
This woman had worked for the company for 15 years before anyone noticed anything. Trust is one of the most, if not the most important factors in any employer/employee relationship. Knowing that you can trust your team to work hard and always do the right thing is paramount when hiring new employees. In this case however, trust was the one thing hiding the truth from this woman’s employer.
“Through all of this I never got a chance to apologize to the ‘family’ for what I’ve done to them,” she said tearfully. “They treated me like family. I wish I could pay it all back.”
A family-run company, the business was started 48 years ago, and employs over 420 people from around Buffalo and Western New York. Who would have thought that one woman could steal over 4 million dollars with no one noticing? Drug testing employees is one way to ensure you are hiring a solid person, but this woman wasn’t stealing to buy drugs or gamble. Why did she do it? She used the money to fund her love for buying and training horses for competitive dressage. She spent the money as she took it, to avoid anyone noticing.
She stood in front of the judge last Tuesday to find out that she will be going to prison. Though she could have faced the maximum sentence of 25 years, she will face 4-12 years. Members of the family who owned the company wrote letters to the court to try and lessen the sentence, because she did try to make payment restitution by selling everything she owned. Making up the full 4 million dollars however, that would be impossible. She owes the state $256,000 in taxes, and deducting the $1 million covered by insurance, the family’s loss was still over $2 million. After the woman does finally get out of prison, she will be paying $500 a month just to reduce that number, probably for life.
“The ‘family’ say they felt betrayed and have lost trust in people, especially after providing you with such a wonderful job and wonderful salary,”
Though justice has been served, and the company no longer employs the largest embezzler in the history of Erie County, the money remains in limbo and the owners of the company have lost trust in people. This clearly is a daunting example of how even in our own backyard here in WNY, you can find white collar criminals that are damaging the reputation of a company. When your company needs a new employee, you should always take every possible step to ensure you’re hiring someone you can trust.
Employment Screening Services provides background check services for any industry. We also offer employment drug testing that can be provided prior to employment or during. We take what we do seriously, and our background in law enforcement backs that up. Don’t go cheap when looking into background checks, because you get what you pay for. You could very well miss something on a potential employee’s record that could not only damage your reputation, but it could cost you money. Let this example of a family-owned company losing over $4 million ensure that you take every step necessary.