Embezzled For Years | Local Dealership Looted for Over $1 Million

 

How well do you know your employees? Background checks and pre employment drug testing can certainly help weed out the majority of potential bad hires, but what about existing employees? Recently right here in Buffalo NY, an unfortunate case of broken trust is haunting a local automotive dealership.

Way back in 2001, a woman began working for the dealership. We can’t know whether or not she was given a background check back then, but she has worked for the company ever since. Even if the dealership had run a background report, and done a drug test during the hiring process, a lot can happen, and change, in 15 years. When someone works with the same company for 15 years, and they do a good job, everyone begins to trust them.

So imagine this, the 55 year old woman who’s been with the company for 15 years, serving as Controller for the last 8, has embezzled over $1,000,000!  This nightmare became a reality for the owners of Towne Automotive in Orchard Park. Apparently the woman had been stealing money since 2012. She went almost 5 years without anyone even batting an eye.

It wasn’t until a credit card company called the dealership inquiring about a credit card that wasn’t being used by the dealership that anyone even asked a question. It’s safe to assume the woman was in contact with the credit card company directly, and must have slipped up in some way. But, that didn’t stop her from taking a 7 figure sum over the course of 4 years, right under the other employees noses.

What’s worse, is that an attorney told WGRZ Channel 2 that in most embezzlement cases, the estimated total of money at the time of discovery is only a third or a half of what the actual total is at the conclusion of a case.

“Usually when you first find out about an embezzlement case, it usually then increases by magnitudes of two or three as to what the final amount is in my experience, so if this is the initial amount by the time they get through all the books and find out if she and or other people were also engaged in further embezzlement, it could be a much higher amount,”

This is cold reminder of the reality of what can happen if you don’t pre-screen all potential employees, and keep a close watch over ALL employees. This is how trust is built, over time and experience. Step one is to establish trust with all new hires through verifying they are who they say they are, and ensuring they are drug free and safe to work alongside your other team members. Step two, especially with employees handling large sums of money, is to pay attention to all the details. Letting someone’s leash out, just because they’ve been with the company for x amount of years can cost you large sums of money. In this case, millions of dollars.

For more information on pre employment background screening and various forms of drug testing for employees, contact Employment Screening Services today. We have worked with companies all over WNY, as well as around the country. With a background in law enforcement, we pride ourselves on being here to protect and serve all employers, to ensure they hire, and retain the most trustworthy candidates to help their business grow.

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