Following the money: Embezzlement in a small business

Working in a small business in Alabama has its perks. Usually there is a family atmosphere, and everyone knows each other. There may be more flexibility in the schedule, and small business owners often respect holidays more than in bigger corporations. Because of the limited staff, your boss may give you responsibilities that come with a great deal of trust.

Recently, however, you may be feeling that trust is not always a good thing, especially when the business owner suspects you of misusing it by embezzling from the company. If money is missing and you handle the books, you may be the prime suspect.

There is more than one way to embezzle

Cashing forged checks from the company account is one way to steal from your company. If you write and sign checks, it makes sense that your boss would suspect you. However, there are other places where the money could be escaping, including these:

  • Someone may alter the amount on a check after you signed it.
  • Someone may order more items or supplies than the company needs and sell the extras online.
  • Instead of selling items online, an employee may return them for cash or credit.
  • Someone on the staff may be working with a vendor to create fake invoices.

Some companies may lose over a million dollars to in-house embezzlement, and investigators are often surprised when they catch the real perpetrator. Frequently, someone who embezzles has no criminal record and no history of committing fraud.

When fingers are pointed at you

Some employees steal from their bosses because they are having financial troubles or just want to live more extravagantly. Others may feel their bosses owe them because of their loyalty and hard work. Others may simply like the thrill of getting away with it. Whether you fall into these categories or are innocent of all charges, you will benefit from the counsel of a lawyer.

A business owner who feels betrayed by a trusted employee is likely to want harsh justice, which means you will need a strong advocate. A conviction for this crime could mean time in prison and heavy fines, as well as permanent damage to your reputation. Relying on the experience and successes of a criminal defense attorney will ensure you have representation that will defend you personally and professionally.