Employee theft: Is the problem getting worse?

Over the last several months, I have had several clients contact me about the possible theft of funds and personal identification information by employees.  I have also noticed a large number of newspaper reports, from throughout Alabama, concerning employee theft.  These include the following: 

In Huntsville, a postal worker was indicted for embezzling over $12,000 from APWU Local 359.  It is alleged that the embezzlement took place while he was president of the local union.

A former nursing home bookkeeper from Wetumpka was arrested for first degree theft of property by the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit for allegedly stealing over $115,000.  The arrest took place after the management at the nursing home reported the matter to the authorities.

A Leeds woman was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison for embezzling over $427,000 from her former employee, J. Loper and Co.  During her 10 year employment, the woman wrote checks to pay for personal items and made entries into the company’s books to conceal the fraud.

In Decatur, a man who worked at Target for a short time was arrested for stealing in excess of $2,500 from the store.

Although not an employee, last week it was reported that a woman stole 4,500 patients’ medical records from Trinity Medical Center while visiting a patient between March 22 and April 1, 2011.

Practice pointer.  It is important that companies take the appropriate steps to protect their assets, including checking accounts, credit cards, trade secrets, personal identifiers, such as social security numbers, dates of birth and addresses, computers, medicaid/medicare billing numbers and stock.  Employers should consult their accountants, attorneys, loss prevention consultants or other appropriate experts to implement the necessary safeguard to protect their assets. 

For more information, please contact:
Daniel J. Burnick

This is a publication of Sirote & Permutt, PC and should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances. The contents are intended for general information only, and you are urged to consult an attorney concerning your own situation and any specific legal questions you may have. This message may be considered an advertisement or solicitation. The Alabama State Bar requires the following disclosure: No representation is made that the quality of legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.

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