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Embezzlement during employment (6)

One of our relations, a fast-growing retail organization with a large number of stores in the Netherlands, requested us to conduct an investigation into one of its chain stores. The parent organization had strong suspicions about the manager not adhering to pre-agreed money flow procedures.

The store manager, an easy-going fellow, had talked his way out of each interview that higher management had conducted with him. Computer failure, suspicious looking characters hanging around by the store or at the bank, really a lot of customers in the shop, were just one of the many excuses he had when confronted with the lack of bank deposits from this store.

Finally, after the store manager had supposedly been robbed of the bank deposit in a shopping street near the store, our clients asked us to start an investigation. With due caution, since the robbery could have been real, we went to work.

From experience we know that robbery victims can be considerably traumatized and so we were very surprised to come across the manager the day after the robbery when we visited the store unannounced and without introducing ourselves. The manager was his usual self, full of smiles and fine words.

A reconstruction of the facts, based on the police report that had been filed, provided more questions than answers. The neighborhood investigation did not produce any results either, which struck us, as the robbery had taken place around the final hour of the shops’ late opening in a busy shopping street. We decided to interview the store manager.

Our smooth talking store manager fell remarkably silent when we confronted him with the results of our investigation.  Once he got his words back he told us where it had all gone wrong. His salary appeared to be insufficient to finance his greatest hobby, horse race betting. It had started off small, when one day he took the day’s sales to the racecourse, gambled, won and deposited the money the next day. That had gone well a few times, but had gone badly some other days.

He did not see any other solution than to ‘drag’ the bank deposits. Monday’s sales was used for Thursday’s bank deposit,  Tuesday’s sales for Friday’s bank deposit until the time came that there was no money to deposit at all. He had made up the robbery as a last resort.

Obviously it was good to inform the client that the matter had been solved, but sad also, a store manager with capabilities, a gambling addiction, summary dismissal, and a disappointed client with a bad feeling about mutual trust.

Trust is good and very important, but procedures are better!

Ask our security consultants to translate your money flow into enforceable and verifiable procedures.

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Helpdeskfraude is an initiative of Bedrijfsrecherche Nederland. This help desk can help you find a solution if you find yourself a victim of fraud or if company fraud is suspected. For further information please go to www.helpdeskfraude.nl