Can you steal like a boss? White collar crime takes special skills and thoughts. Do you have what it takes? Here’s my tongue-in-cheek look at how I would steal.
To steal, I need to:
Look trustworthy. The more age, experience, and education I have, the better. The longer I work for the organization, the more I am trusted.
And while I’m at it, I’ll do what I can to move to positions of higher authority which will provide me with greater opportunities. Being in authority enables me to steal like a boss.
If possible, I will gain the ability to authorize or initiate purchases. Kickbacks (paid to those who authorize payments) are difficult to detect, even by professional fraud examiners, and the dollars can be significant. Like taking candy from a baby.
But before I steal, I need motivation.
Any financial pressure will do–a gambling or drug habit, an affair, medical bills, or maybe I just want to appear more successful than I am. If I don’t have a need, I will create one. I am my own cause.
My unshareable need (cause) must not be known by others lest they suspect my need for cash.
One problem I must take care of before I steal is my conscience.
I hate when that little voice starts talking: “Charles, you can’t do this. You’ll embarrass your wife.” It takes skill and fortitude, but I must calm my conscience. All the more reason to have a cause (see point 2.). The nobler I can make my reasons, the better. Something like, “I’ve earned this. The company should realize my greatness and provide me with appropriate compensation. I have three kids in college, and they need my support. You know I want to be a good provider for my family.”
I may need to start
stealing borrowing or compensating myself in small amounts and then build up. Such wise reasoning will make it easier to calm my conscience.
Thinking correctly is important. When that little voice speaks, I will rephrase the words. I know I can. After all, I’ve done so for years.
Now I need to develop a plan.
I will pay attention to control weaknesses.
Our auditors have told us for years that we lack appropriate segregation of duties in regard to purchasing. Opportunity awaits.
If I am going to
steal be compensated appropriately, I need to make it worth my while. Be bold. Think big. I have noticed that one of our key vendors has been very kind to me, a free week-long trip to Vegas for the last three years.
A key contract renewal is coming up. The vendor should be more generous to me. Besides, last year the CFO received a nicer trip than I did (two weeks in Austria). And
bribes gifts don’t hurt anyone; the vendor pays for them (though I have noticed the vendor’s pricing seems to be increasing…actually, exploding).
It’s game time. I need to “just do it.” But how?
Take I must compensate myself in a steady under-the-radar kind of way. Most folks get greedy. I must be diligent to work in a measured way, not taking receiving noticeable amounts. Greed is my enemy. Excess might land me on the front page of the paper.
Also, I think I can
steal borrow money from the receipts cycle since I am in charge of daily deposits and all related accounting duties. This might cost me my vacation though. I need to be on the job to continue to hide perform my duties. But if the funds taken compensation is enough, it might be worth it.
But what if my actions become known to others?
I am discovered someone notices that I have borrowed funds, then I may have to beg for forgiveness and promise to pay it back. And, of course, I need to make sure the company understands my concern for its reputation. News like this does not support the company’s mission statement: Honesty and Compassion for Those We Serve.
I don’t need a criminal record, especially if I need to
steal borrow funds from my next employer. It is comforting to know that in many cases companies don’t prosecute for fear of public embarrassment.
You’ll find more information about fraud prevention in my book: The Little Book of Local Government Fraud Prevention.
See my series of fraud articles at White Collar Crime is Knocking at Your Door.
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Charles Hall is a practicing CPA and Certified Fraud Examiner. For the last thirty years, he has primarily audited governments, nonprofits, and small businesses. He is the author of The Little Book of Local Government Fraud Prevention and Preparation of Financial Statements & Compilation Engagements. He frequently speaks at continuing education events. Charles is the quality control partner for McNair, McLemore, Middlebrooks & Co. where he provides daily audit and accounting assistance to over 65 CPAs. In addition, he consults with other CPA firms, assisting them with auditing and accounting issues.
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