Employee theft – addiction?

employee theft

Columbia news, views and reviews commenter, Sharon, notes:

“Exactly right!!!! I worked at the same facility as two women that ran an elaborate payroll scam over the course of several years. They finally were charged with stealing 144,000 thousand dollars. While the article appeared in the paper and the story was on television news, their photos were never published. Sentencing was in December 2015. House arrest and probation. No jail time. I was told that payback will be made through their retirement funds. It’s like they took out a loan. What a total joke. Someone defended the sentence saying ” first offense”. I say “REPEATED first offense over and over for years”. Nothing short of criminal. After this, at least one of the two was hired and working at a local health care facility. Astounding!”

This report, The 2015 Hiscox Embezzlement Watchlist: A Snapshot of Employee Theft in the US, notes:

“Employee theft corrodes trust, damages culture and can have a devastating financial impact on organizations. The typical organization loses 5% of revenue each year to fraud, a potential projected global fraud loss of $3.7 trillion annually according to the ACFE 2014 Report to the Nations study of global fraud.

“Understanding the dynamics of employee theft enables organizationsto more effectively detect, deter and mitigate risks related to employee theft. The Hiscox Embezzlement Watchlist examines employee theft cases that were active in US federal courts in calendar year 2014. We focused specifically on entities with fewer than 500 employees to provide a better understanding of the range of employee theft risks.”

Why don’t the culprits who steal, embezzle, skim money from their employers, churches, fire companies, kids’ sports programs, PTO’s earn prison sentences as people who rob convenience stores? Lenient judges, conniving attorneys, community apologists repeatedly send messages that the criminal is the victim.

Know what’s weird? Folks handing out advice like this: “I know someone embezzeled, and she just got probation and probably some restitution,” at Websites like PrisonTalk.com

Evidently, because our prisons are so crowded, many times, the culprits get sentenced in the ARD/non DUI Court program (accelerated rehabilitative disposition).

The culprits get sentences like this: “Perform Community Service Hours. Pay all financial obligations. Employment – To maintain full time employment, unless excused by Adult Parole and Probation Services.”

They do not “go to jail – they do not collect $200.” They, however, do get slapped with an assortment of hefty legal “costs & fees” and “restitution.” In some cases, the likelihood of full restitution is, frankly, remote. Paying back several hundred thousand dollars at $50 or $100 a month will take a long, long time. [NOTE: Click here to read The Profile of an Embezzler an how you can stop her.”]

This 1947 report, Why Honest People Steal, indicates “that the factors most frequently present in  embezzlement cases are:

  1. Gambling;
  2. Extravagant living standards;
  3. Unusual family expense;
  4. Undesirable associates;
  5. Inadequate income.”

The reasons are so different than the reasons attributed to people dealing with additions who are convicted of committing robberies, often yielding far fewer dollars than the embezzlers. Addicts steal to get money to support addictions.

Yet, “The federal prison population has expanded by nearly 800 percent in the past 30 years, spurred in part by the increasing use of tougher sentences applied to nonviolent drug crimes.”

Apparently an addiction to “the finer things in life” are seen by courts differently than addictions that drugs or mental illness or poverty create.



  1. I just saw an article in LNP about a larceny case involving a Fulton Bank employee. This one was in York County. A 45 year old female from Felton was charged. The frequency with which this is happening is alarming. My trust of companies and their staff is nearly gone. This case did not involve as large of an amount of money as some of the other cases, yet it mentioned part of the penalty could be a maximum of ten years in prison. It will be interesting to see how this one compares to the others with regard to the sentence.

  2. Yeah, Sharon … I asked this too in today’s (Monday’s) news. We’ll see how it turns out. But it’s beginning to look like this is an acceptable way to get money to support addictions like, gambling, new clothes, spa treatments, credit card use, etc.

  3. Well, here we go AGAIN!! Now it’s a man from Mountville doing the stealing. I believe he took money from a Weis market in East Lampeter, where he was employed. It seems to me this is becoming all too common. I can no longer trust any company or those it employs. Whenever a Target cashier asks me to open a credit card, I remind them of the turmoil I went through a couple of years ago with the breach. Our country and its people are becoming more corrupt by the day. The light punishments are encouraging people to take the risk.

  4. Thinking about this, too, Sharon. Maybe these folks who think the money’s there for the taking are being influenced by watching steady diets of corporate and political theft and corruption.

    Heck, it seems as there are no penalties for doing evil deeds. Unless, of course, you steal because you’re poor.

    The folks we read about – those corporate crooks, elected public servants who tap the tills, and those “trusted staffers” who steal from their employers, churches, clubs, fire departments really are not stealing because they’re poor … they’re just crooks stealing to support their greedy patterns.

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