Employee theft and employee dishonesty cases can follow similar patterns. Employees often steal merchandise, cash, or make personal purchases using company credit cards. But some cases stand out either because of the amount of loss or the method of misappropriation. Here are five over-the-top examples of in-house theft and employee fraud:
- The Jury Duty that Wouldn’t End
Joseph Winstead, a Washington, D.C. postal worker, managed to steal $40,000.00 in unearned wages from the USPS over a total of 144 days. How? Winstead claimed he was fulfilling his civic responsibility by serving jury duty. Winstead even fabricated court paperwork to support his reimbursement. He got caught when he tried his luck with the same scheme three years later. After a supervisor figured out Winstead’s scam, Winstead plead guilty to fraud. Ironically, Winstead was sentenced in the same courthouse where he claimed to have had jury duty.
- It All Adds Up
Employees often make off with valuable company property, such as computers, laptops, and mobile phones. One employee of Directory Plus, charged with delivering phone books, had a different idea. She squirreled away more than 100,000 directories over a period of four years. She hid her books in three storage units, taken out in her name. Estimated losses from the missing phone books totaled more than $500,000.00.
- Counting Change
David Hamilton, a Calgary Transit employee, stole approximately $375,000.00 from his company in cash. Over the course of seven years, Hamilton, a fare counter, took coins home with him by hiding them in his bag. He pilfered an average of $200.00 per day in quarters, dimes, and nickels.
- A Swedish Scam
Suraj Samaroo, an IKEA employee, mastered the furniture company’s phone and mail-order system. Then he used his knowledge to steal. Samaroo started issuing himself refunds for purchases made by customers. He concealed his rampant refunding by altering inventory records. In less than a year, Samaroo stole almost $400,000.00.
- Can I Borrow Your Pen?
A government employee in Germany was revealed to have hoarded 30 years’ worth of pens, pencils, and post-it notes in his backyard. The man had managed to take home printer paper, cleaning products, and even toilet brushes over a period of three decades. The entire collection weighed more than 20 tons. Estimates suggested the merchandise could be worth more than $100,000.00.
Of course, employee theft and dishonesty is no laughing matter. During times of economic uncertainty, employee theft tends to increase — especially for smaller companies. Being aware of some of the creative methods employees use to steal helps to make employers all the wiser.