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Normally in this space we're warning small business owners to avoid vendor scams and online hackers. But when Vice published a short compendium of workplace scams, we knew we should warn you about your own employees as well.
Here are a few of our favorites to help you make sure you're on the lookout for employee scams at your small business.
Embezzlement and Horseplay
Mere embezzlement? Not that crazy. What about the biggest case of municipal fraud in U.S. history? Rita A. Crundwell, former comptroller of Dixon, Illinois, siphoned off over $53 million from the city over ten years. With that money she funded her lavish stables, including a $225,000 quarter horse named Pizzazzy. She's currently serving a 20-year stretch in prison and had all of her ill-gotten belongings auctioned off.
Unfortunately, employee theft may just be a fact of store ownership. But stolen snakes, grabbed geckos, and looted lizards? That's apparently a fact of pet store ownership. Vice relayed the story of one Petco employee's "insane terrarium setup he was building with lights and cages and filters he stole from the store." A scam that, apparently, may be more common than we thought.
Some employees drink on the job. Heck, some employers encourage it. But creating new cocktails after hours with a little booze and a lot of Starbucks ingredients? Well that sounds delicious:
"We had lemonade, iced tea, and a bunch of fruit and flavors at our disposal, so we could make really fancy concoctions if it was quiet enough and the chill night manager was on duty. To this day, I think Starbucks could make another billion if they started serving the sort of blended alcoholic drinks we came up with."
Now that we think of it, this hardly seems like a scam at all, and more a straight shooter with upper management written all over him.
Of course, you'd like your employees to come to you with "innovative" ideas like this. But if you're having trouble with employee scams, you may want to see if a good employment law attorney can help.
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