What to do when you suspect employee fraud
Suppose you suspect that somebody in your company is stealing or involved in a fraud scheme. You may discover an employee working unreasonably late, or the person in charge of purchasing may be spending an unusual amount of time with a supplier. Perhaps a member of the sales staff hands in a large expenses bill, but claims to have lost the receipts.
What should you do?
Innocent until proven guilty
A strong suspicion that an employee is committing fraud will put you in an awkward position. Bear in mind that behaviour that looks dishonest often turns out to be perfectly legitimate. Avoid jumping to conclusions or immediately confronting the suspected person. Instead, consult your legal advisor and, if necessary, he or she will recommend the services of a forensic accountant.
Until you have proof of wrongdoing, you should exercise caution and attempt to carry on with business as usual. An investigation should be discreet, to avoid alerting the employee to the fact that they are under suspicion until the appropriate moment.
If fraud is discovered
If a case of fraud is discovered, you must decide how to tackle the matter. Many companies vigorously prosecute all crimes perpetrated against them in court, to convey the message that fraud and theft will not be tolerated. Others prefer to settle these matters privately to avoid publicity.