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Embezzlement - Not Always a Master Plan
posted on 10/29/23

You might feel that people who steal from their employers by manipulating funds and subsequently directing those funds to personal accounts thought long and hard about their proposed criminal act. Maybe you believe that crooked employees targeted certain employers, applied for jobs, got hired, and then waited for the right moment to launch their embezzlement scheme.

Not Always the Case

While there are surely unscrupulous people who take the route described above, many times, embezzlement is just a crime of opportunity. A bookkeeper at a small business might just be in the right place at the right time and have a serious financial need to meet to begin an embezzlement career. 

Read on as the Chicago criminal defense attorneys at Glasgow & Olsson explain more.

Controls Lacking

Many entrepreneurs are so focused on keeping their business alive that they fail to institute accounting controls and audits that would catch an embezzlement scheme early. A number of small business owners practice primitive account methods. If they have money in their checking account after the bills are paid, they consider that they are doing well. If cash is short, they might feel they have a problem. If the eventual embezzler finds themselves in a primitive accounting environment, ways to divert funds become easily apparent. 

Why Embezzlers Embezzle

An honest employee can find themselves on the wrong side of the law for many reasons:

  • A family member needs help.
  • Unexpected medical bills have occurred.
  • They have a gambling problem.
  • There is a drug issue.
  • They are over their head in credit card debt.
  • They are facing foreclosure.
  • They feel they are underpaid.

I Meant to Pay it Back

Many embezzlers feel that they are just borrowing money temporarily, and they fully expect to pay it back. They may create a fake vendor, enter a fake invoice into the system, and, in effect, write themselves a check. If it works once, the embezzler may try it again. If the scheme keeps working, the embezzler may get more creative and add more fake vendors with bigger invoices. The payback option then fades, and the embezzlement continues.

Potential Legal Woes When Working Together with Others

When times are tough or an unexpected expense arises, taking a little bit off of the top here and there may seem innocuous. And, an employee may not be alone in this thinking. 

If more than one employee has an agreement to act together to commit an act of embezzlement, then it is important to note that this could be charged as a conspiracy to embezzle. Punishment under Illinois Statutes depends on how the conspiracy crime is classified. Many years behind bars and costly fines could result in a guilty conviction.

Get Legal Help

Bad things can happen to good people, and good people can commit illegal acts. If you have engaged in any criminal activity and are worried about the consequences, do not hesitate to seek qualified legal help. If you need representation for a criminal charge in Cook County, Glasgow & Olsson is uniquely qualified to help. When you need an attorney, experience matters, contact Glasgow & Olsson today to learn how the firm’s experience can get you the results you deserve.