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Paint Contractor Hires Career Embezzler

This office manager was suspiciously happy to work evenings … likely so she could steal with nobody watching.

13 October, 2021

Office Manager Embezzles


An Everett, Massachusetts painting contractor thought he found the perfect office manager: willing to work overtime, putting family first, bringing in home-baked brownies, always pleasant and helpful. Turns out she used those extra hours to embezzle over $100,000 in two years.

She started small, swiping $25 here and there, but by the time the business owner noticed the discrepancies, she was making off with over $1,000 at a time.

Her previous criminal records were sealed by a judge as a result of an act designed to help people get a fresh start after they’d served their time, so the contractor wasn’t aware that the nice woman he hired had done this exact thing before, when she made off with over a million dollars from her previous employer. In that instance, she told people she inherited a goodly sum of money from her mother, who in fact, it was discovered, was very much alive. Before that, she was implicated in an embezzlement scheme from an area nursing home.
 

Cooking the Books


A look at the cooked books

When the manager took time off for some personal matters, the contractor discovered some flimflam with the books; she had managed to pay herself $70,000 extra in salary, claim reimbursement for items she didn’t purchase, and forge checks in the business owner’s name. The painting company unwittingly paid for her cable TV, internet, and a Highlander SUV.

The contractor, who hired her through a mutual friend, said he had no reason to suspect her of having a criminal record. Due to her case being sealed, even a background search might not have revealed the previous conviction. In fact, it was at the office manager’s urging that the contractor did some background checks on other employees, in that case saving himself from some potential difficulties.

The contractor acknowledges that had he not caught this in time, he could have been put out of business. While he doesn’t expect to get his money returned, he’s going ahead with pressing charges to save others from making this same hiring mistake. The manager has pleaded not guilty, just like the time before.

As we say here at APC: trust … but verify.
 

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