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HR Magazine, October 2003 - Cover Story

By Robert J.Grossman  10/1/2003
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HR Magazine, October 2003Vol. 48, No. 10

The Five-Finger Bonus

Who Are These Guys?

Embezzlers don't fall into neatly defined profiles, according to occupational fraud expert Martin Beigelman, certified fraud examiner (CFE). "Male, female, young, minority or not-under the right circumstances, anyone can, and will, do it."

An embezzler may start out small and plan to steal just once, but it's rarely a one-time deal. Embezzlers begin slowly, testing the waters. When they get away with it, they're emboldened.

Bradley J. Preber, CFE, director of litigation and valuation services for Meyners & Co. LLC in Albuquerque, N.M., estimates that about half of the 100 cases he's investigated were committed by repeat offenders.

"Though someone says they'll quit after they pay off their debts, they never do," says David Wells, CFE, manager of the Litigation Services Group at Plante and Moran PLLC in Southfield, Mich. "It fuels their new lifestyle, then they get sloppier and sloppier and eventually get caught."

Embezzlers are opportunists. They don't just embezzle; any scheme that will line their pockets is fair game. "Today's embezzler is tomorrow's money launderer," observes William Jennings, CFE, principal at Kroll Inc. in Chicago.

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