The Crook in Your Business

There are businesses in Southern California that are going down the tubes not because they can’t generate the business they need to make a profit but because there is a trusted crook inside the business.

I have personally looked into three different types of small businesses that were doing extremely well but were sucked dry by a trusted employee.

In one case the General Manager of the business, who posed as the owner, took so much cash out of the business for his high life style that the highly profitable business almost went broke. He and is family member employees were all fired and the business is now starting to recover.

In another case a general manager was writing himself checks to fake companies. This person had been in prison for this same type of crime before he took this job. But he told the new owner he took the wrap for the other company owner. Sure he did! Well he did it again to this small very profitable company. He was fired, and now this company is trying to get back on its feet. Other employees at the company could lose their jobs because of the crook.

This just keeps happening. This time the company was in the construction business and had more jobs than they had subs to do the work. There was a waiting list of customers. An inside trusted employee started helping himself to the money that should have been going to the sub-contractors. Another employee on the inside protected him, so it took sometime to realize that the money was being sucked off.

When subs would call about not being paid the other inside crook would take the calls and never pass on the information the owners. The two crooks were both fired. The company is now facing bankruptcy and they have lost their profitable jobs. That means many other jobs have been lost. I am told the “big” crook ran off to Mexico with the money.

In all of these cases the crooks were not prosecuted. They walked away with the money leaving the business owners holding a empty bag. The bills were not paid. Employee jobs were lost and in some cases customers lost money on jobs that were never done, but paid for in advance.

Here are tips for protecting your small business. Even if you are not the owner you want to make sure the business is protected because it’s YOUR job and the support of YOUR family.
1) Have an outside annual audit each year.
2) Hire an outside independent company to keep the books each month.
3) Always look at all of the out-going checks, or at least a sampling of the checks.
4) Always do a background check on all employees.

We must protect our small businesses because they are the bases for the U.S. economy.

Filed March 2004