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Business Identity Theft Beware of Identity Thieving Employees

Wow, a lawyer in Memphis got scammed by his secretary—she embezzled over $362,000 from him, says an article on wreg.com. Attorney Jerry Schatz hired Teresa Sumpter, 48, in July of 2013.

Little did he know that his assistant would end up stealing checks from his trust account, forging her signature on them, and opening three credit cards—all in his name. And she named herself as an authorized user.

And what did this conniving little pill do with the stolen money? Sumpter bought several vehicles, paid some bills and purchased some miscellaneous things.

After her arrest she was charged with six counts of identity theft, two counts of forgery and two counts of theft of property.

So you see, the “bad guy” is sometimes a woman. It happens more often than you think, too. An article at sacbee.com tells the case of Natashia Adams Lugo, 31, whose dirty deeds of identity theft got her a sentence of almost 15 years in a state prison.

Lugo had been employed by Job Journal LLC. Then she was fired. So she decided to get some revenge by using her former employer’s bank checking and routing numbers to polish off $40,000 of personal debt. How could she not have known that her criminal act would easily be traced back to her?

Lugo also stole $17,200 from the Job Journal’s bank account to fund her child support account. Once again, the question blares: How could she have been dumb enough to commit a crime so traceable back to her? Some times these criminals aren’t so savvy, other times they are. Regardless, the employers usually never see the money again.

Prior to the Job Journal employment, Lugo had worked for Balanced Body, which fired her. You guessed it: After being fired, she used the company’s personal identifying information, as well as that from some of its patrons, to steal over $11,000.

Businesses need to beware of firing employees. But the logistics of protecting themselves from these kinds of crimes can be enormous. Big companies can’t close out their bank accounts and open new bank accounts every time someone is fired. Maybe small companies can, that hardly ever fire anyone, but the bottom line is that businesses just have to keep their fingers crossed whenever they give someone the pink slip.

The big thing is to hire forensics accountants to look at your books, frequently. Especially in family owned businesses. Sad, but true.

 

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