Many temptations present themselves at the workplace. Sometimes after years of faithful employment, an employee falls into the temptation of embezzlement. Embezzlement is when an employee takes money or items from their employer without right or permission. In Pennsylvania, embezzlement is prosecuted as theft.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, annual losses to “white collar” crimes are between $426 billion to $1.7 trillion. Who are these people? Embezzlers can be found in all occupations and industries, from a clerk to a CEO. The reasons why employees fall into the temptation to embezzle can often fit into three categories:
Prompted by pressure
Having personal financial difficulty can often prompt employees to embezzle. Mounting bills, mailboxes full of eviction, repossession, and overdue notices can add an intense amount of pressure. Sometimes a recent diagnosis of the employee or their loved ones can cause people to do things that they wouldn’t normally do. The reasons are endless, but abnormal circumstances can lead to abnormal behavior.
Prompted by opportunity
To commit theft, it is required to have access. Embezzlers are not usually the type to commit armed robbery. However, employees and professionals often have access to money and company resources.
Prompted by rationalization
It is common to rationalize or justify embezzlement. Maybe a worker feels underpaid, overworked, and under-appreciated. Maybe the employee knows that the employer isn’t ethical or is involved in illegal activities. Some embezzlers are suffering from mental illness or compulsions to take things that do not belong to them. Some employees are battling drug and alcohol abuse and/or gambling addictions. The possibilities are endless for the human mind to justify wrong actions.
Sometimes embezzlement starts with taking small items and escalates over time. If the problem is caught in time, there can be strategies to make things right that don’t involve criminal charges. To discuss your rights and options, it is advisable to consult with Pennsylvania legal counsel that is experienced in non-violent crimes.