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How to Report Embezzlement

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How to Report Embezzlement. As an employee of a business or corporation, you have a moral responsibility to report any embezzlement that comes to your attention. Here's how to do it.

Know What Constitutes Embezzlement

A relationship of trust needs to be established between the suspected embezzler and the company or organization.

For embezzlement to occur, the person must have access to the property because of the nature of his or her job.

The fraudulent activity must be intentional. An accidental unbalanced cash register at the end of the night does not constitute embezzlement.

Understand Your Options to Report Embezzlement Anonymously

Investigate established guidelines for reporting crime or misconduct. Check for handbooks or other resources your company may have that offer a policy for reporting questionable activities.

Know the chain of command. The position of the person you suspect of embezzlement may determine who you need to inform. Know who supervises the person you suspect and only inform the necessary individuals.

Inform legal counsel of your suspicions. If your company or business retains a lawyer or attorney, you may want to contact him or her about your concerns. Depending on your position in the company, you may be able to inform the lawyer of your suspicions openly and maintain anonymity because of attorney-client privilege.

Consider allowing other people to discover your suspicions on their own. Order an audit or bring evidence to someone else's attention so that you are still fulfilling your moral obligation but doing so anonymously.

You may be asked to testify in court if the embezzlement case goes to trial. You can find information on witness's rights at the U.S. Department of Justice Web site (see Resources below).

Tip

Accusing someone of embezzlement can result in a lawsuit against you for defamation. Be sure that you discreetly inform an appropriate individual (such as a human resources representative) of your suspicion, and don't circulate accusations around the office. If you are called as a witness in a federal embezzlement trial, you have the right to receive compensation, or a witness's fee, for the time you are required to spend in court.

Warning

Embezzlement cases can go to trial in both criminal and civil courts, and your anonymous tip may result in jail time or financial penalties for the accused.