What Embezzlement, a Hurricane and the Financial Crash Taught Me About Business
Written for EO by Tom Connell, president of Venetian Blind and Floor Covering Shop, Ltd
My controller closed the door behind him as he walked into my office. That usually meant he needed to talk confidentially to me about an employee or financial matter. This time he came with bad news. One of his clerks was not coming into work and, despite calls to her home and cell phone, she was nowhere to be found. He needed to talk to her about some postings that didn’t add up.
His fears were confirmed later by a forensic accountant we hired to get to the bottom of it. We had a thief—embezzlement to the tune of US$6 million. How could this happen? We were experiencing our fourth straight year of record sales and profits. Revenues were pushing US$50 million and our FTE count was north of 200. Everything seemed to be going great. But those profits? They didn’t exist.