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Don’t Wait – Investigate

Porsche Panamera

I can't remember who gave me this car!

From the Unbelievable file comes a laughable story of the short memory of the North Miami Mayor Andre Pierre about exactly who loaned him a Porsche reported in the Miami Herald.

But not so laughable is the story about a former buyer for The Home Depot sentenced to 2 years 3 months in prison for accepting kickbacks.

Other than fueling some much needed laughing these stories inspired me to remind you that its a good time to take note of situations in your company that just don’t seem, feel, or look right, and to carefully dig into them. Get some help from your friendly local prosecutor’s office.This comes on the heels with conversations I’ve had recently with a client who got a call from their credit card processor about some unusual returns. It seems that one credit card was used for two returns on the same day, one of them very sizable – over $1500. While the owner dug into their POS to find out what was going on they noticed that two large iron urns that were returned were nowhere in sight. Their investigation continued…

In the mean time the credit card processor discovered a total of 11 returns made to the same credit card in that same week. In the end there were several more credit cards involved and returns of over $45,000.00 since April, 2010. Of course as a result of suspicion the police were summoned and the prosecutor continued the investigation.

The culprit, one of the most liked employees was arrested and then confessed to the stealing to support an addiction to illegally obtained Oxycontin. Unfortunately, the company’s business insurance didn’t cover this loss. It comes straight from the bottom line, in a year where no company can afford to absorb that kind of loss. The good news might be that the stealing was stopped before it became worse, and someone is getting treatment for an addiction.

Theft and fraud from employees, vendors, contractors, suppliers, co-owners, etc. is at an all time high. This is not the first large loss I’ve heard of this year. If something smells fishy there is probably a reason.

Don’t Wait, Investigate.

If you’ve been a victim of theft please leave a comment below so others will know what to look for if they’ve got a similar situation going on.

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2 Responses

  1. This is a bad to good story. Today, you cannot buy a pop for a Home Depot buyer. This is all good for Depot and their suppliers. It has leveled the playing field for all of us. Home Depot is leading the way in garden retail profits in this economy.

  2. Vendors can be very expensive friends indeed. Our industry is a friendly industry but often to our own detriment. While we should be friendly, we should also be objective which begins with honesty and transparency when it comes to our motives for choosing a vendor. I was in a meeting today where a retailer was bragging about a Caribbean vacation she and her husband took paid for by their local TV station. Do you think they might be able to save as much or more money than the vacation cost? I’ve had other owners tell me they went to trade/distributor shows when money was tight to get the spiff cash when they placed orders that were larger than they needed, and for products they didn’t really need. The excess cost of perks like these come straight from the bottom line, but on the way they drive up costs of doing business and prices. At some point the owner and consumer will not be willing to pay for those excesses. The trail of money (and other perks) can be a bloody one.

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