Executives today would be lost without their trusted assistants who help them manage their lives and stay organized and on track. While most assistants have the best interest of their boss and company in mind, there is a growing epidemic of the bad assistant. A bad assistant has exceptional skills and work ethic yet begins committing fraud or stealing by using the power of his or her position to access a few seemingly unnoticeable bonuses or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In most cases, the bad assistant is known as a model worker who has developed a trusted relationship with their boss and is often regarded as a friend to others in the office.

Someone with any of the following things is a potential source of extreme undercover damage:

  • Company credit cards
  • Passwords
  • Ability to write checks or create purchase orders
  • Authority to request and make payments to outside vendors
  • Authority to approve her own timecard

How could your most trusted employee even imagine secretly turning against you by stealing from you? The beginning of the fraud or stealing usually starts with a difficult life change – a divorce or a child custody dispute.  Sometimes, the straw that breaks the camel’s back could be no longer having the ability to keep his or her kids in private school or not having the extra money to go on an annual summer vacation.  The first thefts, normally small (inflated hours on her time card, a lunch with the company’s money) are often rationalized by thoughts that he or she has been underpaid.  Confident that his or her tracks are too small to be noticed, he or she becomes less guilty and more comfortable with the idea committing fraud or stealing.

With all schemes of this kind, the web eventually begins to untangle. Either the bad assistant happens to leave a forged credit card receipt under his or her desk or a trail of checks lacking supporting documents comes into question.  After a long, drawn-out time, the scheme normally finds its way out into the open, but often not before the business has been badly harmed.

After the shock wears off, an undercover investigation has now become essential to helping the management assess the extent of the damage.

In the next post, our Dallas private investigator team will address the undercover investigation process and some preventative measures to avoid getting to the place of such a devastating surprise.

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