White Collar Crime
White collar crime – insidious and often invisible until it’s too late.
Indicators of crime include overdraft limits being reached for no apparent reason, creditors complaining that they haven’t been paid – in an environment of solid sales and no bad debts. And in addition to having to deal with the theft, management may be looking at issues such as solvency, withdrawal of credit terms and damage to the reputation of the business.
Once a theft is discovered, steps to shut down the thief must be taken quickly and decisively – and within the law. There are many traps should proper processes and procedures not be followed. Employees cannot simply be dismissed. Directors generally cannot just be removed. Privacy rights cannot be abused. Forensic accountants may be needed to determine the true extent of the theft.
Questions such as
- What company policies and procedures apply to allow access to personal information?
- What employee emails can be looked at? Does the theft have to be reported to police?
- What are the duties of the directors in these circumstances?
- What evidence of theft exists?
will also arise.
The truth is that is is impossible to guarantee that white collar crime will not occur. To reduce the risk of it happening in your company vigilance and the use and enforcement of robust policies and procedures are your best tools.
If you think that there is crime in your business, getting professional advice early is critical. Jankus Legal has dealt with several instances of white collar crime and will be able to assist. For additional information, see article White Collar Crime (March 2019).