Do you ever wonder what motivates people to steal from their employers?
Some thefts could be relatively minor like office supplies or snacks from the lunch room. The thief could have just needed the item because they didn’t have one at home and decided the company has enough that one or two going missing will never be noticed.
Some employees steal time. If an employee is goofing off instead of getting their work done, then that’s going to piss off the rest of the staff.
AND THEN THERE’S MONEY
Some companies do a lot of cash business leaving them at risk for staff with sticky fingers.
Other times, a staff member has check writing privileges and goes hog wild writing checks.
Most companies have a limited amount of funds available, either in the cash register or bank account. A thief is eventually going to run out of money to steal.
It seems if someone is planning to be an embezzler and wants to steal lots of money, working for a bank or credit union would be a good choice. There’s a lot of money in customer accounts, not to mention the bank’s operating accounts. It’s probably easy enough for an employee to open bogus bank accounts and transfer money around them. Keep bouncing that money around from one account to another.
Could take awhile to get caught.
WHY DO PEOPLE STEAL?
I’m no psychologist or criminologist and haven’t studied cases of why people steal and embezzle funds. But I can come up with a few scenarios from a layman’s point of view on why people steal.
- They need the money. They don’t earn enough to provide the basics for their family.
- Greed. They want stuff. A car, a house, a luxury vacation.
- Exploited the system. The employee had inside knowledge on how to circumnavigate procedures.
- Rationalizing. Overworked and underpaid – the boss owes me this.
- Addiction. They could be a drug addict, alcoholic, gambler, or shopper.
- Opportunity. They were put in charge of the money.
- Debt. They’ve taken on too much debt and need to dig themselves out.
- Living beyond their means. They keep up with the Joneses and the Kardashians and have an image to maintain.
- Revenge. The employer is not treating them fairly, passing them over for promotions, or being mean. It’s payback time!
WHO ARE EMBEZZLERS?
Most of the time embezzlers have no criminal past and are described as good, honest people. They’re likely long-term, trusted employees.
The majority of embezzlers are women.
Does this mean women are more devious and plan these things out better than men?
Are the crimes of embezzlement due to financial hardship, opportunity, or rationalization? That mean old boss doesn’t pay me enough money!
Many times the theft takes place over a long period of time – years. The embezzler starts out small, say twenty bucks and waits to see what happens. No one notices the missing amount, so as time goes on they start stealing larger sums of money and perhaps with more frequency. A lot of employee theft goes unnoticed.
Sometimes, especially in the case of addictions, the employee rationalizes their decision with the intention to repay the money. Until they’ve dug a hole so deep it becomes impossible.
BANK STAFF WHO GOT CAUGHT
Today’s post is about Canadian banks who’ve reported staff embezzlers.
This is the interesting part. Not every bank reports the crime or even presses charges. They don’t want to ruin their reputation and have customers lose faith in them and take their business elsewhere.
I’m sure the banks would like the money repaid. Good luck, especially if it went up somebody’s nose. Most of the time banks just want to get the employee out the door.
Banks have insurance to cover these kinds of losses. Usually about a ten percent deductible, but they’ll be able to recover a good chunk of the embezzled funds from the insurance company. In most cases it’s unlikely the bank or insurer can recover any funds from the employee.
Banks are just as guilty as their staff embezzlers for allowing huge sums of money to just walk out. What about internal audits? What about hiring an outside auditor to do a forensic audit to look for missing money? Annual audits would be a better plan than crossing their fingers.
I used to bank at TD Canada Trust until I became a victim of a rogue employee. She didn’t steal money – at least not from me – she was just going around messing up client’s accounts.
A former manager of a TD Bank in Ontario embezzled $819,000 and was sentenced to four years in jail. The prosecutor asked for two years, but the judge doubled the sentence, probably because this embezzler opened up phony bank accounts and loans under the names of real people. His dishonesty could have implicated others.
Here’s a TD Bank employee in New Jersey who embezzled over $600,000 to make a better life for herself – cars, vacations, etc. She was sentenced to 33 months in prison.
A former teller at TD Bank in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island embezzled $251,000 and was sentenced to 6 months in jail. He was trying to make a better life for himself and one of his purchases included a 2018 Audi worth $84,000.
A woman from Hinton, Alberta who embezzled over one million dollars from RBC was sentenced to three years in jail. No reports on motivation like an addiction or living a more luxurious life.
BMO (BANK OF MONTREAL)
A former teller at the Bank of Montreal in Ottawa was charged with stealing over $320,000 in an elaborate takeover scheme that included accomplices in other provinces. The teller’s motivation, other than greed, is unknown. It’s also unknown if the teller was sentenced, charges dropped, or it’s still before the courts. Remember, banks prefer to keep these things quiet.
A former BMO financial services director in Montreal was charged with embezzling over $9 million dollars. He stole the money over eight years to enhance his lifestyle with cars and real estate. Way to go to with your internal auditing BMO! He moved back to Lebanon in 2012 and a year later BMO pressed charges. Proving that criminals can be dumb, he came back to Quebec in 2017 and was arrested. There’s either been no sentencing or it’s still before the courts because I can’t find updates.
A former manager at a Vancouver branch of the Bank of Montreal embezzled $1.6 million over a period of five years. Apparently internal auditing is a non-event at BMO making staff embezzlement easy! This woman was apparently suffering from a major depression disorder and became a compulsive gambler. Her remaining assets of about $100,000 were seized and she was sentenced to three years in jail.
This is an odd one that took place at a Scotiabank in Vancouver. Now you see it, now you don’t. $17,000 went missing from a woman’s account and a month later, it was mysteriously returned. Scotiabank offers no explanation. More that likely the embezzler figured out they were about to be caught and put the money back. Either that or martians!
Let’s head down to Mexico where this Canadian bank has branches. A Scotiabank manager in Mexico was murdered and $14 million dollars was missing. Sixteen employees were found to be involved, but were never charged, just fired. One executive was charged and sentenced to 15 years in jail.
Despite several searches, I was only able to come across two credit unions with embezzlers on staff. That could just mean I didn’t thoroughly search the over 200 credit unions in Canada. Or more than likely the credit unions keep quiet about staff embezzlement.
A manager at the Bayshore Credit Union in Belleville, Ontario embezzled over $1.6 million dollars during four years to benefit herself and two others. It’s been winding its way through the court system for years, though at a preliminary hearing a judge noted no bad behavior. It appears the woman was just living a high lifestyle.
A manager at Envision Credit Union in Langley, BC was convicted of embezzling $537,267 between 2006 and 2008 and sentenced to two years house arrest. The stolen money was used for a gambling addiction and not to enhance her lifestyle. A former Envision employee told me that over one million dollars was missing from internal operating accounts but they only had two weeks to collect evidence they could prove. That’s how they came up with the $537,267 amount.
That former staff’s opinion was that the finance department’s manager and vice president should have both been fired for letting this happen on their watch. Instead, one of them received a family vacation to Disneyland as a reward, creating animosity because other staff had done the actual work to uncover the embezzlement.
If you’re thinking about becoming an embezzler and looking for a bank to work at – definitely apply to CIBC! The granddaddy of staff embezzlers!
A Burford, Ontario woman stole one million dollars from CIBC and was sentenced to two years house arrest. It took four years for the geniuses at CIBC to do an audit and discover the theft! The woman had a gambling addiction and it appears all the monies went to the addiction and not spent enhancing her lifestyle.
Now here’s a really good one. A former CIBC account manager who stole a million dollars was later convicted of murdering her husband! Yup CIBC can sure pick their staff! Ha ha! Very low standards to get a job here! One million dollars was embezzled beginning in 1992 and she signed a full confession in 1996 and was let go from her job. But nothing happens to her. She just goes on about her life and hires a hit man to kill her husband in 2001. Before her bail hearing, CIBC decides to finally press fraud charges against her. Yup CIBC has a bunch of slow-moving geniuses on staff!
A woman who worked for CIBC embezzled over $200,000 over a five year period. She was arrested and charged after she retired, but there are no follow ups to any court proceedings.
CIBC EMBEZZLERS WHO TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN
An Albertan woman who was employed by CIBC used her access to credit card applications to commit fraud. I can’t find out how much money she stole. CIBC is keeping that one really hush-hush. There’s not much information to be found online other than she was last seen boarding a plane for England. She’s gone. In the wind.
A woman who worked for CIBC in Toronto stole $205,849.96 mostly from withdrawing money from the bank accounts of seniors. She was smart enough to get out of Canada and went to the Philippines, but then the dumb ass came back to Toronto where she turned herself in!
A man who worked as a financial services rep for CIBC in Newmarket, Ontario embezzled two million dollars between 2007 and 2008 and hasn’t been seen since.
CIBC HAS THE MOST FAMOUS EMBEZZLER
The honor for the best known bank embezzler goes to CIBC. The CIBC loans officer embezzled over $10 million dollars and gambled it all away. He didn’t do anything to enhance his lifestyle, but he lived the high life on weekends when Caesar’s in Atlantic City sent a private jet to pick up this high roller. He got limousines and luxury suites thanks to all the money he dropped there.
The police had been monitoring him as part of a bookmaking ring and arrested him. The cops suggested to the clueless CIBC that they might want to look a little closer at this guy and where he’s getting his cash from. CIBC had no idea they were funding their employee’s gambling vacations.
There was even a movie made about this gambler/embezzler making him CIBC’s most famous employee.
Canada’s most famous bank embezzler was sentenced to six years in jail and released after two.
WHY HANG AROUND?
The one thing I can’t figure out with most of the bank staff who embezzled money is – why are you still here?
It seems to me that if you’ve stolen a million, or even half a million, the best plan is to get out of Dodge!
Fly to Brazil or somewhere else with no extradition treaty and have a nice life. That money would go a long way in some parts of the world.
Yet, so many embezzlers stick around.
Is it smugness? They’ve gotten away with it for so long that if the bank hasn’t figured it out by now then they never will.
Do they think they’re too smart to get caught?
Do they just really like living in Canada?
Embezzlers don’t need to be in too big a hurry because in most cases it takes the financial institution years to figure out that money is missing.
What you’ll discover at the manager/executive level is arrogance, denial, finger pointing, and lack of culpability. At what dollar amount should management sit up and take notice that there might be an embezzler on staff? Conceivably, people who work in banks should be good at handling money. Yet, they can’t keep track of money mysteriously disappearing.
Are these the type of financial institutions where you want to keep your money? If they can’t manage their own money, what does that say about how they’ll manage YOUR money?
Anyway, embezzling is a fascinating topic.
Is it a rush for the bank employee to steal money?
Are they constantly in panic mode wondering if today is the day they’re going to get caught?
What do you think? Have you ever been a victim of an embezzler? How do you feel about keeping your money at financial institutions who have a problem with staff embezzlers?
Posted on February 4, 2021