How Does Someone Embezzle Money

Embezzlement is the theft or misappropriation of funds or property entrusted to someone’s care. In embezzlement, an individual in a position of trust or responsibility intentionally diverts assets for personal gain. They may manipulate financial records, forge documents, or use their authority to approve fraudulent transactions. The embezzler conceals their actions to avoid detection and often takes advantage of weaknesses in internal controls or lack of oversight. By exploiting vulnerabilities, they can siphon off funds without immediate notice, making the scheme difficult to uncover.

Common Embezzlement Schemes

Embezzlement, the fraudulent misappropriation of funds, comes in various forms, with perpetrators devising creative ways to steal from their employers. Here are some prevalent embezzlement schemes:

  • Check Tampering: Creating fake checks, forging signatures, or altering amounts on legitimate checks to steal funds.
  • Billing Fraud: Submitting inflated invoices or billing for services not rendered, often involving collusion with vendors or clients.
  • Payroll Fraud: Creating ghost employees, padding employee hours, or manipulating payroll systems to divert funds to personal accounts.
  • Expense Reimbursement: Exaggerating or fabricating business expenses to claim personal reimbursements.
  • Cash Larceny: Stealing cash directly from registers, safes, or during transactions.
  • Asset Misappropriation: Selling or disposing of company assets, such as equipment or inventory, for personal gain.


Red Flags of Embezzlement Activity

Embezzlement is a serious crime that can have devastating financial consequences for businesses and individuals. It is important to be aware of the red flags of embezzlement activity so that you can take steps to protect yourself and your assets.

Warning Signs

  • Unauthorized withdrawals from bank accounts
  • Missing or altered financial records
  • Unexplained changes in lifestyle or spending habits
  • Employees who are reluctant to take vacations or time off
  • Employees who are evasive or defensive when asked about financial matters

Preventative Measures

There are a number of steps that you can take to help prevent embezzlement, including:

  • Implementing strong internal controls
  • Segregating duties
  • Performing regular audits
  • Educating employees about the risks of embezzlement

Reporting Suspected Embezzlement

If you suspect that embezzlement is occurring, it is important to report it to the authorities immediately. You can do this by contacting your local police department or the FBI.

Type of EmbezzlementMethodRed Flags
Check TamperingAltering or forging checks to steal moneyMissing or altered checks, unauthorized withdrawals from bank accounts
Wire Transfer FraudInitiating unauthorized wire transfers to steal moneyLarge or unusual wire transfers, missing or altered wire transfer records
Credit Card FraudUsing stolen or unauthorized credit cards to make purchasesUnexplained charges on credit card statements, missing or altered credit card receipts
Expense Reimbursement FraudSubmitting false or inflated expense reports to steal moneyMissing or altered expense reports, large or unusual expenses, lack of supporting documentation
Payroll FraudAltering payroll records or stealing employee wagesMissing or altered payroll records, unauthorized payroll deductions, employees with unexplained changes in income

Methods of Embezzlement

Embezzlement, a form of theft, involves misappropriating funds or property entrusted to you. Perpetrators often exploit their positions of trust to siphon off money or assets for personal gain.

Embezzlement schemes can take many forms, including:

  • Creating fictitious invoices or receipts to claim reimbursement for expenses that were never incurred.
  • Unauthorized transfers of funds from company accounts to personal accounts.
  • Altering financial records to conceal missing funds or assets.
  • Issuing checks to fictitious companies or individuals.
  • Stealing cash or inventory directly from the business.

Consequences of Embezzlement

Embezzlement is a serious crime with severe consequences for both the perpetrator and the victim. Here are some potential outcomes:

  • Criminal Charges: Embezzlement is typically a felony offense, punishable by imprisonment, fines, and restitution.
  • Financial Loss: Embezzlement can cause significant financial losses for the victim, potentially leading to business failure.
  • Loss of Trust: Embezzlement erodes trust within organizations and communities, damaging relationships and reputations.
  • Employment Termination: Individuals convicted of embezzlement often lose their jobs and face difficulty finding future employment.
  • Civil Lawsuits: Victims of embezzlement may file civil lawsuits to recover damages and seek compensation for losses.
Examples of Embezzlement Schemes
Fictitious InvoicesCreating fake invoices for goods or services not receivedInflated expenses, loss of funds
Unauthorized TransfersMoving funds from company accounts to personal accounts without authorizationDirect loss of funds
Check ForgeryIssuing checks to fictitious individuals or companiesTheft of funds, fraud
Inventory TheftStealing physical assets from the businessLoss of inventory, disruption of operations