Employee thefts can lead to financial problems for businesses

Even in a tough economy, good employees can be hard to find.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates three out of four workers steal from their employers.

Gone undetected, this can lead to financial hardship or bankruptcy.

Howard Kalina knows owning a business can be taxing, especially when you find out your employees are stealing from right under your nose.

"How could we be so dumb," Kalina says. "How did we miss that?"

Kalina and his wife, Michelle, had a gut instinct something wasn't right with the finances at their auto dealership.

After doing some digging, they discovered their trusted bookkeeper of nine years was a thief. She embezzled nearly $200,000.

"We basically unfolded a scheme where she had been stealing for years and years," Kalina says. "An enormous amount of money, complex bookkeeping, writing checks to herself, stealing automobiles."

The couple reported it to local police. They referred the case to U.S. Postal Inspectors. The employee was convicted on mail fraud charges and ordered to repay the money she stole.

"We always have to prove our cases," says U.S. Postal Inspector. "We follow the money. We subpoena the bank records of the suspect, we analyze those documents."

Kalina recouped the losses thanks to an insurance policy they'd taken out to protect against employee dishonesty.

"You can't trust anyone, no matter how long they work for you," Kalina says.

Postal Inspectors suggest having more than one person involved and aware of all financial transactions.

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