Tag Archives: embezzlement
I was interviewed this last week by Kyle Iboshi, investigative reporter, for KGW News. Here is the link:
The word is getting out.
Last week I posted about a mom who stole from a bank. I was even so bold to say that I thought due to the headline “Mom, daughter, sister, wife & grandma” it would get a lot of clicks. I was wrong. I have been thinking about why the story did not get as much attention as my other stories about pink collar crime. It may be déjà vu to the time that Dr. Freda Adler wrote Sisters in Crime. As you may remember, Dr. Adler wrote Sisters in Crime in 1975 during the time of women’s liberation. She had over 300 media events including the Tonight Show and being interviewed by Barbara Walters. But all she got was pushback from people stating she was taking away from women advancing in the workplace. She even told me on the phone that if she knew how much grief she got she may never have written the book. Her thesis was that women would be incarcerated in greater numbers due to more women being in the workplace.
I tweet regularly about #pinkcollarcrime. There are amazing news articles daily (thanks to Google alerts) about women stealing in the workplace. However, deep down I am starting to think that people don’t want to hear about nice women breaking rules and stealing.
Like Dr. Adler in no uncertain terms do I want to take away from women and their gains in the workplace. What I want to do is to educate business owners and managers about the potential of pink collar crime. With more and more women in the workplace and with an increasing number of women being the primary breadwinners pink collar crime will increase just due to the numbers.
Recently I was asked if I was “picking” on women. My answer was an unequivocal no. But if a man were doing “Catch Her If You Can-Today’s Pink Collar Criminal he may have a more difficult time than myself. I have touched the glass ceiling, my daughter is a staunch activist (even though she still is in high school) and my family has always supported my passion for work.
There is no honesty chromosome that women possess. That is what Dr. Adler brought up over 40 years ago. I will keep drawing attention to pink collar crime and as Dr. Adler told me someday there just might be a Bernice Madoff.
The USA Today recently had this headline “Mom sentenced to nearly 7 years” http://usat.ly/2eFKwAL
Why did they lead with this headline? Because it sells. No one wants to admit it but there is curiosity about a Mom who steals. My headline most likely will be clicked through many times this week due to that. But that is why I call Pink Collar Crime the relatable crime. Most everyone knows someone who either has been victimized by a pink collar criminal or they are aware of a pink collar criminal story in their community-think little league embezzlement or town clerk embezzlement . Most people don’t relate to a violent offender because hopefully you have not been a victim or know someone who has been a victim.
These women aren’t scary. They look like regular moms, sisters, wives or daughters. They are the ones who are working a job in a medical office, small business, municipal government or possibly volunteering at a nonprofit such as a sports club or school club.
As I have been tweeting and posting, this is a growing demographic. Women are in the workplace in record numbers and it looks to stay that way. The world has changed. These women are all in some form or another a mom, daughter, sister, wife or grandma. When you see a story like that what are your initial thoughts?
Just look at women incarceration rates provided by the Prison Policy Initiative from 1910-2014 https://www.prisonpolicy.org/global/women/ Dr. Freda Adler was spot on.
I recently was at a holiday party with a diverse group of people. The one thing they all had in common was Pink Collar Crime. It is the relatable crime. Every group at the party had either been personally embezzled in their business or knew someone directly who had been embezzled. It is like the dirty little secret in business. Also, it is like Kevin Bacon’s 6 degrees of separation but actually in pink collar crime only one degree.
No one wants to admit they have been stolen from. No one wants to admit they were duped daily for sometimes years by their most trusted employee. It hurts. From Jean Le Carre: “The capacity to love is proportionate to the capacity to be betrayed.” I read this in articles about people who have been stolen from. The people who stole often are like family members. They know their target inside and out and often use that to their advantage.
When people find out what I do they start speaking quietly to me. “I want to tell you what happened to me…” and they pour their hearts out to me. From Betrayal (written by Jed Block on the Goodwill NCW $500k theft) “On a personal level, I felt shame, embarrassment and anger. I also experienced a profound sense of loss of innocence and a challenge to my fundamental capacity to trust. Before the embezzlement was discovered, I was an ardent fan of the employee who committed the fraud against us.”
That is the hardest part of my job. I want to restore their trust but they need to understand trust is not an internal control.
You can trust your employees with many things but be very careful when you are trusting them with your finances.
Bonnie Brannock Davis was a longtime volunteer for the Giles County Lifesaving and Rescue Squad. She also had a good paying, $120k per year, job at The Chemical Lime Company in Ripplemead until she was laid off.
She just was sentenced to two months in jail for a $65k theft from the Giles County Lifesaving and Rescue Squad. She was facing up to 100 years. She had no previous criminal history and had volunteered decades as a medic for Giles County Lifesaving and Rescue Squad.
She apologized over and over to the Giles County Lifesaving and Rescue Squad, which she called “the love of my life,” and to her family and the community at large.
Davis repaid the $65k to the non-profit. She stated that she made “anonymous” donations to repay over time. Davis told investigators that she had tried to repay the rescue squad by making anonymous donations. That is what many embezzlers do not understand. It is easier to steal money but much harder to replace the stolen funds. They may have intentions to repay but the mechanics of it are much more difficult to do. However, she did make 2 payments before sentencing to cover the $65k theft.
There was no “extravagant” spending on Davis’ part according to her attorney. I’ve seen this before. They start stealing because of a pressure and it snowballs. In this case Davis was a lifetime member of the non-profit.
People like Davis don’t wake up in the morning and say they are going to steal but at some point something triggers it. In Davis’ case the loss of a good paying job was most likely the trigger.
Davis is on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/bonnie-davis-7b57b76 and from her information was a Deputy a long time ago. After she was let go it appears she started her own business which it seems did not replace her salary.
You just never know. Pay attention to your volunteers and their situations.