Tag Archives: Municipal theft

Pink Collar Crime PSA Fraud Awareness Week

Recently I presented to a group of fire service administrators. This presentation was about fraud and embezzlement in fire districts. Of course, I had to include some #pinkcollarcrime stories because of the numbers of women stealing from fire districts.

A shout out to Curt Varone http://www.firelawblog.com/ for his help with these numbers. According to iWomen, there are 11,000 female career firefighters and 40,000 volunteers. From the NFPA there are roughly 1.2 million firefighters which translate to women making up roughly 4.25% of the fire service (51,000/1.2 mil). Curt has been keeping track of embezzlement cases in fire districts. Here are his results:

Insider Theft in the Volunteer service

Total cases: 360

Criminal – 188

Civil – 8

Administrative – 164 (disciplinary cases)


Women Involved – 53 (28.2%)

Married Couple – 11

Now, this is not complete but it gives a snapshot of the issue. Women are overrepresented in theft cases as compared to their numbers of employment within fire districts.

As I finish the presentation, a woman in the audience states she knows 5 women in her small community who are pink collar criminals. “I didn’t even realize I knew that many! I didn’t even know it’s a thing.” One of the stories I talk about she knows the family.

This is why I call #pinkcollarcrime the relatable crime. We know them. We work with them. Our kids go to school with their kids. We volunteer with them. These women are much like your friends, neighbors, co-workers. These women are not scary. They are not whom we think of as “bad guys.”

My job is to educate people about fraud. You have to be aware of the employee who may be your biggest threat. In many small businesses, it is she. Never underestimate the smarts, capabilities, and power of a woman.


Posted in Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Pink Collar Crime PSA Fraud Awareness Week

Equal Pay Day 2017

Equal Pay Day 2017 was yesterday, April 4, 2017.   All sorts of news stories have been posted, tweeted and blogged. As of now, it will take 169 years for parity in the work world.  But in the world of embezzlement and fraud I can tell you it is going to take even longer. Here are some statistics to get started.

Statistic #1-depending on the position, women have an even bigger glass ceiling. In 2016 women stole on average approximately .56 for every dollar stolen by a male.

Statistic #2-breaking it down by position and comparing male and female employees the women steal approximately .78 cents of a man. Comparing managers, the female managers steal approximately .84 cents. But the biggest variance is between owners and executives. This is where the men rule.  A woman will only steal, on average, .36 as compared to a man. Below is the link for the ACFE Report to the Nations 2016-see page 58 for gender:


So what does that say? Anecdotally I will say that women are in “lesser” positions than men on average and therefore have more supervision. If you are a male owner/executive you are going to rob the company blind.   As it has been detailed before, audits do not catch fraud generally speaking. But more positions that are held by women have some internal controls: two signature authorization, limits on purchase cards etc.

Not getting political but Trump has just pulled back the 2014 Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Act put in by Obama.  This is not going to help matters.

I just was in Philadelphia doing the closing keynote for the IIA Philadelphia.  I now have a survey card that I pass out to attendees.  Just through the initial assessment I will tell you that tips and alert lines are how many people get caught.  That has also been my personal experience.

When workers see something wrong they may say something.   When people don’t think the system is fair they may not speak out or worse they may neutralize their behavior and appeal to higher loyalties and possibly may resort to embezzlement.

Stay tuned for the analysis of the attendees.

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Equal Pay Day 2017

Fraud Magazine Got Ink!

So excited to announce that Catch her if you can-Pink-collar criminals was printed in this month’s Fraud Magazine-Fraud Spotlight:


Stay tuned for new material.  I spoke at the Spokane Chapter of the ACFE for their annual conference.  Lots of new stories daily.  Thank you for your support.  screen-shot-2016-11-04-at-2-06-02-pm

Graphic courtesy of Fraud Magazine-ACFE



Posted in Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Fraud Magazine Got Ink!

Former city of Cornelius employee Cynthia Rodriguez pleads guilty to theft of city funds

From Oregon Live:

Summary: A former city of Cornelius employee accused of taking cash from city funds has been convicted and sentenced in Washington County Circuit Court.


Cynthia Rodriguez.jpgView full sizeCynthia RodriguezWCSO

The case: The Washington County Sheriff’s Office began an investigation in May 2012 after someone in the city of Cornelius noticed $120 missing from the Municipal Court till. After audits, further investigation revealed a city accountant, Cynthia Rodriguez, 46, reportedly took cash from residents for their utility payments between January 2011 and June 2012. She wrote them receipts but voided the city’s copies, according to Sgt. Bob Ray, sheriff’s office spokesman. Rodriguez would then access the city’s computer system ahead of late notice mailings and change the residents’ addresses to her own home address, Ray said. Rodriguez would reportedly pay the bills, along with the $10 late fees, Ray said, and marked the bills paid in the system. Rodriguez was placed on leave in July 2012 and resigned the following month. She was arrested in March 2013 on accusations of first-degree official misconduct, first- and second-degree theft and felony computer crime.

Update: On Jan. 22, 2014, Rodriguez pleaded guilty to one count each of first-degree theft and first-degree official misconduct.

Sentence: Rodriguez was sentenced to two years of probation along with 134 hours of community service. Rodriguez was ordered to pay restitution of $8,834.30 to the city of Cornelius and to have no contact with the victim. Rodriguez will also undergo mental health evaluation and treatment.

Posted in The Ladies of PCC | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Former city of Cornelius employee Cynthia Rodriguez pleads guilty to theft of city funds