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Company credit card use may lead to an embezzlement charge

On Behalf of | Apr 6, 2020 | Firm News |

Some companies authorize employees to use credit cards for business purposes, such as buying office supplies or gas. If an employee borrows a company card for personal use an employer may request law enforcement officials to file theft or embezzlement charges. Employees using their employers’ company cards in this manner, however, may have intended to pay it back with their next paycheck. 

As noted by Florida Atlantic University, when an opportunity presents itself, and an employee can rationalize his or her actions, a misappropriation may occur. Before filing a criminal charge, however, Rhode Island prosecutors require substantial evidence of an employee’s alleged breach of trust. 

An internal audit may disclose instances of theft 

To prove theft, an employer may first conduct an internal audit of its accounting records. A forensic accountant may review bank statements and canceled checks to determine whether an employee misappropriated money placed in his or her control. 

If an internal audit reveals missing funds traced back to a particular employee, a company may use that evidence to file a legal report. Law enforcement officials may review the findings of an employer’s internal review and then conduct their own investigation. 

A law enforcement investigation may result in charges 

Depending on the amount of money, goods or property, an employee may face a serious felony embezzlement charge. A conviction could result in several years of imprisonment, restitution and fines. 

After officials determined that a Rhode Island public servant used a taxpayer-funded credit card to pay for personal expenses, law enforcement officials gave her one week to pay it back. Prosecutors charged her with embezzlement for allegedly misappropriating nearly $10,000, as reported by WPRI Eyewitness News. After admitting that she breached the public’s trust in a plea deal, she received a three-year probation sentence. 

Defending against the allegations may avoid a serious conviction 

Not only does an employee face a serious felony offense from an embezzlement charge, he or she also suffers from a job loss. Finding a new one can come with major challenges. A strong defense, however, may counter the allegations and prove an employer wrong.