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BUSINESS FRAUD
HERNANDO COUNTY BUSINESSES HAVE SEEN A LARGE INCREASE IN INTERNAL/EMPLOYEE THEFT SINCE THE ECONOMY HAS DECLINED

In almost all cases the thefts are committed by TRUSTED employees (even close personal friends and family) that were completely entrusted with company finances with no oversight, no checks and balances, and no restrictions. It is vitally important that YOU PROTECT YOUR BUSINESS!

  1. DO NOT give any employee or even business partner complete control of finances without have some method in place by others (including an accountant, yourself, another employee, etc.) to review financial activity on a regular basis. Having these checks and balances in place can stop someone that may want to steal from being able to do so because they are aware that there is someone “above” them reviewing. Keep in mind that transactions can be “altered or concealed” so that they may appear legitimate however the way they are reported is not how the money was actually spent. Be sure to audit certain transactions to confirm that the transaction did occur exactly as reported.
  2. MAKE SURE you have a written document/agreement drawn up with business partners and employees to clearly explain exactly what they can or cannot do regarding your business. Make sure the documents are signed, dated and preferably witnessed to confirm that there is no question as to whether or not the employee was acting outside of the scope of their employment. If possible have an attorney draw up legal papers so that they are documented properly and legally sufficient.
  3. COMPANY CREDIT CARDS: DO NOT allow an employee to have use of ANY company credit cards without clearly explaining how they can or cannot use the credit card(s). If an employee is given a company credit card with no restrictions and they run up large “personal” expenses YOU could be RESPONSIBLE for these charges. If you draw up an agreement explaining that ALL purchases must be made STRICTLY for the benefit of the company and have the employee sign a document acknowledging this fact then personal purchases could most likely being criminally prosecuted as FRAUD CHARGES. If no restrictions are placed you may have to hire a private attorney to civilly sue to recover these funds. SO MAKE SURE YOU AND YOUR EMPLOYEE(S) CLEARLY UNDERSTAND HOW COMPANY CARDS ARE TO BE USED!
  4. TRADE SECRETS: Make sure that if your company deals with secrets/ customer lists that are property of your company that EACH and EVERY employee with access to this “protected” information acknowledges that the information is PROPERTY OF YOUR COMPANY and CANNOT be taken or used for any other purpose. This again would be best done through a documented agreement signed by the employee. If you have proof that an employee misused or has taken your “trade secret” to use for their own personal benefit or if they seek employment with a competitor and the information is used to benefit a competitor the employee may be able to be criminally charged.
  5. IF YOU HAVE AN EMPLOYEE THAT IS USING HIS/HER POSITION TO COMMIT OR ATTEMPT ANY CRIME OR FRAUD: You must report them ASAP! Although an employee’s criminal actions DO NOT necessarily reflect on your business if you suspect it and fail to report the possible criminal actions it could result in an investigation of your business. The Hernando County Sheriff’s recognizes that our elderly citizens are the most vulnerable. It has been confirmed through past criminal investigations that employees of certain businesses have used and continue to use their position to commit various crimes. WE WILL DO EVERYTHING POSSIBLE TO BRING THE EMPLOYEE AND/OR BUSINESS TO JUSTICE IN THESE CASES! So please make sure to cooperate with this agency should these circumstances come to your attention.
THERE ARE MANY OTHER ASPECTS TO BUSINESS RELATED FRAUD!

Please take EVERY POSSIBLE PRECAUTION to protect your business and the citizens of Hernando County from becoming victims!

Take the time to review your current business practices to ensure that you have policies and/or procedures in place to protect and report fraudulent activity.

If you need assistance please contact Sgt. Brown and time and manpower permitting we will do our best to try to assist your business in any way possible.
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