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Protect Yourself & Your Business from Embezzlement

It is important to have a professional on your side to look over the books for your business. As professionals, we are here to help guide and prepare you for the future. We want you and your business to thrive. Unfortunately, not everyone wants the same for you. So what do you do when a trusted employee betrays you by stealing funds from your bank account?

For 17 years, that is what David Reiter and his wife Connie Reiter did to the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Upper St. Clair, Pennsylvania. Using primarily electronic fund transfers, Mr. Reiter stole over $1.2 million from their congregation between 2001 and 2018. He went to great lengths to hide his deception, including allegedly impersonating an auditor.

The Reiters reportedly used the stolen money to take their family on expensive trips, fund their hobbies, and purchase music lessons for their children.

David Reiter was charged with 10 counts relating to theft, forgery and receiving stolen property. Connie Reiter was charged with two counts of receiving stolen property. In a statement from the Westminster Presbyterian Church, it was said that “New procedures and controls have been implemented to prevent such activity in the future, and a full outside audit will be completed this spring.” You can bet the audit will be done by professionals this time!

Even without an audit there are things you can do to help protect yourself so something like this doesn’t happen to you:

Know your employees: if possible, perform a background check, especially if they will be handling your financial records. Check references and pay attention to personality changes such as a sudden dedication to work, or living above their means.
Supervise employees especially if they are handling the finances. Segregate the duties by having two or more people split the duties of receiving, depositing, recording, and reconciling receipts for deposits.
Use purchase orders, manage cash receipts and track business checks. It may sound like the obvious thing to do but you’d be surprised how many companies do not keep accurate records of these.
Establish a system whereby payments must be approved prior to being made.
Ensure someone in authority reviews the bank statement each month, to be certain there are no surprises.
If your company handles product, manage your inventory. Do inventory checks at least once a year.
If possible, install a security system. Theft is less likely to happen if they know someone is watching.
When someone you trust steals from your business, the effects can be devastating.  Don’t let this happen to you. Patrick and Raines, has five CPAs and an Enrolled Agent who are all on your side. Get in touch and let us help protect you: 904-398-4747 | office

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