What are the common business crimes your company should avoid?
In this article, we provide an overview of white-collar criminal activity every company needs to prevent including fraud, Ponzi and embezzlement and identity theft.
Although business crimes are non-violent, in the physical sense, i.e. no harm comes to persons, the activity can at worst destroy your business, and at best damage it’s reputation.
Plus did you know a single action by one of your employees could expose your business to liability?
It’s scary stuff therefore, never underestimate the value of legal counsel. If your company hasn’t got an attorney on retainer maybe now is the time to do so as their services are much like having insurance, they are there when you need them.
Plus an experienced attorney should be part of your team of experts in the design and implementation of a risk mitigation plan to avoid internal criminal activity.
In addition to legal counsel, implement a compliance program and ensure that everyone in the company adheres to it. Educate your employees on issues such as ethics and white-collar crimes. This will help them avoid committing crimes such as:
Ponzi schemes typically involve fraudulent investment programs where the organizers promise mouth-watering returns to their investors. The organizers then use the invested funds to pay earlier investors, and the cycle continues until it finally crumbles.
Eventually, the organizers will run out of new investors, or the old investors will decide to cash out, and the scheme will crumble.
Since a lot of counterfeit money is in circulation, likely, the fake bills will eventually find their way to your business. If this happens and you realize that you have counterfeit bills, what do you do? If you report it to the relevant authorities, the government will not replace the counterfeit bills with open accounts.
You can either absorb the losses or recoup the losses via insurance. The latter only applies if you have an insurance policy that covers the receipt of counterfeit bills. You can avoid losses by training your employees on how to identify counterfeit bills. You should also train them on how to handle customers who pay using such accounts, how to handle the bills, and who to contact.
Employees who embezzle funds from a company rarely fit the description of a criminal. They are like any other employee, but silently they are milking the company dry. It typically begins with minor charges, and when the trusted employees realize that no one noticed, they continue.
More often than not, it involves personal financial distress, and the trusted employee is embezzling to maintain a lifestyle. It’s also fueled by financial greed, employee disenfranchisement, or employees feeling that they deserve better compensation.
The idea is that they are borrowing funds for use now and return it later. Sounds innocent, right? It’s not, because they begin cooking books to cover their tracks and continue “borrowing” more.
For small businesses, embezzlement can cause a significant setback as the employees behind this are often family members or friends. Anything involving family, friends, and money is always complicated; thus, you might want to hire an experienced attorney.
Bribery is often used to influence the decisions or actions of others by gifting them something of value for something else of value. For example, you can poach an employee from a rival company by bribing them to work for you.
You can also offer something valuable, such as season tickets to a public official in return for a favor. It can also involve bribery of a foreign official to get a contract to conduct business in a foreign country. This is quite common, but it doesn’t mean that there are no consequences to these actions.
Individuals suspected of bribery can face civil and criminal charges, resulting in prison terms or hefty fines.
Identity theft affects individuals, but it can also affect a business. This applies in situations where criminals impersonate professionals of a company to gain the trust of their prospective victims. The criminals later commit fraud, and since the criminals had identified as representatives of your company, the victims will blame your company.
If you’ve not got a robust IT security plan in action, don’t delay, get cybercrime experts on to it immediately. What will harm your business reputation instantly is weak security measures to block unwanted access to your tech systems and customer data.
Environmental crimes are typically committed by businesses, companies, factories, etc. They come in different forms, such as dumping waste in aquifers or rivers. Factories are allowed to dump waste in rivers but in a controlled way. However, not all factories follow the regulation and instead opt to dump waste uncontrollably.
In such a scenario, the people along the river can begin to fall sick as a result of contaminated water. These people can decide to file an environmental lawsuit, especially if they have evidence that your company is contaminating the water.
All businesses are vulnerable to business crimes; thus, the best alternative is to come up with ways to prevent these crimes. It might sound boring and tedious, but you’ll enjoy it more than paying hefty fines or serving a prison sentence. It’s less risky and cheaper to implement prevention measures than to sit back and hope that nothing happens.