Are You Ready to Prevent Gambling-Related Fraud in Your Biz?

An Oregon bookkeeper recently pleaded guilty to stealing more than $70,000 from her employers–money she then used to gamble.

The woman was sentenced to five years in prison, according to OregonLive. The theft started during her first month of employment and continued for about a year. She had prior theft convictions listed under a different last name.

How Can Employers Prevent Gambling-Related Fraud?

Gambling addiction is a condition with roots in biology. It can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, or economic status. People who struggle with the disorder need professional treatment from counselors trained to work with this addiction.

Employers can take action to protect their businesses by enacting safeguards to prevent gambling-related fraud or at least catch it before it does significant damage. Here’s how to protect your bottom line:

Never give one employee sole charge of the company finances.

It can be easier to steal when an addicted gambler knows that no one is checking the books. Always use at least two people to handle company finances. If you can only afford to hire one person, conduct regular, unannounced internal audits to make sure the books are in order.

Divide check writing and check signing powers.

Another way to reduce gambling-related fraud risk is to assign one person the task of writing the checks and another the task of signing them. This checks-and-balance system may prevent fraud or catch it early.

Learn to recognize problem gambling warning signs.

If you see an employee exhibiting these warning signs, refer him or her to human resources or an employee assistance program (EAP):

  • Asking for payday advances;
  • Asking for pay in lieu of vacation time or sick days;
  • Frequently organizing office pools;
  • Unusual insistence on taking work home;
  • Increasing absences or tardiness;
  • Sudden lifestyle changes, such as buying pricey cars or taking expensive vacations;
  • Arguing with coworkers, friends, or family about money;
  • Borrowing money from coworkers.

For prevention resources in Lancaster or Lebanon, contact Compass Mark at 717-299-2831.


Gambling-Related Fraud a Small Business Problem, Too

A former Wall Street executive recently made national headlines after he was accused of committing a $40 million dollar fraud allegedly triggered by a gambling addiction. However, gambling-related embezzlement isn’t just a big business problem. Addiction to gambling, which is a diagnosable condition, impacts small and mid-sized businesses too. Here’s what Lancaster and Lebanon business owners and managers need to know:

Gambling-Related Theft Affects Businesses & Organizations of Every Size
Protect Your Business from Employees with Gambling Problems

Research suggests problem gambling is a motivating factor in about 33% of major fraud cases. Almost 85% of the gambling-related thefts involve a lone perpetrator. Some investigators now routinely examine suspected embezzlers’ gambling habits because casino debt is so common in this type of crime.

Here are quick tips to help protect your small or mid-sized business:

  • Implement financial safeguards.
    Internal checks and balances may help identify fraud before it creates a significant strain on the bottom line. For example, divvy up accounting tasks between two or more workers to avoid having one person in complete control of company finances. One fraud-prevention tactic is to assign one employee to print checks and another to sign them.
  • Train supervisors/managers to identify employees who may have problem gambling issues.
    You and your supervisors can learn to pinpoint the signs of potential gambling issues; check out 6 Gambling Addiction Red Flags You Need to Know. Also learn How to Talk to an Employee with a Gambling Problem so you can mitigate the situation before it becomes worse and so you can direct the employee toward evaluation and treatment.
Additional Gambling in the Workplace Prevention Tips and Resources

A Nonprofit’s Guide to Problem Gambling Fraud
Is Your Business at Risk for Gambling-Related Fraud? 6 Gotta-Ask Questions
Problem Gambling-4 Facts for Lancaster, Lebanon Businesses

For more addiction prevention and treatment resources, contact Compass Mark at 717-299-2831.


Problem Gambling—4 Facts for Lancaster, Lebanon Businesses

How much money can your business afford to lose to an employee’s gambling addiction?

$30 million?

That’s how much an Atlanta, GA real estate law firm lost after alleged embezzlement by one of its former managing partners. The accused man reportedly took money from several of the firm’s accounts as well as from those belonging to a related title company, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.  He allegedly wired $4 million to casinos. An attorney for the accused man has called the allegations “false.”

We don’t know if the accused man struggled with compulsive gambling or what the outcome of this situation will be, but it’s a good reminder for Lancaster and Lebanon businesses that employees with gambling addiction can create significant problems for a company. Consider these problem gambling facts:

1. Gambling in the workplace is a serious productivity drain—the March Madness tournament alone is estimated to cost businesses up to $1 billion in productivity each year.

2. Gambling was a motivating factor in 33% of major U.S. embezzlement cases in 2012. Compulsive gamblers cannot control the urge to bet, much like someone addicted to drugs can’t control the urge to use. The result? A person addicted to gambling may turn to fraud or theft to find the money to gamble or cover personal bills.

3. Gambling-related fraud doesn’t need to run into six or more figures to harm a business. Ask yourself: How much can my company afford to lose? $1,000? $10,000? $50,000? The fact is that any loss is too much.

4. You can take action to prevent gambling-related fraud. Learn more by visiting these resources:

Need more information? Contact Compass Mark at (717) 299-2831. Our team provides education, prevention, and confidential treatment guidance to employers in Lancaster County and Lebanon County.