A former employee of Olympus Corporation of the Americas was recently charged with three felony counts of theft and forgery for allegedly misappropriating nearly $375,000 of the company's funds.
Officials in Upper Saucon Township, Pennsylvania, first became aware of Benjamin Wilson's alleged embezzlement when Olympus contacted them in June of last year. The company had been unable to account for 10 Dell workstations valued at approximately $44,683 that had been purchased around the same time Wilson left the company, in early 2011.
Olympus obtained a list from Dell, which revealed other purchases that could not be accounted for – including 46 Vizio LCD HD televisions bought in October and November 2010. The company's audit department launched an accounts payable audit that found Wilson had abused his responsibility of handling invoices before they were sent to the AP department. Specifically, he altered purchase orders to indicate that computers and electronic equipment had been bought, rather than televisions.
Failure to appropriately divide financial duties between several employees can foster the potential for misappropriation. Conducting regular AP audits and ensuring no individual worker is given too much responsibility can help companies mitigate their risk of falling victim to embezzlement.