Chris Olivera, the former vice president of corporate communications and public affairs for videogame retail giant GameStop, was recently sentenced to four years and three months in jail as punishment for embezzling nearly $2 million from the company.
According to the Star-Telegram, Olivera gained access to the money through a fictitious public relations company, Cloud Communications, that he had invented and "hired" in order to hide the embezzlement. He set up a bank account for the firm, as well as invented office locations and even employees to cover his tracks.
As part of his job at GameStop, Olivera processed invoices for his employer, the Star-Telegram reported. In 2009, he began writing false requests for payment from Cloud Communications, which GameStop unknowingly authorized. Olivera would then transfer funds from the supposed PR firm's account into his own.
It took approximately two years for Olivera's scheme to fall apart, and it is possible that, had GameStop performed an accounts payable audit immediately when the money went missing, the situation could have been rectified sooner.
"There's a trust factor that a company needs to have with its employees to be successful," U.S. District Judge Jane Boyle, who sentenced Olivera, told the Dallas Morning News. "This was a serious breach."
Trust can be one factor in why some business leaders are hesitant to perform an AP audit, even when there are strong indications of foul play. While it is certainly important for business leaders to trust employees at all levels, they must protect the interests of the company as well. Choosing to deploy audit solutions does not make a firm distrustful; they are simply part of a strong business plan.