Iowa at high risk of embezzlement, study finds

Nine cases of major embezzlement last year took place in Iowa last year, causing it to be named a state where business owners are most at risk of having more than $100,000 embezzled from their companies, the Des Moines Register reports.

The 2011 Marquet Report on Embezzlement, released last month, examined misappropriation of company funds across the country. It ranked Iowa as the fourth most likely state to have losses from major embezzlement cases.

Ross Valone, an Iowa resident who owns an obstetrician practice in Des Moines, was one such victim of embezzlement. After his personal banker alerted him to incongruities in his finances, he carried out an accounts payable audit that revealed his former office manager, Glenda Bruggeman, had misappropriated nearly $550,000 from his practice.

"She simply took the next check in the checkbook … then forged my signature and deposited the funds in her own account," Valone told the news source.

Small businesses tend to be at a higher risk of embezzlement because one person often handles the books. Carrying out regular AP audits and dividing financial operations where possible can help mitigate organizations' vulnerability and quickly identify inconsistencies.

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