Embezzlers take more than just money

When companies conduct AP audits as part of organized efforts to more effectively manage their finances, one of the big concerns is finding missing money. While this may go without saying, it's important for business owners to also recognize the other costs that can come with theft.

U-T San Diego recently reported that the case against Elizabeth Ann Masters has come to a close. Masters, who served as the financial controller for Proformance Apparel Group in North County, Calif., stole $5.7 million from her former employer to fund a massive horse farm. An AP audit discovered numerous duplicate payments, as she regularly issued herself extra paychecks between 2003 and 2011.

The San Diego Reader noted that evidence of more than 700 fraudulent checks was discovered, averaging more than $8,000 each.

Masters will serve nine years in prison, U-T San Diego wrote. Unfortunately for Proformance, its doors have closed permanently and the owners have filed for bankruptcy.

A lack of strong financial controls can turn disastrous. It's critical for organizations to recognize that monetary losses have real consequences, including losing a business entirely. In order to stay up and running, companies need to see managing funds effectively through audit solutions as a top priority.

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