Proving Embezzlement Part-2
A Virginia court addresses this issue.

Nestle v. Commonwealth of Virginia, 470 S.E.2d 133 (Va. App. 1996)

Background. A charity hired a new bookkeeper, despite its knowledge that the bookkeeper had previously been charged with writing a bad check. The charity wanted to give her a second chance. Shortly after the bookkeeper began her duties, two officers noticed problems with the books and bank deposits. They decided to conduct an internal audit. At the conclusion of the audit, the auditor reported several "substantial irregularities in the accounts." Among other things, the auditor noted that (1) the bookkeeper had written a check to herself for $250 shortly after beginning her employment that was never repaid; (2) the bookkeeper had stapled a deposit slip for $1,086 to the fund ledger account but no deposit had ever been made; and (3) the bookkeeper had issued a check to herself in the amount of $2,150.

An officer confronted the bookkeeper with these problems. When asked about the $250 check, the bookkeeper replied, "I've got that right here" and pulled the money out of a filing cabinet. She claimed that she had written the check to provide a petty cash fund, but the internal auditor was unable to find the fund in the same cabinet when he conducted his audit. When asked about the $1,086 deposit discrepancy, the bookkeeper produced the funds later that day. With regard to the $2,150 check, the bookkeeper stated that she was attempting to reimburse herself for $21.50 in travel expenses, but that the check-writing machine erroneously left out the decimal and printed the check for $2,150. The bookkeeper was later charged with embezzlement.

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Posted: October 1, 1999
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