Traditionally, embezzlement was fairly easy to recognize. It might involve a disgruntled employee who slipped a few bills out of the till, or an employee who thought no one would notice if some of the company’s product went missing. But in the age of online vendors and automated billing, it may not be as clear cut as it once was. Today, electronic evidence plays a major role in many embezzlement cases. The only potential evidence of a suspect’s innocence or guilt may be a few lines of data that are housed deep in one of the employer’s databanks.
In one ongoing case, an Atlanta-area telecommunications employee is facing charges that he took advantage of an online customer service database to improperly obtain products from a vendor. Prosecutors allege that the man would then sell the products and keep the proceeds.
A warranty agreement, between the telecommunications company and the vendor, allowed approved employees to request and receive a replacement product before returning the malfunctioning product. The purpose of this arrangement was to avoid potential telecommunication service interruptions. The employee is charged with ordering replacement parts for products that were still in proper working order, and keeping the new replacement product when it arrived.
When embezzlement charges involve electronic transactions, the potential evidence can take a very different form than the traditional scenarios we mentioned above. When facing these complicated charges, it is important to consult with an attorney who understands electronic evidence and how it will be treated in court.
Source: Atlanta Business Chronicle, “Metro Atlanta ex-Verizon worker charged with fraud,” Dec. 9, 2011