10 Types of Ohio Workplace Theft & Embezzlement
Theft in the workplace is widespread. While workplace theft can range from minor supply theft to million-dollar embezzlement schemes, one thing is sure: Being charged with workplace theft is serious.
Depending on the nature of the charge, you face time behind bars and thousands in fines. That’s not to mention the long-term stigma that will be attached to you. What employer will want to hire you if you are convicted of stealing from a past job?
That is why it is important to speak with a criminal defense lawyer if you have been accused of any of the crimes we discuss below. In the Cleveland area, call attorney Daniel Margolis at (216) 533-9533 for a free and confidential consultation. With decades of experience and a history of getting favorable outcomes for people accused of embezzlement, he can explain your situation and options.
Here are some of the most typical workplace theft charges in Ohio:
1. Cashing Customer Checks
Taking a check from a customer meant to go to your employer and cashing it for yourself is classic workplace theft. If the check or checks amount to more than $150,000, you could easily face a third-degree felony under Ohio law.
2. Faking Payments and Invoices
While fake invoices are a common scam that outside actors use to target organizations, fake payment and invoice fraud can come from within the workplace. An employee could fake payment to a contractor who is them. Or they could submit an invoice for goods or services that never happened and pocket the money. Fraud of this degree is serious in Ohio. It can even be charged as a felony.
Overbilling occurs when an employee tacks a small amount to the price of a good or service and pockets the extra money each time a customer buys something from their employer. While this may sound like a scam to the customer, it affects your employer, too. Employers will be on the hook to repay customers if the overbilling fraud is found out. A large-scale overbilling scam could lead to a felony charge.
4. Padding Expense Accounts
Employees who have company expense accounts are expected to use them carefully. But many employees are accused of padding expense accounts to cover up workplace theft. The severity of this charge will likely depend on the scale of the padding you are accused of. A meal here or there will lead to a much lighter charge than long-term embezzlement through expense account padding.
5. Voiding Transactions
Common in retail businesses with less advanced points of sale, transaction voiding is widespread. And it can lead to serious criminal charges. Here is how it works: An employee voids a transaction at the register and pockets the customer’s money that was just given to the business.
6. Stealing Supplies
Office supply theft is among the more minor types of workplace theft. But stealing supplies from your employer can become very serious when the value of the supplies is more than that of a few sticky notes. Precious metals, lumber, and equipment are common types of supplies employees are accused of stealing.
7. Mishandling Petty Cash
If your employer accuses you of stealing from the petty cash reserve in your workplace, you could face misdemeanor charges that stick with you for life. Theft of less than $1,000 is petty theft in Ohio – a first-degree misdemeanor.
8. Faking Overtime
Saying you worked more than you did and getting paid for that work is a form of theft. So, if your employer accuses you of faking over time, you could face criminal charges. Fake overtime often involves multiple people clocking in and out for each other. Each of those individuals could face charges.
Vendors often offer additional services, prizes, meals, tickets, or even cash to companies that use their services. As an employee, you are not allowed to accept kickbacks without your employer’s knowledge. And because those kickbacks could be considered your employer’s property, taking them without permission could lead to a theft charge.
10. Using Company Resources for Your Own Business
Sometimes, employees get the idea that they could go out on their own and start a competing business with their employer. Generally, that is fine. But using company resources to start that business is a form of theft. Stealing proprietary technology or knowledge, as well as clients, is against the law. This behavior can lead to white-collar crime charges.
Speak With a Criminal Defense Lawyer
Being charged with one of these crimes is scary. Your career, salary, and freedom could be on the line. That is why it’s essential to reach out to a lawyer if you have been charged with workplace theft or embezzlement.