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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Employee Theft

     In criminal law, when a person steals without force or unlawful intrusion, it's the crime of larceny, or theft. The vast majority of thefts are committed by employees against their employers. Security practitioners call this internal theft, and it involves, every year, the loss of billions of dollars to business and industry. Employees rip-off cash, merchandise, equipment, supplies, and time. In the retail business, employees steal 75 percent of all pilfered cash and merchandise. Customer and vendor thieves account for the rest.

     You rarely hear economists or politicians speak of this problem, but internal theft is one of the reasons employers try to get the job done with as few employees as possible.

     American employees steal a lot because they either live beyond their means; are hooked on drugs, booze, gambling, or shopping; are ethically corrupt; or are narcissists who simply feel entitled. When caught, employee thieves come up with various sob stories and all manner of excuses, but they all steal for the same basic reason: to get something for nothing.

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