Embezzlement cases lack valid victims. Ten times in 10, misappropriation of money occurs under noses of folk responsible for fingering the workplace pulse. It’s not a “behind your back” event. It’s always “in your face.” Supervision flaws lend helping hands to thieves via carelessness, indifference, inattention, etc.

In a recent Maine embezzlement case, a labor union treasurer at Bath Iron Works allegedly pilfered $280,000 union dues over five years. The Department of Labor is investigating. Clearly, the labor union’s lax oversight aided the theft.

The union filed a claim with its bonding company for full restitution to be paid to its members. Errant union supervisors, sitting on hands for five years, promptly extended fingers for more than a quarter million dollars from their faultless security firm. Generally that’s termed: “sticking it to them.” Better yet: “unjust enrichment.”

In the last 20 years, Maine embezzlement cases occurred in Anson, Fort Kent, Norway, Madison, Chelsea, Newport, Acton, the Dan Lilley Law Firm, Maine Trial Lawyers Association, Milo Kiwanis Club, Old Orchard Beach Public Library, etc. Loose laxity was a common fault.

In an Anson case, a town official employed 42 years worked without oversight and embezzled $500,948. Supervision: “egregious.” In the Dan Lilley Law Firm civil action seeking recovery of embezzled funds, its alleged $856,000 was purloined over five years. Supervision: “appalling.” A criminal investigation is ongoing.

What’s the wake up call to the subject mismanagement? A court order that errant entities pay a fair portion of criminal investigation costs. Judges, per restitution jurisdiction, have requisite authority.

Solid supervision can muzzle embezzlement.

John Benoit


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