A former Office Manager of a San Francisco-based law firm pleaded guilty to bank fraud in a San Francisco federal court on November 20, 2023. The 42-year-old former San Mateo, California resident admitted to embezzling more than $1.1 million from his employer between March of 2016 and February 2023.
The former office manager obtained checks from the victim law firm, filled out the payee line on those checks, addressing them to himself, and signed each check with the signature of the law firm’s senior partner without authorization. The checks were then deposited into the 42-year-old’s personal checking accounts. He admitted to depositing approximately 806 fraudulent and unauthorized deposits totaling $1,191,683.
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Prevent This From Happening TO YOU!
There are best practices that companies can employ which can help reduce the risk of internal fraud, particularly in the accounting department. A few are listed below:
- Implement strong internal controls: establish clear policies and procedures for financial transactions and ensure they are followed consistently. This includes segregation of duties, where different individuals are responsible for different aspects of financial activities, to prevent any single person from having to much control or opportunity for fraud.
- Regularly review financial records: conduct periodic internal audits and review of financial records to identify any irregularities or discrepancies. This can help prevent fraudulent activities early on and prevent further losses.
- Conduct periodic external audits: engage external auditors to conduct independent reviews of the organization’s financial records and internal controls. This can provide an objective assessment of the effectiveness of internal controls and identify areas for improvement.
- Monitor and analyze financial data: utilize data analytics tools to monitor financial transactions and identify any unusual patterns or anomalies that may indicate fraudulent activities.
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