Sunday, February 17, 2008

Jack is Back or What Happened When I Hired an Embezzler

Now I knew Jack was an embezzler. In fact he had just spent about two years in the pokey for “borrowing” money from a Wall Street investment firm. Albeit, a friend of mine convinced me that everyone deserves a second chance and I decided to hire him “on a conditional basis.” At the time, I had a boutique research company in Denver, Colorado and Jack would be a sales rep. Frankly, there wasn’t that much to steal.

Jack looked good, chiseled Grecian features, five-hundred dollar suits, alligator shoes and a really nice brief case. I hired him on a Friday and by the following Monday he had read all of our reports and promotional material and was quite well informed. Jack did a very good job and I was, frankly, impressed.

As I mentioned, there was very little opportunity to misappropriate funds. Our small research company did have an asset which would seem to have only moderate value. We had done some work for trade-out with a local airline. Trade-out is where a company receives sort of a promissory note that can be used for other services. This could include airline tickets, restaurant meals and hotel accommodations.

Soon Jack learned about our trade-out account and he came to me for a “small” favor. He said that he had a girl friend who had helped him when he needed a friend. When he was on probation, she had let him stay at her house. He said he would like to take her to a local ski resort for the weekend to reward her for her generous help.

I mean, how could I refuse? How much could one spend on a single weekend? The trade-out account had $14,000 in it, nevertheless Jack and his friend were able to have a $14,000 weekend. Of course, I didn’t know this until I tried to use the account and by that time, Jack had another job with a large advertising agency. Apparently, it is easier for a person with a job to find another job when he already has one. This is probably especially true for an embezzler. On the plus side, it did provide inspiration to develop the Workplace Attitudes Test. See Now if I would have had the Workplace Attitudes Test, I suppose I could have still hired him. Nah, I’m not that dumb.

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