Would you believe that nearly $400 billion dollars is embezzled from companies in the United States annually?

What is embezzlement?

A person commits embezzlement when they wrongfully take, steal, or use property belonging to another by virtue of one’s office, trust, or employment.

  • Examples:
    • A corporate accountant pays off his/her personal credit card with company money, without permission.
    • A grocery cashier takes small amounts of money out of his/her cash drawer for personal use.
    • A janitor hired to clean a building steals two cases of paper towels, soap, toilet paper, etc.

What is not embezzlement?

If the suspect does not have control over the money or property stolen it would not be embezzlement.

  • Example:
    • A corporate accountant, who has no authority to sign checks, forges a check to steal money. He/She should be charged with forgery.
    • A grocery cashier takes a sandwich from the store and does not pay for it. This is a larceny and not embezzlement.
    • A janitor hired to clean a building steals a laptop. He/She should be charged with larceny.

Who can investigate embezzlement?

The Fairfax County Police Department can investigate the crime of embezzlement if it occurs within the jurisdictional boundaries of Fairfax County. If the crime occurred outside of Fairfax County, you should contact that jurisdiction.

What should I do if I am victim of embezzlement?

  • File a report using our online reporting system. A Detective will be assigned to investigate your case.
  • Limit the suspected employee’s access to records and documents.

How can I protect myself from being a victim of embezzlement?

  • Take a look at the system you have in place. Does one person have control over the finances? Is anyone auditing that person? Appropriate checks and balances for all systems are recommended.
  • Look for the signs of embezzlement. Some of them are:
    • Unexplained loss of business revenue.
    • Employee has exclusive control over company financial records.
    • Employee has exclusive control over bank statements.
    • Employee has rarely takes a vacation.
    • Bill collectors calling in reference to unpaid debts.
    • New accounts and vendors that you have never heard of.
    • Employees living beyond salary.
    • Is resistive to change in policy or company changes.

Where can I find additional information and resources?

Code of Virginia – Laws related to Embezzlement
For embezzlement click here.


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