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Pocketing petty cash at work puts administrative workers at risk

On Behalf of | Dec 22, 2020 | Criminal Defense

Administrative work is often demanding and exhausting labor. As a secretary, executive assistant or other administrative professional, your pay probably doesn’t match your job responsibilities. Your employer may expect you to constantly multitask, to manage the schedules for an entire team and to do countless other little jobs.

Handling petty cash or covering company expenses may be part of your job. The company may not have much oversight regarding the use of petty cash and might simply restock the petty cash drawer when supplies run low. Pocketing that cash could seem like a way to make your lower wages fair.

In the eyes of your employer, however, that decision might be grounds for termination and even prosecution. Embezzlement charges could keep you out of many jobs in the future unless you fight back.

The point of petty cash and expense accounts is to cover business costs

Perhaps the boss decides to cover coffee costs after announcing that everyone needs to stay late. They might even treat the whole team to dinner or order pizza. Petty cash serves as a tool that makes such generosity by managers possible.

Some businesses, wary of how easy petty cash is to steal or misappropriate, instead give certain staff members business expense cards. You may feel the same kind of temptation with a corporate card that you do with petty cash.

How can your employer tell if you put in gas when traveling for your own reasons, as opposed to putting gas in your car for a business trip? If they do notice a trend of inappropriate charges or missing cash, the company may start an investigation and either terminate you or arrange for law enforcement to arrest you.

Embezzlement comes in many forms

While your employer may have given you a company card or let you handle petty cash, having access does not excuse misusing company funds for personal reasons. Especially if pulling $20 out of the petty cash drawer has become a weekly habit, you could face significant penalties.

Embezzlement charges depend on the value of the items misappropriated or stolen. Even small amounts of petty cash or regular inappropriate charges could add up to criminal charges over enough time. Defending yourself against embezzlement charges will not only help you avoid or minimize criminal charges but also protect your future career opportunities.


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