The owner of a franchise chain restaurant discovered that over $13,000 in deposits were unaccounted for. He reported that the funds have either been deliberately lost or stolen. He did not want to go to the police and report the money as stolen for fear of the police pressing charges against one of his employees, whom he treats as family. He contacted ICS because he wanted to know what happened to the money so he could make an effort on his own to get the money back.
In return, he would deal with who the culprit was of this loss and theft investigation. The owner believed that whoever did take the money was obviously very desperate, and that desperation concerned him enough to want to help his employee, not prosecute. The client contacted ICS because he wanted to launch an investigation but keep it internal, not involving the police. The client spoke with a Case Analyst to learn what approaches could be used. The Case Analyst proposed the following investigation plan.
The first step was to obtain a list of the store employees who were assigned to make the deposits on the days in question. The second step was to contact the bank and ascertain whether there were any cameras that gave a direct view of the night depository box. The third step was to see if any of the bank employees had a direct link to any of the restaurant employees.
A seasoned investigator was assigned to interview seven employees that had access to the deposits. During the interview process, it was determined that none of the employees had a direct association with the missing money. There was nothing that indicated that any of the employees were responsible for the theft. The second avenue of investigation was to determine which bank employees had access to the deposits and to obtain and review the videotapes of the days in question. Based on the information gathered by the investigator, none of the bank employees was ever left alone with the money. There was always one bank employee partnered with a manager when processing any deposits. Unfortunately, the bank did not have cameras that gave a direct view of the night deposit box, and therefore the bank employees’ story could not be verified via video. The final avenue of the investigation was to conduct background investigations into the bank employees to see if there was any direct link between any of them and/or the restaurant staff. The intent was to find anything that would indicate that this was collaborative effort to defraud the store owner.
The investigation proved to be successful in the sense that none of the restaurant or bank employees appeared to be a culprit. It is possible that the deposits became lodged in the night deposit box and someone else retrieved the money. There are many questions as to how and why the money disappeared that remain unanswered and the investigation is still ongoing today Until a viable suspect is identified, the manager of the restaurant will be held accountable for the money, as it was his responsibility to see the money credited to the proper bank account.
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