The Case of “Just Living” … With $80,000.00

Payroll Clerk – Busted

An international engineering firm hired Gradoni & Associates to investigate a number of irregularities identified with vacation pay on a number of employees. It appeared that a number of vacation checks had been made payable to a payroll clerk who cashed the checks, using her own name and driver’s license, although the computer listed the checks as being issued to other legitimate employees.

A forensic review of the canceled checks revealed that the payroll clerk had not only made the checks payable to herself, but also to her 9 year old son. The paper trail revealed that some of the checks had been deposited into the suspect’s personal checking account and the remainder of the checks had been cashed at a check cashing facility where the suspect had set up an account in her own name.

Investigators created a spreadsheet documenting all of the fraudulent checks. We then obtained Affidavits from individuals who had cashed checks for the payroll clerk. During an interview conducted by Chief Investigator J.J. Gradoni, the suspect admitted to the scheme which netted her over $80,000. The suspect/employee, who had no prior criminal convictions and was well respected by her peers at the engineering firm, made the comment that she had used the money for “just living”. The employee was subsequently charged by the Harris County District Attorney’s office and eventually pleaded guilty, receiving a lengthy term of probation with restitution.

Return to the March 2015 Investigator’s Newsletter