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Can working too much be a sign of fraud?

On Behalf of | Apr 2, 2022 | White Collar Crimes

Being a hard worker is a quality many business owners value in their employees. However, as surprising as it may sound, sometimes overachieving in an office job may invite suspicion, particularly if you handle financial records. This is because some employees who put in too much time at the office are actually embezzling workplace money.

It does not seem fair that an employee performing above expectations could fall under suspicion of a crime, but as explains, there are good reasons why an employer might wonder about the activities of someone who never wants to take time away from his or her job.

When overachievers commit fraud

Generally, a worker who is defrauding an employer wants to take more time at the workplace to make sure the fraud goes unnoticed. For example, an embezzler may work overtime when fewer workers are around to avoid detection. Fraudsters are also less likely to take a vacation. This is because they fear a worker who fills in for them, even if briefly, may discover signs of the fraud.

Other identifying factors for fraud

Working long hours at the office is usually not enough to indicate a crime. Sometimes a fraudster will give off other warning signs, like showing off an expensive car or jewelry that the fraudster could never afford on his or her regular salary. In some instances, people who embezzle money suffer from an addiction to drugs and steal money to support a drug habit.

Avoiding the appearance of fraud

If you want to avoid drawing unnecessary suspicion to yourself, there are some steps you could take. You may limit discussion of anything expensive that you own. Taking time off could also help you if a substitute worker verifies that you have not been doing anything illegal. The time away from your job might also rejuvenate you and help you work better.

Additionally, employers can minimize fraud by not investing too much responsibility in one position. You may breathe easier if someone takes over some of your duties or keeps watch over you so you know your employer has confidence in you. In the event you do become involved in a fraud investigation, having fewer duties may help establish that you could not have committed the fraud in question.