Larry’s Laws of Larceny- Law 7: The Petty Thief Always Gets Greedy

Larry Beebe, CPA

Most people who steal money start with small amounts. They rationalize by saying that they are only borrowing the money and they intend to pay it back. When they aren’t caught they rationalize that the entity they are stealing from didn’t even miss the money so it is okay to take more. They often think that, after all, they are entitled to the money either because they are underpaid or for other reasons.

In one situation a CPA caught a bookkeeper who had stolen a relatively small amount. The CPA firm recommended the employee be terminated. The entity he was stealing from reprimanded him but kept him in the same job. He later stole a substantial sum and fled the country.

Two lessons should be learned. When the CPA recommends termination, that action should be taken. If the entity refuses to terminate the CPA firm should withdraw from the engagement.

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