White-collar criminal charges often involve those who are pursuing financial careers. Accountants and payroll professionals are in positions where they can access and potentially misappropriate company resources. Embezzlement accusations can also affect those working in retail establishments or restaurants.

When there are allegations of embezzlement in such scenarios, managers often face the most scrutiny. Companies may blame shift leaders, assistant managers and store managers for embezzlement that occurs at a retail or service-based business.

Why are those who manage such businesses, or the workers staffing them, often at particular risk of prosecution when embezzlement occurs?

Managers have access that they can abuse

Those in positions of authority at a retail or service-based establishment may have keys to the cash register and access to the safe in the office. They may be able to review and possibly even alter sales records.

People can abuse that authority to embezzle from the organization. For example, a manager could use their software access to void a cash transaction after a customer pays. They could then pocket the funds for that transaction even though the business provided food, retail merchandise or services to that customer.

The average cashier likely does not have adequate access to engage in such well-planned embezzlement. That being said, managers can look guilty if other members of their team engage in misconduct or manipulate them. A worker might claim that a customer didn’t complete a transaction and ask the manager to avoid the sale after they pocketed the money from the register.

Embezzlement charges don’t guarantee a conviction

Those attempting to look into financial misconduct at a business frequently choose the simplest solution rather than investigating as thoroughly as possible. Anyone accused of embezzlement or other white-collar crimes may despair and assume they have no means of avoiding a conviction. However, a more thorough review of company financial records or even security camera footage could help them develop a defense strategy.

Some managers accused of embezzlement can prove with the help of a lawyer and other experts that a different employee was the one who embezzled. Other times, they may not be able to identify the real culprit, but they can at least exonerate themselves by establishing that transactions or other abuses of authority took place when they were not at the business.

Reviewing evidence is often the first step toward fighting back against embezzlement allegations or other white-collar criminal charges. Managers who defend against embezzlement allegations successfully can protect their careers and their freedom.