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How Your HR Coordinator Can Steal 200K From Your Company...

HR Coordinators who read my blog - don't do this.  No matter how dumb you may feel the person/organization you work for is, you'll eventually pay the price.

Of course, you'll have some nice vacations leading up to that.  You'll also probably have a nicer place as well.  In addition, wait... I'm off track.  An HR Coordinator in Hoover, AL has robbed a WalMart location of 200K across a span of three years.  More on this shifty coordinator from AL.com:

"A former employee of a Hoover Walmart is expected to plead guilty to defrauding the company out of more than $200,000. Angelia Steele entered an agreement with prosecutors in Otfederal court last week in which she will plead guilty to one count of computer fraud, court records show. She was also ordered to pay $201,488.96 in restitution.

According to a report by Alabama Media Group, Steele worked at the Walmart store in Hoover between 2000 and 2017 as a personnel coordinator. Between May 2014 and March 2017, investigators learned at least one assistant store manager's credentials were being used to approve time card adjustments for Steele's account, which added 10,681.52 hours of reporting pay to her payroll for that time period.

Court records show that in 2014, Steele added 939.6 hours for a total unearned income of $16,827.04; in 2015, she added 3,817.34 hours for $70,239.12; in 2016, she added 4,964.65 hours for $96,339.76; and in 2017 she added 960 hours for $18,083.04.?

How did this happen?  It's pretty easy to see.  It could happen in a lot of places:

1.  The coordinator was responsible for payroll.

2.  There's enough OT flowing through the location that the coordinator could use someone's sign in to approve OT for herself and due to the volume of OT, it was a small % of the total.

3.  She started slow. Then she realized no one was watching and got ballsier every quarter.

4.  The operations and HR leadership side was busy enough that they never had a reason to catch it.  It just slipped through for a long period of time.  I'm guessing the ballpark payroll for a Walmart Supercenter is in the range of 10M annually.  Do 10% OT and that's 1M.  That means her 16K and 18K numbers could slip through.  But the 70K and 96K numbers she put in for OT.  Savage.  Testing, 1...2...3.... Is anyone out there?  Anyone watching?

But as with all good things, the free OT party came to an end.  My guess is that the coordinator got tagged in a wave of change.  New leadership came into the store or HR (possible she was the primary local HR contact for the store in question) and said the following:

"What is up with the OT at this store?  Angelia, run a report for me of all employees over the last 3 years with their hourly rate, the total annual amount of normal pay, the total annual amount of OT, etc.  Need it in 10 minutes and want a stamp from the system.  You know what, I'll just walk with you back to your cube and you can run it for me then..."

At which point Angelia threw up at her desk.  And then went on a Leave of Absence - approved the same day!  By... you guessed it! The same manager she was using to approve the time cards with phony OT for herself.

She was trying to wean herself of the fraudulent OT and almost made it!  Single points of failure.  HR's not immune.

Read your OT detail quarterly, HR Leaders...

Comments

Dawn Burke

Oh. My. God. Think of how much she could buy at Walmart with that cash AND doubling savings with the RollBack prices.

#hooverstrong

AC

I think an even bigger problem might be the overtime theft that happens when the person is on site. You know - the person shows up at 6:30am every morning because they are a "hard worker" and they spend an hour and a half every morning eating breakfast, making coffee, and surfing the internet. Again - it falls to managers to watch for those things. The downside is that there will be no restitution paid when you catch them. But..... milking the timeclock has been around since timeclocks have been around. Remain ever vigilant may friends.

Karen

When HR employees go bad... This reminded me of a situation years ago, at one of my former employers (at which I was working at the time), and we hired a new payroll manager because the position was vacant and she appeared to be a great candidate because she had experience running payroll in the new HRIS system we were implementing. Long story short, it turns out she had embezzled from her last employer (while working in a payroll position) and all these "doctor appointments" she needed to leave for were actually court appearances for the embezzlement charges. Thankfully she never had complete access to the soon-to-be-retired payroll system while she was briefly employed.

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