The Workplace Dishonesty Expert


Fraud Thoughts


“Vividly” in a way that produces powerful feelings or strong, clear images in the mind.

That’s how they remember the first time they stole. “Please tell me about the first time you crossed the line.” This question came to me by a forensic psychologist who studies embezzlers.

Think about your first kiss. It is embedded in our brain. Because it is a very specific marker in our lives. The women whom I asked this to were very clear about that first check.

Lisa told me a 10-minute story about the day she stole. An insurance check for $8K came. It was not on either the old or the new system. Lisa went to the bank on the Friday afternoon and asked for a cashier’s check in that amount. She went home for the weekend. Monday she deposited the check into her account.

Amy told me about her experience the first time. The check was for approximately $7500 but not that exact amount. She thought it might stand out for such an even number. She made sure the office was almost empty due to nerves. Initially, she kept track of the amounts. “It was easier to not know after a while.”

Investigations are not for the amateur. This is an important and delicate question to ask a subject. It can be the opening of the floodgates for the suspect. Be careful how you ask—you don’t want to shut them down.