Where and how is embezzlement most likely to occur?

Embezzlement is not just as likely to happen to businesses of every size in Pennsylvania. In fact, the majority of instances of embezzlement nationwide actually do not involve the largest companies. According to, 80% of embezzlement cases took place in small businesses, defined as companies that employ less than 150 people.

This may come across as a startling fact, but the reason embezzlement occurs more often in small businesses is because they generally do not have protective safeguards that stop easy embezzlement from occurring. For example, some small companies begin as a strictly “family and friends” affair where all of the employees can access the company assets, including the company’s inventory and financial assets. This kind of universal access can invite trouble if one of the employees has unscrupulous intentions.

It is also true that a lot of embezzlement is not in high dollar amounts. In fact, the article points out that only 30% of embezzlements actually involve more than half a million dollars. The lack of safeguards in some small businesses helps make it easy for employees to steal money or inventory. Even the presence of safeguards is sometimes enough to dissuade some embezzlers from committing the act.

The image of a typical embezzler is a young male worker that has not worked long at the company. However, most embezzlers are actually female and older, with the average embezzler 49 years of age, and will usually be employees with a long work history. These swindlers are generally not the types to make a lot of commotion, and also tend to work longer hours and on weekends.

Some people who are suspected of embezzlement may fit some people’s preconceived notions of what an embezzler is. A good defense attorney will examine the merits of any embezzlement case and differentiate solid evidence from unreasonable prejudices. This article is written to provide general information on embezzlement topics. Do not read it as legal counsel for your particular situation.