Watch Out for Disgruntled Ex-Employees
In 2000 we let a long time secretary (Allie) go because she had a bad habit of rumor mongering and trying to cause problems between my two brothers and my husband who worked for my parents family owned company.
After letting Allie go our operations manager, Bob hired a temp by the name of Tanya from a personnel agency to temporarily help out in Allie's job until we found a permanent replacement. Tanya was young, around 24, seemed nice and acted as though she really wanted to work at our company. After a month Tanya was put on permanently.
Three months after Tanya had been working with us, Bob received a phone call from one of our vendors wanting to know why we hadn't paid our bill. Bob checked the ledger where it showed we had paid the bill. But the vendor insisted they had not been paid. A second vendor called during this same time period wanting to know...why hadn't we paid their bill. Now Bob is getting curious because he checked the carbons and the third carbon showed the checks being typed to the vendors. But when Bob went to the bank he found several checks not written to vendors, but written out to Tanya. Apparently Tanya had found a signature stamp with Allen's name which Bob was supposed to have destroyed years ago. At the time this happened my father and Allen would have to be out in the field for days at a time, so they would leave about 5-6 signed blank checks with the secretary in case a cod came in or someone had to go buy parts and needed a check for the purchase. Sometimes the checks had only my fathers signature, then Tanya would use Bob's signature stamp.
(We no longer sign blank checks at our company)
Tanya would make checks out in her name or her husbands name. Then she would lay a paper where the check should have been, type in the vendors name, invoice number and the amount. Then when Allen looked at the 2 carbons it would look as though she paid the vendor.
It gets better. We fired Tanya, pressed charges on her for theft of twenty-four thousand dollars.
At that time we trusted our employees and didn't lock up our files. Before we fired Tanya, she was able to find Amy's phone number and contacted Allie.
Allie and Tanya worked together to file bogus claims of sexual harrassment charges against my husband Wade. They went in together and had an attorney send our company a letter stating they would sue unless we paid them eighteen thousand dollars. The attorney claimed to have a letter written by Wade stating that he had harrassed Tanya and that if she kept it quiet he would pay her 18,000.00, and was "signed" by my husband. A copy of this letter suddenly appeared over the weekend on my fathers desk. Allie and Tanya apparently got my brother to believe Wade had really written the letter and he decided to help them by letting dad read the letter.
Naturally we turned the letter over to our corporate attorney and the D.A.'s office. Of course the letter was a forgery and created on a computer. Tanya had taken Wade's signature from another document, cut it off that document, then taped it to the letter Wade "wrote", then made a copy of that document. Anyone who looked at this letter could tell that it was a forgery. The D.A.'s office took Tanya to trial almost a year later, Allie testified for Tanya still trying to say she was sexually harrassed, even though the EEOC had dismissed both her and Tanya's claim and would not give them a right to sue letter.
Tanya was sentenced to prison for 18 months and ordered to pay restitution.
We found out after firing Tanya that she had a criminal background. She had been arrested before for forging customers checks from a grocery store where she used to work.
We assumed that because Tanya came from a large personnel agency in our town they had run a criminal background check on her and would let us know if she had a criminal history. Nope. We were wrong about that one. They did not run back ground checks at the time. But they are doing them now...
Our family was hurt pretty bad by this and are still affected by it. Allie called me shortly after we let her go. She stated "there is something I needed to know about John and Matt"(my brothers). Knowing her penchance towards starting trouble, I told her "Don't ever call here again, I don't want to talk to you" and I hung up. I didn't talk to her nor did I listen to her. I just hung up after telling her not to call me again.
Unfortunately my brothers didn't do the same and they actually listened to this disgruntled ex-employee. To this day there is still tension in the air and probably always will be.
Lock up your files and do criminal background checks.
If a bookeeper/secretary won't let your accountant see your bank statements for 3 months, better start really looking over that person's work because there is probably something going on that shouldn't be. Better yet, if they stall one month, start checking to be sure everything is on the up and up with the person keeping the books.
Somehow Tanya even managed to avoid giving our accountant and his staff bank statements for 3 months and didn't raise any flags with them.
Nothing legalwise happened to Allie. She used to be attractive, but the last time I saw her she just looked mean and had a hard edge to her eyes. My mom(who is 90!) always said that "how a person lives their life will show up on their face." Mom was right once again....