True Crime Stories


True crime stories involving family businesses are gut-wrenching – especially if you own or work in your own family business.

What makes it bad is that almost every instance the crime involves a trusted key employee. What makes it worse? When the crime involves a family member.

“For many family business owners, the notion that family and trusted key employees could be embezzling money from the family business borders on being incomprehensible,” suggests leading family business expert Don Schwerzler. “First there is the numbing sense of betrayal and then the anger. Yet many family business owners are satisfied with some sort of restitution – very few of the crimes in a family business actually are prosecuted because the case can represent a huge embarrassment that business owners prefer not to be made public.”

Schwerzler has been studying and advising family businesses for more than 40 years and he is the founder of the Family Business Institute. When it comes to true crime stories involving family businesses, few people have the training, knowledge and experience of family business expert Harold Copus. A former Special Agent with the FBI, our nation’s top law enforcement agency, Copus is an internationally recognized expert in dealing with security issues - from white collar crime to finding missing children and adults.

If our family business clients suspect they may have a problem concerning embezzlement, theft, white collar crime and other security related issues, Copus heads up the investigation team.

“Sometimes there are obvious tips that a person might be susceptible or vulnerable to stealing from the family’s business and they generally point to problems involving gambling, alcohol, drugs, divorce and/or an overwhelming debt that accumulates as a result of living beyond one’s means,” notes Copus. “The problem is in connecting the dots and to be able to do that discretely and in complete confidence.”

To help family businesses become more aware of the potential for wrong doing, we now have a section on our web site called TRUE CRIME STORIES and we invite visitors to our site to report those first-hand stories – crime stories that involve family-owned businesses.

Stories will be edited – we are interested in publishing the stories, not names or businesses that were involved. If you are a family business owner, a family member involved in a family business or a professional service provider to family-owned businesses, we invite your participation.

Actual Crime Stories Involving Family Businesses

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

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 …

No Cash, No Legal Prayer Not rated yet
(Excerpt published in the Dallas Morning News, 02-27-2010) I really have to chuckle when all these “economists” spout their platitudes about how a …

Trust But Verify Not rated yet
My dad and his brother started the business about 40 years ago. My dad was the alpha dog – did sales and operations while my uncle took care of the office …

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