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Trusting Assistants With Access

Embezzlement Investigation Case Study

March/April 2012

Explore the case study of Evelyn Reynolds, a trusted executive assistant, who embezzled more than $100,000 from a children's charity for her own nefarious use. The authors outline how she did it and their investigation.

Many executives are lost without their professional assistants who control their daily activities — calendar appointments, meetings, telephone calls and expenses. But what if an assistant has too much control and exploits an executive's trust? 

Evelyn Reynolds, a supposedly faithful assistant to the chief operating officer at a prominent non-profit organization, perpetrated a multi-faceted fraud totaling more than $100,000. In less than 10 months, she provided herself with a rhinoplasty, a recreational vehicle and a pile of cash that she didn't earn. (See Figure 1 below.) MarchApril-the-spoils 

In this article, you'll learn:


  • How she perpetrated this fraud and the techniques she employed.
  • The warning signs that you, your supervisors and your executives need to know.
  • Details of our investigation.
  • Controls to help mitigate the risk of a similar fraud at your organization.


    Embezzlements are common, but they're often unnoticed until it's too late.

    (All the names of businesses and individuals are fictitious to protect the privacy of the victimized organization.)





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