State Police Issue Warnings to Small Businesses and Non-Profits
Springfield - Illinois State Police (ISP) officials announce financial crimes in Illinois are on the rise. In 2012, ISP Zone 2 Investigations opened 46 cases of alleged financial crimes, a 10% increase over 2011, during which 41 cases were opened. In January of this year alone, Zone 2 opened seven financial crime cases and has already made 3 arrests related to those investigations.
A large number of the cases Zone 2 investigates stem from allegations of embezzlement from non-profits or small businesses. Of these cases, a majority are instances where volunteers at non-profits or employees at small businesses take advantage of their access to financial assets. Many times, these victimized businesses and organizations are taken advantage of by trusted individuals, including close friends and family.
“Businesses are more likely to become victims of a financial crime when they lack adequate internal controls,” said ISP Zone Commander James Winters. “Criminals recognize weaknesses and will not hesitate to take advantage of a financial system that is not properly regulated or audited,” added Winters.
While some investigations are brought to prosecution and restitution is made, many result in financial losses that are never recovered. ISP officials suggest the following measures to minimize financial theft:
- Minimize or eliminate debit or credit cards for non-profits
- If debit or credit cards are used, require original receipts for purchases to be submitted
- Require two signatures on checks over a specified dollar amount
- Control access to petty cash funds
- Avoid situations where a sole individual is entrusted with all financial authority
- Establish a voucher system for non-profits so all expenses are subject to approval/review
- Monthly reconciliation of bank statements and financial review
- Yearly audits