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Thursday, July 8, 2010

To Catch A Thief

Yesterday I had to do something very unpleasant.  I had to fire one of my staff members.  A few weeks ago we noticed a strange transaction, with another one almost a week ago.  After some investigating we suspected that there was something wrong happening, and there was one common denominator.  Yesterday this person was confronted, admitted to stealing money for several months (much more than we had realized), and was subsequently fired.

Most people don't think about these sorts of things going on in a veterinary practice, but it happens more commonly than most may realize.  I remember when I was in college and working at a local veterinary clinic.  There was one woman who was pretty much the office manager, and very well liked and trusted.  She had everything at that place and had worked there for years.  It happened to be discovered that she was "returning" flea products, taking money out of the register for the refund, and then pocketing the cash.  The whole thing was a scam as there were no actual returns.  Nobody suspected her because of how trusted she was and how long she had worked there.

It's an unfortunate reality of business that there will be unscrupulous people who will take advantage of their employment.  They will steal and cheat and otherwise try to get things that they didn't earn or deserve.  Thankfully, most people are trustworthy and can be relied upon.  But part of being a business manager is having to watch for and handle situations like this.  Though I've suspected people of theft in the past, this was the first time I was able to directly link something and prove it.  It wasn't something I wanted to do or enjoyed doing, but it really angered me that this had been happening and I was very ready to exit this person from the practice.

Crime doesn't pay, and criminals do eventually get caught.