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NYC Criminal Defense Attorney

Accounting Error or Grand Larceny?


Bookkeepers and Accountants are Often Suspected

A profession with a large amount of responsibility is something of a double edged sword. On the one hand, praise is heaped upon a person when things are going well. On the other hand, that same person is the first against the wall when things go south. A bookkeeper is one profession swinging that sword every day.

Bookkeepers are tasked with keeping track of the numbers in a company. It is a job that places an individual in charge of the most sensitive and vulnerable part of any business – the money. This may seem like a pretty straightforward job, but things get gradually more complicated as the numbers get larger. Forgetting to carry a one or misplacing a decimal might not be an error of tremendous significance in a business that earns a modest income, but making the same mistake in a company earning millions in profit and it will likely turn a few heads.

Bookkeepers who are keenly aware of the inner workings of businesses from a financial standpoint may be eager to exploit the vulnerability to which the position gives them access. A criminal bookkeeper might not always start out with ill intent, but even the most disciplined and honest individual may find himself tempted when handling enough money. The key to all of their wildest and most expensive dreams is in their hands. Bookkeeping crimes are the sort of thing with which most people can empathize because they have felt in themselves elements of the very same desire driving the criminal. It does not excuse the behavior, but the average person understands, to some degree, why it would happen.

Unfortunately, this empathetic assumption can put a bookkeeper in a difficult position. When money goes missing in a large company, people would logically start their search at the bookkeeper’s trail of financial bread crumbs. This may be the most sensible place to begin an investigation, but it puts the bookkeeper on the front lines, regardless of whether he has done anything wrong. Because he is placed in the foremost position of trust, he is also the first on the chopping block in the event of any suspicious financial circumstances, regardless of whether it is deserved.

Criminal bookkeepers who have mistreated the confidence placed in their position have created an imbalanced level of scrutiny to be heaped upon an honest bookkeeper. In the event of a mistake, how can you prove that you didn't do it intentionally? In New York, there is a $1,000.00 threshold for felony charges. In a state with so much money changing hands, this could be something as innocent and seemingly innocuous as a single out of place digit. Should that digit result in missing money, it can become a nightmare to prove that it was just an accident.