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6 Famous Embezzlement Cases and What Happened Exactly

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Fraud can happen virtually anywhere these days. However, fraud in the workplace is a common threat to everyday business for all workers. Unfortunately, it is a large problem that is comes up all too often in the world. Sometimes, these cases are exposed through accidents or sheer coincidences. In other instances, they require a more detailed workplace investigation to expose the truth.

Fraud happens so often that you can even find a fair number of strange, weird, and truly unique cases of fraud that have occurred within the average, everyday workplace. To further demonstrate this fact, we have gathered six famous embezzlement cases in history. Let’s go over each interesting case of workplace fraud and what happened exactly:

1. Theranos Inc. Embezzlement

Screenshot Source: The New York Times

Elizabeth Holmes was the mastermind behind a blood-testing company called Theranos Inc. which became incredibly successful over a short amount of time. This success brought Holmes into a state of fame and recognition that none could have foreseen. The recognition even grew to the point where she was hailed as “The next Steve Jobs.”

However, this stellar reputation would soon fall to disgrace following the company, Holmes, and the president of the company being charged with massive civil securities fraud. It was uncovered that these individuals had made various false statements about their work while receiving over $700 million in funds from private investors.

These embezzlement cases marked a disastrous fall for both the company and Holmes that would be nearly impossible to recover from.

2. David Smith Embezzlement

Screenshot Source: Tampa Bay Business Journal

This case of fraud began when a Quest Diagnostics manager began to receive reimbursement for false expenses. False expenses are one thing, but David Smith racked up over $1.2 million in illegitimate reimbursements. He accomplished this by setting up a seemingly solid web of false companies and invoices, accompanied by false expense reports backing the claims up.

Naturally, the FBI eventually noticed something was off with the entire situation. It seemed that Smith had been careful in his plans so far, so what was the flaw in his execution? Smith’s fake companies had generic names such as Environmental Tech and Rep Med Services. Plus, these companies’ mailing addresses were nonsensical and led to places that were clearly not being owned or used by the supposed businesses.

3. Dr. Jorge Zamora-Quezada Embezzlement

Screenshot Source: KGBT

The U.S. Department of Justice took down a Texas-based doctor in May of 2018 for a crime that seems unbelievable. Dr. Zamora-Quezada had several clinics in the state of Texas, and each were tied to an estimated total of $240 million in health care claims. $50 million of this was paid to the doctor. How did this happen?

The doctor was consciously misdiagnosing patients ranging from the age of children to the elderly. He even diagnosed patients with terminal illnesses in order to prescribe expensive treatments and medications. Treatments as serious as chemotherapy were among these prescriptions.

This fraudulent scheme allowed Zamora-Quezada to live the good life. Complete with a personal jet, many luxury cars, and many residences in both the U.S. and Mexico. Like many of the embezzlement cases in this list, he was eventually caught by authorities.

4. Joseph Winstead Embezzlement

Screenshot Source: The Seattle Times

Jury duty is a part of life that few people actively look forward to. So when a Washington D.C. postal worker by the name of Joseph Winstead went on leave for his jury duty, he was expected back as soon as possible.

144 days later, he was still on jury duty due to an “extended federal trial.” Of course, this was merely a lie that Winstead was getting away with. He accomplished this farce by fabricating court paperwork to support his claims. In doing this, he earned close to $40,000 in dishonest pay.

He actually ended up getting away with this, too. Naturally, he got greedy and attempted to do the same scheme twice. This led to him being caught in the act and pleading guilty to fraud.

5. Suraj Samaroo Embezzlement

Screenshot Source: The Baltimore Sun

With a clear understanding of IKEA’s mail-order system, Suraj Samaroo found an easy way to rake in some extra cash. He eventually had stolen around $400,000 in under a year. Samaroo did this by keeping track of what customers would buy. Once their purchases were cleared, he would proceed to issue himself a refund using a loophole in the company’s systems.

He then went on to cover all of this up by altering inventory records as he went. He was honestly very careful about the moves he made here, but his embezzlement cases were ultimately exposed.

6. David Hamilton Embezzlement

Screenshot Source: CBC

While working for Calgary Transit, David Hamilton managed to sneak out nearly $375,000 over a seven year period. For those interested in the math at play here, that is around $200 per day.

That isn’t a small amount of money, so what was this fare counter’s secret? Hamilton would simply hide various amounts of coins he received throughout the day in his bag. $200 in quarters, dimes, and nickels every single day. All hidden in his bag and simply walked out of the company each time he clocked out.

This must have seemed like a dream come true for the fraudster, but he simply could not get away with it forever. Eventually, Hamilton was caught in his coin caper.