Handling White Collar Crimes in Your Business
White-collar crimes refer to the non-violent criminal activities conducted by business professionals or government officials that involve money such as extortion, embezzlement of funds, bribery, insider trading, money laundering, and tax evasion. White-collar crimes not only taint your business image but also cost your business money and customers. Fortunately, you can protect your business from white-collar crime and its repercussions. Read on to find out ways of effectively handling white-collar crimes.
1) Conduct Background Checks and Encourage Anonymous Reporting
Most job interviews only focus on the suitability of a candidate based on competence and ability to get the job done. However, you should also conduct background checks as part of the recruitment process for your employees. This allows you to find out the criminal history of your potential hires and also establish trustworthiness based on their past. By doing this, you get to only hire individuals with high integrity and respect for work ethics.
Other than conducting background checks on your employees, you should also encourage anonymous reporting. You can do this by partnering with a third-party reporting agency where employees can call to report any suspicious activities in the business. The reports can then be forwarded to you for investigation.
2) Carry Out Employee Sensitization
Your business will be better protected if your staff have the necessary knowledge regarding white-collar crimes. Organize sensitization and training sessions to educate your staff on white-collar crimes as well as how to identify any instances of such criminal activities. This will help in facilitating whistle-blowing and anonymous reporting if any member of staff gets involved in shady deals.
While carrying out sensitization on white-collar crime, be sure to formulate a zero-tolerance policy and make them available to all members of staff. This way, your employees will be aware of the repercussions in case they are caught engaging in white-collar crimes.
3) Segregate Duties
While having few employees and having them handle numerous duties each may be cost-saving, it can also encourage white-collar crime by giving too much power to one person. To prevent this, avoid giving one person entire control of your finances by segregating duties and dividing tasks. For example, one employee can be in charge of signing checks, another in charge of payables and receivables, and another person handling bookkeeping.
Another approach is ensuring that any person who is involved in the approval of contracts does not take part in implementing them. This reduces the power to execute white-collar crimes and also encourages accountability thus making it easy to spot any irregularities.
4) Monitor Your Employees
Monitoring the activities of your employees at all times, and them knowing that they are being watched can deter them from engaging in fraudulent activities. You can do this by placing video cameras at your workplace to monitor all the activities that go on at your business premises. Since most white-collar crimes happen through the internet, a strong cybersecurity system is important to protect your business's information and data.
You can also employ software that monitors your employees’ activities on the internet and formulate policies governing internet usage. If your employees use personal devices for work purposes, consider installing monitoring software in the devices so you can keep track of employee online activities, and also catch any suspicious activities. This combined with regular audits will help in flagging off white crime therefore protecting your business.
5) Implement Stern Action on Perpetrators
If the employees in your business are involved in white-collar criminal activities, they need to face harsh punishments for their actions. This will not only ensure that the individuals involved take responsibility for their actions, but also sends a message to other staff that criminal activities will be met with dire consequences.
Don't be afraid to report any cases of white-collar crimes such as money extortion and bribery as this will help protect your company. It will also help you get rid of unlawful characters that put your company’s growth and image at risk. When carrying out any disciplinary action on perpetrators, avoid bias by ensuring equal punishment equal regardless of rank in the company.
6) Work with an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you or your business falls victim or is accused of white-collar crime, it is in your best interest to work with a skilled and experienced criminal defense lawyer for representation. Hiring a defense lawyer is valuable when conducting investigation and also if your case goes to court. What’s more, a defense lawyer will provide you with all the information you need to know about white-collar crimes including any updates on the law, and the best course of action in case your business is involved.
The best way to handle white-collar crime is to prevent it from happening in the first place. With the above tips, you can not only prevent white-collar crimes from happening in your business but also effectively handle any such cases without putting your business on the line.
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