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Old 03-21-2015, 10:28 AM   #1
XDCX
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Default Office Manager at Lithia's CJDR store in Billings, MT accused of embezzlement

News reports indicate that the Office Manager from Lithia Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram of Billings, MT has been charged with embezzling $288,000 over a 10 year period. The Office Manager has denied federal charges that she embezzled funds from the dealership.

For a link to the full report - click here

While we've had a lot of threads about employee embezzlement on the forum the reason this one caught my attention is because it allegedly happened at a store that was owned by a publically traded dealer group. My assumption is the larger dealer groups would be much more likely to have policies in place that would make embezzlement almost impossible. Maybe that's a false assumption on my part.

I also thought it was interesting that the case involves federal charges - I wonder if that's always the case or whether there is something different about this case that warrants attention from the feds?
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Old 03-22-2015, 08:43 AM   #2
mryan55
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I am also surprised when these stories pop up. My guess is that with such a large dealership, $28k a year going missing from a CDJR store might be little more than a rounding error in the eyes of a corporate accountant at the main office.
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Old 03-23-2015, 08:09 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mryan55 View Post
I am also surprised when these stories pop up. My guess is that with such a large dealership, $28k a year going missing from a CDJR store might be little more than a rounding error in the eyes of a corporate accountant at the main office.
I agree - since the amount that was allegedly taken is less than $2,500/month it probably didn't attract any attention.

The newspaper report mentioned that the charges relate to cash that was never deposited in the dealership's bank account. In the past I've heard of dealership employees who would add discount codes to a customer's repair order or parts purchase after the transaction and then pocket the difference. The only way they'd get caught was if the Service Manager or Parts Manager suspected too many discounts were being applied.

Another case of cash embezzlement that I'm familiar with is a case that went to trial and I was selected for jury duty. In that case a NAPA employee would take some of his cash transactions and change the computer screen from "sale" to "quote" - the customer would never notice the difference but the computer would equate the transaction as being one where the customer just wanted a price quote on the part.

It was seemingly the perfect crime until the parts counterman got greedy/lazy/stupid and pulled the stunt on a transaction where the customer bought a part with a core value. When the customer brought the part back for a core credit a different counterman was working and questioned why a customer would be returning a core for a part he/she never bought.

The jury found the defendant guilty...
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Old 03-26-2015, 10:53 AM   #4
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According to a report in The Montana Standard the Office Manager is accused of using a "delayed deposit scheme." For the full report - click here

Here's an excerpt from the report:
Zinnecker used a “delayed deposit scheme” to steal the money, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Colin Rubich in the indictment.
To hide the missing money, the indictment said, Zinnecker “delayed depositing other checks received on subsequent days to a later deposit, which reflected an identical amount to the embezzled cash.” The actions made the company’s general ledger appear to balance when in fact it didn’t balance.

Zinnecker then concealed the missing money from monthly account reviews by claiming the funds, which consisted of the embezzled cash and delayed check deposits, were “merely ‘floating,’” the indictment said. The term refers to a deposit that is not reflected in an account because it was received too late in the month to deposit or was deposited too late to be credited to the account before the monthly summary was issued.
I can envision a circumstance near the end of the month where an Office Manager could pocket cash in an amount equal to that of a number of checks and then claim the checks were still "floating" and that's why the monthly bank statement shows a lower amount than it should. (In reality the checks did clear, the reason the bank statement is short is because the Office Manager embezzled cash.)

What I don't understand is how this could go on for almost 10 years.
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