How did this employee make off with $700,000 from her boss?
(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)
Actually, it was $711,074.39 and the money went missing between February 2014 and December 2015.
Debra Biagi was the assistant to the chairman at HB Nitkin Group, a family-owned real estate management and development firm in Greenwich, Conn.. The job gave her lots of responsibility and her boss must have trusted her a lot. That was a mistake.
Biagi managed the firm’s money paid to suppliers…except some of them weren’t real. Her scheme wasn’t that unique. According to this report in the Stamford Daily Voice, she created fake invoices from fake suppliers for fake stuff like masonry, carpentry, electrical and plumbing services. She then sent checks from both the company and family members (who unfortunately trusted her with their checkbooks) to pay for the fake stuff. And then deposited those checks in her very real bank account.
Biagi allegedly stole the chairman’s signature stamp and used it to “sign” the checks. She also apparently like to steal checks from other company employees and then make them out to cash. Busy woman. But she made the mistake of filing fake invoices as if they were real – yet initialing them to remind her that they weren’t – an audit trail that helped investigators piece together the scheme.
The good news is that she was caught. She pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud. And this week was sentenced to four years in a real jail. She also has to make real restitution.