CAPE CORAL, Fla. - A crime that can really hurt your small business: when someone you hire ends up stealing from right under your nose.
It's happening in Cape Coral, and police are offering tips on how to make it stop.
During special promotions, Hugo Striedinger's Liberty Tax Services gives cash to customers who file their taxes with the company.
"Those days we have cash of course, so for some reason I put it in the cabinet and forgot to lock it," he said. He says 100 dollars of that cash vanished, and believes it could of been an inside job.
"I thought it wasn't going to happen to me!" he said.
Employee fraud and theft is happening more often in Cape Coral than you might think. At the police department, they have two full time financial detectives that only handle employee fraud cases.
"They're quite busy," said Cape Coral officer Jerry Moll.
Moll says technology is making it even easier for employees to steal. According to police, one out of every three employees is involved in an internal theft and it causes 1/3rd of businesses to go bankrupt.
"Accountability. Make sure you know who is handling your money, your finances and have the checks and balances in place," said Moll.
Amanda Stirn with the Small Business Development Center helps those in the process of hiring. "We like to work with them one on one to make sure they have the right resources," she said.
Hugo says he'll never know for sure who stole his money, but now keeps the cash under lock and key. He hopes other business owners learn from him. "You have to be careful with you daily operations!" he said.
The Small Business Development Center also warns: it's easier for owners to become victims over the holiday season. During the hustle and bustle of the time, that's when theft and fraud can be overlooked.