Question :
A shareholder gained access to my business bank account and drained it of $45,000 leaving me unable to pay key suppliers and staff. What should I do?

Question submitted 27/03/20 @ 10:59am
Industry: Leadership
  • Hi Ryan, I am very sorry to hear this has happened to you. If you haven’t already done so, email the banki. If you have not contacted the Police by now what you can do – is let the Police know online what happened. Here is the link:https://www.police.govt.nz/advice-services/all-online-options?nondesktop It’s an efficient way of keeping track of everything that happened as you get a special number. If there are updates, you just need to go back online, recall the reference number, and the Police will get back to you.

    -The other matter. Without knowing your full situation but I understand you are just wanting some thoughts, are you able to let the suppliers and staff know what happened? Do you have a bit of money at the least – for your staff members that you can pass on -and come to some arrangement when you will pay the staff member(s) the rest. Can you make alternative payment arrangements with the Supplier – or through their Sales Rep?

    I hope this helps in some way. Just take baby steps. Many will understand the plight you are in. Regards, Fiona.

    Hi Fiona,

    I really appreciate the feedback.

    We are doing everything we can to pay back our suppliers and have contacted them.
    I have had to ask staff members to reduce their pay and forgo the expenses we owe them until we can find how to get the money returned.

    Doing what we can in the situation.

    Hi Ryan. That’s really too bad and especially at a time like this. If you haven’t already done so you might want to check if any of your insurance covers have a provision for this kind of loss (cyber/fidelity/crime cover). If you have a broker talk to them and see if there are any avenues to explore. If you do have insurance you not only might have some opportunity to recover some of the loss, but the insurer should also take up much of the work in pursuing recovery. Meanwhile the advice around notifying the police is an appropriate first step. Good luck with successfully recovering the loss. Regards.

    Hi Ryan,

    Oh my goodness what an awful situation to be in. I hope that the issue is now resolved and you have got the money returned. Great advice above.

    I used to work at the Serious Fraud Office and my only additional comment is to keep a folder of all communication in relation to the withdrawal, including any explanations you receive from the individual (keep screenshots of messages etc too).

    If this becomes a police matter (or an insurance claim) seeing the notes taken with a date and time on them is very helpful to those processes and with so much else going on during this time it can be easy for documents, dates, and notes to go from our memory or get lost.


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