Three common elements generally present in physician theft and embezzlement cases

Opportunity. The opportunity to steal is just too great for some people to resist. Situations that increase this opportunity include physicians not engaged in the dayto-day business, large amount of daily transactions (including cash), or practices that tend to have a “trusted, loyal” employee whom no one would suspect. Perhaps the biggest opportunity to steal involves a weakness in internal controls.

Pressure. Mounting debt or living beyond one’s means can add pressure to steal. Maybe a spouse has lost a job. Also, drug, gambling, and other addictions can be a factor in someone deciding to steal.

Rationalization. People generally will rationalize their reasons for theft. An employee may think, “I deserve a raise, so I am going to give myself one!” or “I am only borrowing the money, and I’ll pay it back.”

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