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Embezzlement might seem like a major act of theft that involves stealing a lot of money or property in a complicated scheme. The truth is that embezzlement is a white collar crime that can occur in ways big or small. Arkansas workers may steal a lot of money all at once from an employer, but they might also engage in more subtle means of embezzlement.

The Cornell Law School explains how embezzlement methods differ. Sometimes employees for a company or a major corporation will commit a single act of embezzlement. They will steal a lot of money and then make off with the stolen goods before someone discovers their activities. By the time employers or law enforcement discover the theft, the damage to a company or its investors has already occurred.

However, many embezzlers are not brazen in their activities. They engage in subtler theft by pocketing a little money here and there, sometimes known as “skimming off the top.” This theft occurs over a gradual period of time, and employers might have a hard time realizing something is going on. Higher managers might not know they are losing money because lower managers are underreporting income while keeping the difference for themselves.

Long term embezzlement schemes may be clever in their operation. FindLaw describes how some of these schemes work. Embezzlers may fraudulently bill the company for expenses so they can pocket the money. Workers in charge of payroll make out company checks to workers that do not exist, with the embezzlers gaining the money instead. Embezzlers are also known to create phony records or invest money in an illegal financial scheme like a Ponzi scheme.

Additionally, embezzlement is not always about money. Illegal schemes to defraud a company can also deprive a workplace of its material property. Thieves may steal small items, like office supplies, or larger items like computers, printers, and fax machines. Some embezzlers skim off some of the company inventory, or steal vehicles used by the company.