You would never intentionally steal from anyone, let alone the company that employs you. You have a strong sense of personal ethics and want to see your employer thrive, especially if you have a well-compensated professional position. However, access to a company expense card could lead to potentially criminal mistakes.
Perhaps you took a client to a casino once and used your card there with no questions from your employer, so then you started using it occasionally for personal gambling excursions. Maybe you sometimes put gas in your own vehicle using the company card or take your spouse out to a meal and then claim it was a client that you met up with that night.
Eventually, your employer could discover those little charges and prosecute you.
Company expense accounts are only for business use
It can be all too easy to have a relaxed attitude about the use of a company expense card. Especially if your supervisor or coworkers frequently seem to use their cards for questionable purposes, you may see no harm in doing so yourself. You may view it as a sort of perk of your employment.
Still, the risk is always there that the company will start cracking down on the misuse of company expense cards. Especially if the company ends up facing a civil lawsuit or dealing with financial trouble, an in-depth review of expense reports could result.
If the company notices a pattern of questionable or excessive charges, they may take action against the employees who misused their company cards.
You don’t have to pocket money for your actions to be embezzlement
Embezzlement does not involve one specific activity. You don’t have to sneak money out of the petty cash drawer or write a check to yourself from the corporate expense account to embezzle from your employer.
Taking physical property from the building, overcharging clients to pocket the difference and requesting reimbursement for non-business-related expenses could all also constitute embezzlement. Those accused of financial misconduct on the job can potentially defend against those charges. A successful defense can help you preserve your employment and your future opportunities for good jobs.
Fighting back when you face criminal charges will require a careful review of the evidence and a well-planned defense strategy.