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Aggressive. Experienced.

Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney
Former Cook County Felony Prosecutor

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When You are Charged with Theft in Your Workplace


The Chicago Public School system has recently come under scrutiny after a joint investigation revealed a string of employee thefts.


The investigation found that a Chicago Public School operations employee and four accomplices may have stolen over $870,000 from two public high schools during the years 2009 through 2014. According to reports, the five men conducted multiple fraudulent purchasing and reimbursement schemes for goods and services that were often never delivered.


All of the men face charges for felony theft of government property. Jermaine Robinson, the former CPS operations employee, resigned from his post and was placed on the district’s “do not hire” list. As part of the investigation, six other CPS employees resigned or were terminated. The district board also voted to bar 10 businesses and individuals involved in the incident from doing business with the schools. According to CPS officials, the school district has introduced stricter controls on employee reimbursements and internal accounts since the incident.


Employee Theft: A Serious Crime with Serious Penalties


Employee Theft in Chicago - A Serious Crime with Serious PenaltiesEmployee theft is one of the most serious types of criminal theft charges, often resulting in penalties of prison, restitution, and a criminal record upon conviction. Because employees are placed in a position of trust by their manager or business owner, a violation of this trust is often considered to be more serious than stealing from a third party, such as with shoplifting.

Employee theft is an umbrella term that encompasses an array of criminal actions involving theft or embezzlement from an employer. Below, we’ve listed some of the most common types of employee theft.


Payroll theft. This is one of the most common types of employee theft. You could be accused of theft for claiming payment for hours you did not work, whether by submitting fraudulent time sheets, failing to deduct breaks, or arranging another employee to clock-in for you. Similarly, you could be charged with theft for requesting reimbursement for expenses that are unrelated to work.


Petty theft. Petty theft includes repeated theft of seemingly minor items, such as office supplies and furniture.


Sweet-hearting. This is a term sometimes used to refer to the practice of granting a personal friend or relative an unauthorized discount for goods or services. This type of theft commonly occurs in the retail and service industry.


Merchandise theft. Merchandise theft is another common type of theft in retail businesses, where employees take merchandise from the sales floor, warehouse, or shipping trucks.


Information theft. You could be charged with information theft if you knowingly take information from your employer to benefit yourself or your employer’s competitors. Information theft could include copying customer lists, sensitive data, or office memorandums.


Shipping and billing scams. This could include forging or destroying receipts, fraudulently billing for goods or services that are never delivered, and other criminal actions involving shipping or billing through your employer for personal gain.


Embezzlement. Embezzlement is a type of white collar employee theft that occurs when an employee who has been entrusted to manage or monitor company money or property steals some or all of these assets for their own personal gain.


These are only a handful of the many different types of employee theft that could land you in serious trouble with your employer and Illinois law. Typically, the consequences of theft in Illinois will vary depending on the circumstances of the crime and the value of property allegedly stolen, but may include prison time, restitution, and a lifelong criminal record.


Regardless of what type of employee theft you have been charged with, it’s highly advisable to consult with a successful Chicago theft defense attorney immediately. Your attorney can help you build a strong defense by researching the unique circumstances of your case, consulting with experts, and gathering witnesses.  He or she will fight tirelessly to help you avoid conviction, working to protect your freedom, career, and professional reputation.


About the Author:


Andrew M. Weisberg is a former felony prosecutor who now serves as a defense attorney in the greater Chicago area. He has extensive experience in handling all types of criminal cases, from sex offenses and domestic violence to retail theft-related crimes, Murder, and drug crimes.


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