An increasing number of small businesses are becoming victims of employee fraud, without a proper recourse to bring the perpetrators to justice.
Almost all these are owner-operated enterprises of Indian origin running dairies, superettes, petrol stations and retailers. The offenders are also of Indian origin, with most of them students from India.
Lack of supervision and misplaced trust often work against the employers.
International students are allowed to work no more than 20 hours a week and their availability in the evenings and on weekends work to the convenience of both- the former in taking time off work and the latter taking money off work.
Bhadra Rao Asapu, a New Zealander Indian from the Andhra Pradesh Capital of Hyderabad today mourns over his carelessness in employing a compatriot. The owner of two diaries, both in the Central Business District of Auckland City, had little time to check into the amount of cash flow each day.
“I employed Sunil Kumar Panguluri, hoping that the young man will be truthful and loyal and would be helpful in running my business. The two dairies always experience heavy traffic and hence I had little time to check into irregularities- in the first I had no reason to suspect the young man, hailing from the same city, to defraud me,” he said.
The two dairies, adjacent to each other, stock and sell expensive items, including calling cards, confectionary and other fast moving goods, generating quick cash.
“It was only after almost six months that I realised the amount of cash in the till did not match the depletion of stock. I found to my shock that this young man had cheated me of more than $40,000. I had video footage to prove his fraud,” Mr Asapu said.
When confronted, Sunil Kumar confessed to the crime and promised to repay the amount in monthly instalments but soon vanished from the scene.
Thereafter the efforts of Mr Asapu to obtain his lost money or even contact the young fraudster proved futile.
Indian Newslink has detailed documents, including a copy of the confessional letter written by Sunil Kumar with the undertaking to repay. We have taken up the case with the authorities in India.
A solicitor in India said that there was enough evidence to charge sheet Sunil Kumar in a court of law.
“We will bring this man to justice,” he said.
We have taken up the case with the law enforcement officials in Andhra Pradesh and through politicians and hope to ease the pain that Mr Asapu has endured.
Another Indian entrepreneur, who wants to be known only as ‘PB,’ said that he had lost about $60,000 with a person in his employ fleeing the country as soon as he had amassed the large sum of money.
We will report on his predicament and the inability of the Police to prosecute perpetrators in absentia will appear in our next issue.