It’s easy to get carried away with corporate perks. But charging your company credit card on personal items–big ticket or otherwise–can land you in the unemployment line–or in jail. Here are examples of the top five offenses:
#5: Buy Yourself an Education
Betsy Collins was an executive assistant at a burgeoning home improvement company. She noticed that she could charge as much as $100,000 for traveling to trade shows without requiring her boss to sign off. After she was arrested and charged with embezzling $1.5 million, she told the court she was saving to send her kid to college.
#4. Buy and Flip a Big-Screen Television
Adrienne Martin allegedly used purchasing cards and a travel credit card from her office at Texas A&M University to treat herself (repeatedly) to a total of $35,000 in consumer goods to sell for cash. Internal investigators traced an LCD television she bought from Best Buy and then traded the same day to a pawn shop. Martin was fired.
#3. Justify Your Revenge or Feed Your Addiction
Like many employees, Georgia resident Marjorie Warren was disgruntled over a 50% pay cut. Marjorie, however, felt this was justification for racking up purchases totaling $100,000 using her company credit card and business checking account. Her shopping spree lasted over three years. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners reports that some workers like Marjorie commit corporate credit card abuse when they feel disrespected. Warren was found guilty of theft and forgery.
#2 Buy the Fast Car You Deserve
As a CFO of Tommy Hilfiger Handbags, Martin Bodner used company credit cards to buy himself and his brother a pair of Jaguars and, for grungy days, a pair of Audis. His brother never worked there. Company investigators discovered Bodner committed $19 million in credit card fraud and other embezzlement. He got a five-year sentence.
#1: Buy $20 million Worth of Snappy Threads
Koss Headphones Vice President Sue Sachdeva allegedly used Amex cards to buy snazzy apparel for her fund-raising gigs. Federal investigators say there were $20 million in disputed charges, with one clothing purchase totaling $1.35 million.