When petty cash kept going missing from a small business, the owner arranged a polygraph examination in Belfast for an employee.

Anne’s case

Anne kept the petty cash receipts and balanced the books at the small but established taxi firm she owned with her husband Jim in Belfast. The petty cash was used for fuel, tea, coffee and any other expenses used for the company. They’d thought about moving to company credit cards but Anne didn’t trust them. At least if she kept her eye on who was spending what then she knew the books would be up to date. A bookkeeper originally, she’d always liked to keep hands on in the family business.

Missing Petty Cash

It was no secret within the firm where the petty cash box was.  Drivers and controllers were allowed to take money out as long as they put the receipt into the box with their name. It was Christmas when Anne noticed the box was slightly light by £40 to be exact. The last receipt in there belonged to Lewis. She questioned Lewis about it and he denied taking anything other than the fuel money he’d put his receipt in for. It hadn’t been the first time money had gone missing around Lewis and afraid it wouldn’t be the last, Anne contacted us to ask if we could conduct a polygraph examination in Belfast.

She’d spoken to her husband previously about adding a lie detector clause to drivers’ contracts. Jim said all drivers came via recommendation and he didn’t deem it necessary. However, he told her it was her decision as long as she got each driver’s consent.

Polygraph examination in Belfast booked

Anne approached Lewis and explained that money was going missing from the business. She was introducing a lie detector clause in drivers’ contracts and his was up for renewal.  She had therefore booked a polygraph examination in Belfast for him the following week.  Anne made it clear that all drivers would be subject to a test on renewal of their contracts to verify their integrity.  Surprisingly Lewis agreed without question which made Anne wonder if she was wrong about him.

Lewis kept the appointment and arrived on time at our offices. Our examiner spent an hour on the pre-test interview getting to know a little about Lewis.  He went through the questions that were going to be asked and Lewis seemed comfortable with them.

Having taken the test, Lewis contacted Anne to let her know that he was available for work. He continued working for the remainder of the day.

Results reveal far more than expected

Anne got the results 24 hours later. They confirmed that it was Lewis who had taken the £40. It also transpired that he hadn’t been declaring all the fares he was taking. Anne had thought it odd about the amount of fuel he was claiming but his car was a ‘juice guzzler’ so she’d shrugged it off.

The following morning Anne asked Lewis to call in at the office when he was free. She confronted him with the results asking what he had to say about them.  He admitted the theft and was immediately dismissed for gross misconduct. He apologised profusely and explained that he’d had financial problems due to his divorce. Whilst Anne felt sorry for him, it was impossible to have employees that she couldn’t trust. She has now written into her contracts that lie detector tests may be initiated at any time, if the management considers them necessary.

More details about polygraph services

It’s worth noting that lie detector tests often reveal much more than you might suspect. This is why they are used by a number of police forces in the UK. They open up areas of investigation, with carefully formulated questions, that may not have been considered previously.

Is your company losing money and you suspect an employee of stealing?  Do you think someone is being dishonest?  If you’d like to discuss or order a polygraph examination in Belfast, or elsewhere in Northern Ireland, please call our confidential and free helpline on 85 176 3360.

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