The entire foundation of a solid partnership is trust and the common interest of growth and success.
However, choosing a suitable partner and running a business together isn’t always a simple task; especially if you suspect one of the partners is stealing.
3 crucial steps to take if your trust is breached and how to prevent it:
Step #1 – Conduct Background Checks
Before you enter a new partnership, it is crucial you thoroughly understand who your future partners really are – their reputation, any criminal background, legal conflicts, past successes and/or failures etc.
You must not simply rely on a Google search, asking around or your gut feeling. Instead, utilize unbiased professionals or platforms.
Unfortunately, many sorts of scams are all too common between partners, those who have been good friends for years and even between family members.
You must be sure to protect yourself in advance by knowing exactly who you are dealing with as it is very easy to be fooled.
A legal agreement can’t really protect you or get your money back if the money has vanished.
We once conducted a background check for a potential partnership. Our investigation revealed that the potential partner had indeed established 11 companies as he had claimed, however, 8 of them faced financial difficulties that led to their closure.
The potential partner’s assets were foreclosed or seized and he had accumulated debt summing a total of about $750,000 owed to companies and suppliers. In addition, we discovered that 51 injunctions were filed against him to seize his assets, 9 of which are still open today.
This information was never revealed to our client by the potential partner nor did it come up through Google. Our background check saved our client from serious future financial troubles.
Step #2 – Gather Evidence
This is relevant if you are already in a partnership.
It is important to obtain concrete proof, after ruling out any possible accounting errors or mistakes in the books, before accusing your partner of theft.
Gather as much evidence as possible; track the company’s book entries, cash withdrawals, credit and request detailed receipts from your vendors and contractors.
Essentially, try to determine the partner’s motives and to locate the money trail.
We recently assisted with a case where a CEO of a large pharmaceutical company suspected that his partner was embezzling money from the company’s funds.
These suspensions were proven correct. His partner had been stealing from the company for over 2 years, disguising the trail as payments to vendors. He even went as far as issuing invoices from fake vendors that he himself created.
Step #3 – Plan Your Next Move
If your partner is indeed embezzling money from your company, we suggest consulting an intelligence firm to assist you, as this type of scenario is quite complex.
Pressing charges against your partner or taking any legal action can be very delicate and have consequences that can potentially harm you as well, it is advised to proceed cautiously and with expert guidance.
There are some effective “under the radar” actions that can be taken before bringing the case to public.