Dealership controller embezzles $1.1 million
Employee at BMW store sentenced to 21/2 years
In its sentencing memo, the prosecution sought a 33- to 41-month prison term and said Vence-Small had a “history of financial improprieties with at least two prior employers,” both of which fired her. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office said she wasn’t prosecuted in those cases. According to a court filing, one of the former employers is Friendly Honda of Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
Come again… committed the same type of crime with two previous employers and never prosecuted?
This is interesting and brings to light a couple of things:
- If the dealership did indeed perform a comprehensive background check for which I’m tempted to think they did for a $150K salary, none of her previous offenses would have popped up due to former employers not pressing charges. One would think that even under the assumption that was the case, the state would have still pursued charges due to the nature of the crime being a felony
- If they did indeed file charges, Connecticut is a conviction only state — so a dismissed case would not show up at the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch
- Because on this current case she was charged with Wire Fraud, it falls into Federal USDC Jurisdiction. Yet, there is no mention of any previous cases filed at that jurisdictional level
- A state or county level search would not have sufficed. Mind you, even if she was arrested in those 2 previous occasions and featured in a mugshots or blotter type of publication, you cannot use an arrest as a basis for employment declination
- Would a former employment verification phone call with previous employers have disclosed her improprieties? Highly unlikely given the current climate of fear that HR managers operate under when it comes to giving any derogatory references of job performance
- Was the employee truthful in her resume about past employers and the reason for leaving? Any gaps in employment questioned?
Because we don’t know all the pertinent facts about this case or her previous accusations, the above is only a hypothesis of how this case fell between the cracks as the BMW dealership didn’t have much recourse to pertinent information prior to hiring this person.
She began embezzling 50 business days after being hired in August 2014 for the $150,000-a-year position, which included personal use of a luxury vehicle.
“Vanessa thrived on making it seem like she was being the hero and pointing out our flaws to improve them, while she was seeing the opportunities of how to steal from us,” dealership President Paula Callari said in court as part of a witness impact statement.
Callari said the thievery caused the store a huge amount of trouble.
“We were all concerned of the dealership finances and that we were not making the profits we should have been,” she said. “We had to let go of many people and changed several pay plans. But month after month, nothing seemed to change and no one could figure out why. She had an answer for everything but would reassure me that things will be so much better by year-end.”