HR Disasters: HR Director Embezzles $576,000 Over 5 Years

Most of the time, I try to keep it nice and positive on this blog. There’s so many positive aspects to working in HR; The job outlook, the pay, and the exciting technological innovations happening all the time, to name a few. Sometimes however, a story comes to my attention that is so shocking and appalling, regarding HR professionals acting bad, that I have to mention it, this is one of those times.

In Antigo, Wisconsin, near Green Bay, 43 year old Susan D Tatro has been charged with 30 counts of wire fraud accumulated during her time as Director of HR at Waukesha Bearings Corporation. She allegedly embezzled over $576,000, beginning January of 2006, and ending January of 2011. The company, whose parent company is Dover Industrial Products, makes “turbomachinery-related” items. Tatro’s scheme, was to secretly write checks to herself out  of a company petty cash account. The indictment alleges she then used the said funds for “unauthorized and personal expenses.”

Detective Sgt. Dan Duley of the Antigo Police Department, was a lead investigator in the case early on. He explained that in January 2011 when they first began investigating, local authorities discovered through financial records, that the losses were much larger than anyone realized. At that point, they contacted the FBI, who handled the case from there.

“It was probably one of the larger amounts [of money] we have seen locally” said Det. Sgt. Dan Duley

If Tatro is found guilty of all charges, she will owe $250,000 for each of the 30 counts of wire fraud, in addition to serving up to 20 years in prison. US assistant attorney Timothy Funnell is prosecuting the case. Tatro will make her first appearance in court at her arraignment hearing, June 7 at 9 a.m., at Green Bay’s federal courthouse.

As I said, it’s normally my practice to focus on the positive aspects of HR, but once in a while I think it’s worth mentioning the disasters in the field as well. It’s important for those of us in positions of power to not abuse it, and to look out for others who are. Because unfortunately, as Tatro proves, these people who grossly abuse their positions, do exist. Not to say you shouldn’t trust people, but if something seems suspicious financially, and numbers aren’t adding up, don’t hesitate to investigate until you’re 5 years down the road and your company has lost over half a million dollars.


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