Employee Steals $200,000 from Employer – Submitted Inflated Pallet Invoices

Here is another reason why pallet and reusable container management is important. Stltoday.com reports that a man set up a shell company to inflate invoices he submitted to his employer for pallet purchases.

Authorities indicate that the employee stole more than $200,000 from Willert Home Products in St. Louis over the course of four years. The employee’s job included purchasing pallets from suppliers, and then passing along invoices for his employer to pay.

Part of Puntriano’s job for the household product manufacturer involved buying pallets from suppliers, then submitting invoices to his employer. This happened from November 2004 to March 2008, when the employee used a shell company to buy the pallets, and then resold to his employer at inflated prices. At other times, he reportedly submitted fictitious invoices for pallets that were never actually received. An effective pallet and container management system, if in place, would quickly identify the variance between book and physical inventory.

The employee pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud, a felony. In addition to an 18-month sentence, he was ordered to pay a fine of $60,000.

When activities such as pallet and container procurement are viewed as peripheral to the core business and are managed with little oversight, there is the potential for abuse. As such, normal controls should be in place. Additionally, a good container control system would identify variances between book and physical inventories, which would be a good cue to initiate further investigation.

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