Every firm wants to find employees who are smarter than their competitors. But that can backfire sometimes when the employee starts to outsmart the employer. We bring to you 8 of these people who were as creative as they were dishonest, and made a fool out of their company.
The guy who was on jury duty for half a year
Joseph Winstead, a postal employee, was called for jury duty in October, 2003. He complied and sat as a juror for few days, while missing his work, but then, he got smarter. Realizing that the company is bound by law to pay him whenever he is on jury duty, he started forging court papers to extend his jury duty by a whooping 144 days!
Winstead was able to collect $31k as salary because of the scam, but his luck ran out when he tried to pull the same trick again in 2006. This time also, he presented the fake papers to his supervisor, asking for a leave of 40 days to attend jury duty, but the supervisor got suspicious, leading to the big unravel.
An investigation and a case followed, in which Winstead pled guilty and had to pay the Postal service $39k, along with jail time. Karma strikes back in unimaginable ways, as the court who heard the case was the same one which Winstead forged the paper to be in.
The lottery employee who rigged the system to win $16 million
Everyone tries their luck with lottery at one point or the other, but few emerge victorious. Since the numbers are random and the chance of you getting all of them right are 1 in millions. However, the same is not true for Edward Tipton, who thought that the best way to win is to cheat.
Tipton, working as Head of Information Security in Multi-State Lottery Association, manipulated the system to get the desired number for a powerball game. And, as a result, won $16 million through alias. He would have gotten away with it as well, if it was not for the strict rules of the company which prevented him to come forward with the winning ticket.
It took Tipton almost a year to find an accomplish because of no-employee-can-claim-the-lottery rule. This led to his undoing, as the company got suspicious when the “owner” of the ticket surfaced after several months. And when they found that the ticket was purchased from close vicinity of their headquarters, they knew that something was not right.
After a five year long investigation (2010-2015), they found that several family member of Tipton had started winning in MUSL lotteries… and all of them had played the “manual ticket”. The company now had enough evidence to nail the crime on Tipton.
Tipton was arrested and he is now looking at 10 years in prison, if convicted. Meanwhile, the investigators are looking for other people who benefited through Tipton, or who might be running a similar scam.
The ex-employee who “failed” to report that she’s on payroll for 12 years
Imagine you are fired from your job but are still getting paid? The honest person would inform the company instantly, while the “grey” ones like us might tell them about it in perhaps a month or two.
But a employee of Community Services Board in UK took it a hundred notches up and chose not to inform the company about the deed for 12 friggin years. Yes! The anonymous employee was fired in 1998, but kept on receiving her salary till 2010.
Her ruse was only caught when a new executive came in and looked at the balance sheets. Probably, the other executives just didn’t ask because they didn’t want to come across as rude. The “politeness” costed the company over $400k. To add to this, the company’s primary task was to help the poor, which meant that the money she stole belonged to the poor and needy.
The employee who stole coins for 7 years (over $375k)
David John Hamilton, 56, did not make a lot of money but could afford all the luxuries and even had a mistress, whom he supported.
Hamilton worked for Calgary transit and his primary responsibility was counting the cash fares. With him handling the receipt along with the cash flow, it soon became clear to him that he could take out little “bonus” out of those fares by taking them out in his knapsack.
The petty crime, which he repeated almost everyday for 7 years of his service piled up to be over $375k, proving once and for all, that no job (crime) is small if done with utmost sincerity. Hamilton’s streak ended when he got a bit too greedy and attempted to hustle over $1500 at once.
He was sentenced to prison for 3 years in 2008, and we assume that the judge banned him from carrying a knapsack for life.
The employee who stole over $250k by refunding the gift cards she herself bought
Julie Last was a customer service worker at Tesco, UK. Her typical day at work included stealing gift cards, with which she used to buy things and then refunding those things for cash.
It would have been a perfect scam if she could have resisted the urge to steal money from the tills as well, which was eventually caught on CCTV. The store manager who had previously observed the returned items to average twice as much during her shift, quickly connected the dots. And the mother of three was sentenced to 28 months in prison.
The punishment was harsher for her as the court found out even after her first arrest, she continued to indulge in the theft. The total amount of money she stole came out to around $250k.
The employee who pretended to work for the CIA
There is not a lot a supervisor can do when an employee says that he works for the CIA, and would need time off, every once a while to fulfil his patriotic duties. That is exactly the excuse which John C.Beale put across to fool many of his colleagues and supervisor in EPA (Environment Protection Agency)… and the lie was so ridiculous that they believed him as well!
Going with the flow, Beale then started taking various vacations pretending that he is either on a research tour or on CIA mission. Meanwhile, EPA covered all his expenses thinking that they are doing a favor to their nation.
Beale was so brazen or confident about the scam that he once went on a vacation for over two years, stating that he is going to work for “Langley.” During this time, not only he got his regular salary but was also given his retention bonus as well. Beale wasn’t caught in the entire 19 years of his service in EPA, and was somehow able to extract a cruise party and the continuance of his salary even after his retirement.
However, the greed of a continued salary meant the end of Beale, as the next superviser who was oblivious to Beale’s charm began asking questions, leading to the “agent” being charged with stealing more than $800k from the EPA. There’s a lesson here somewhere, you decide whether it’s either “pretend CIA works” or “don’t be too greedy.”
The firefighters who hired others to do their job
Thirteen firefighters in Cleveland, US had a great plan to earn cash and health benefits, without dealing with the fighting fire. The simple con, hire others to do your shift, and claim all the heroism and benefits.
Even outrageous is the fact that it worked, and most of them even started their own companies, while still collecting paychecks and other benefits from the state. The bizarre scheme costed the state between $6-$8 million as the co-workers who covered their shifts took sick leaves for themselves while doing so, leading to massive bottlenecks and even more benefits.
One of the extreme brazen ones, Calvin Robinson, had his colleagues do more than 8,000 hours of work on his behalf (equivalent to 4.5 years). All the 18 (13 masterminds and 5 co-workers) employees have been indicted by the jury and are facing a sentence of 18 months in prison.
The employee who outsources his job to China
When the firewall of a company (name not revealed) was continuously accessed from China, they though that were being hacked by the Chinese.
Scared and nervous, they called in the experts from Verizon to analyze their security data. To everyone’s surprise, Verizon found that it was not Chinese hackers, but an employee of the company who was responsible for the “threat,” as he had outsourced his job to a consulting firm in China!
Further probing and prodding revealed that the employee in question, was considered an ace developer, all due to the sheer professionalism of the Chinese’s firm. He even received “5 star” performance reviews and was considered the best developer in the building, earning a salary in high hundreds of thousand every year.
On the other hand, the Chinese firm was getting a meagre one-fifth of his salary to do his work. You might think that to be alright, arguing that he must be doing some work to deserve the salary, which is exactly what Verizon thought leading them to investigate his work logs.
What they found was top notch focus and sincerity in following a proper schedule at work. More specifically, coming in at 9 AM, surfing the social site, Reddit and Facebook till 5pm, and emailing management before heading back home… all done like the mechanical precision of a clock.
This guy deserves an award for figuring out the highest point of people who just doesn’t give a damn.