Fremont Bank Theft: A Lesson on Why You Should Background Check Employees

Fremont Bank in California could soon face a costly reminder about the importance of monitoring and background checking employees.

The Bay Area bank has come under fire from Noopur Sethi, a Fremont resident who claims that a bank employee stole over $100,000 in family jewelry, heirlooms, and identification documents including birth certificates and social security cards belonging to her family.

Sethi has filed a $200,000 lawsuit against the bank, which includes 10 years of service from an identity fraud protection company. Before discussing how Fremont Bank might have benefitted from an employee background check, let's explore how these allegations came about.

Fremont Investigations of a Disgruntled Employee?

According to Ms. Sethi, the person responsible for stealing her valuables is a former operations manager at the Decoto Road branch of Fremont Bank in Fremont, CA. Sethi, who is an Indian-American citizen, had been a customer at the bank for many years. In 2011, both Sethi and her husband had to relocate to India for work, a situation they discussed extensively with the operations manager working at the bank at that time.

Upon returning, Sethi's key no longer fit the deposit box: she was told initially that her box had been re-keyed because of non-payment, but later the bank changed its story, claiming that her husband Sanjay had come in last year and withdrawn most of the box's contents. The problem with this assertion? Sanjay was in India with Ms. Sethi at that time.

Bank representatives have categorically denied that employees had anything to do with the theft, but the India West newspaper notes that the employee was laid off a month after the theft was reported.

Whether you are a school, bank, or small business, it's critical to properly background check employees to avoid situations like these.

Hire a Fremont Private Investigator for Employee Background Checks

It's important to remember that nothing is proven in Sethi's case: since the bank has denied that employees were involved, the law says that the organization and its employees must be considered innocent until proven guilty.

Unfortunately, what is proven is that lawsuits and employee theft are bad for any business. Numbers from Pinkerton, a major corporate risk management firm, indicate that 75% of employees steal from their workplace, which costs retail companies in the U.S. over $37 billion.

How can your company prevent these situations from occurring? It's never possible to totally stop employee theft, but hiring a quality private investigator can protect your company from the type of heat that Fremont Bank is facing in several ways:

  • Employee background checks: many companies fail to sufficiently background check the employees that they hire, which means they end up hiring people who are violent or have a history of stealing. A private investigator can give you detailed information about a person's full criminal record before you bring them on board
  • Surveillance services: proper monitoring might have prevented the Sethi family from losing out on valuable heirlooms and memories. A private investigator can conduct surveillance on employees to see how they are behaving in public
  • Interviewing witnesses: witness interviews could prove to be the key to the Sethi case, as Sethi's attorney Harmeet Dhillon has scheduled a deposition with the former employee. A knowledgeable private investigator can help you by presenting witness testimony as evidence in court

Don't let your business fall victim to an employee theft the way that Fremont Bank may have: retain the services of a skilled private investigator to ensure that employees aren't doing anything illegal at the expense of their employer.

Published on: 
March 17, 2015
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