How Desktop Surveillance Software Stopped My Former Business Partner from Fleeing with My Hard-earned Money
Imagine this: a low priced desktop surveillance software stopped a savvy thief from fleeing with hundreds of thousands of my hard earned dollars!
Ways back, my financial services company was growing faster than I expected. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking, what a nice problem to have, right? I was managing mutual and a few hedge funds, and then I added a tax filing service which grew so much faster than anticipated. I needed another business partner fast, and then I remembered Thomas. He was a college classmate of mine who became a CPA and had his own individual practice somewhere in the downtown area. I reached out to him see if he would like to merge our work and move to the suburbs (surrounded by great golf clubs and fantastic dining establishments, which was ideal). Two years ago he accepted my proposition and our combined business has truly flourished since then.
Thomas was so good with the accounting and tax filing side of our business. Our clients loved him because he was so professional and personable. When our business hit the 5 million mile mark, we celebrated by taking our spouses on a romantic cruise in the Caribbean. My side of the business created the greatest amount of income, but we were both doing very well. Thomas did an excellent job of managing our books and we were both very happy. I didn’t have to see our bank balances very often because if we needed anything we just bought it.
One Sunday afternoon, I was rained out of my golf game. Instead of going home, I decided to go to the office and catch up on some paperwork. As I passed my partner’s empty office, I noticed an unopened envelope from our main bank. I hadn’t opened up one of these bank statements in a long time so I opened it. Needless to say, I was impressed with our bank balances on the summary page. As I read through the accompanying pages everything looked in order, but a recurring bank transfer of $7500 every Thursday to a bank that I was not familiar with caught my eye. What was going on here?
I couldn’t concentrate on much else that day. Several times I thought of asking Thomas about the matter. Was he embezzling funds? I knew if I or the police pressed him, he might be held accountable but my money, however much it was, might be forever gone. What I needed was his access codes to the bank that the weekly amounts were transferring to. I’ve heard of desktop surveillance software being used to log activity on another computer from a remote location. I investigated the matter and decided to download a keylogger from Refog on to my partner’s computer and have batch files sent to me every few hours with all the characters he had typed on his computer.
It was hard to believe, but my partner had been storing over $300,000 per year. I had found the access code to his bank account and then I authorized nearly $450,000 to be transferred to a new bank account that I had opened just for this project. His offshore was left with $1.00.
After I retrieved all my money, I called Thomas into my office. I gave him a choice. Walk away from our company, tender his resignation and leave his clients with me. Or I would let him work things out with law enforcement. He chose the former option. His conversation that night with his wife should have been really interesting!