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Tag Archive for 'consultant'

An Embezzler, Clothed In Consultant’s Clothing

As you may have read in our recent blog posts, BDA celebrated our 10th year in business as the full-service marketing & sales process development consulting agency in the restoration industry. And over those 10 years, we’ve had the pleasure of speaking to many restoration contractors across the country who were and are looking to predictably grow their business by implementing The BDA Way. Some restoration contractors we meet have even worked with other consultants before they joined the BDA Client Network.

The other consulting services they may have employed before BDA range from sales & marketing to many other aspects of the business, including the technical and financial branches of the company. While there are many choices in regards to consultants and agencies to choose from, how does one go about choosing the right consultant or agency for them? How do they know they are not getting a “hack” consultant/agency, or worse-someone who is actually a criminal posing as a consultant. And when we hear these types of stories, it puts a knot in your stomach to know there are people out there that take advantage of hard working folks like small business owners, and also taint the consultation/agency industry with malicious practices.

Which leads us to this blog-we and the restoration contractor (whom we will call “Bill” to protect his privacy and the sensitive situation), felt that it was important to share this story, as it might help someone out there who is looking to engage in a consultant/agency relationship. Bill reached out to us, intrigued by our communications about The BDA Way. Bill had been seriously burned by “consultants” in the past, but as any good business owner would do, was still seeking out a way to grow his business, despite his terrible experience in the past with this other “consultant.”

Bill hired a business consulting firm out of Illinois that charged the company around $58,000 with a promise of a miraculous turnaround in 2003. The firm helped Bill hire a full-charge bookkeeper who turned out to be a serial embezzler with a long rap sheet. After the embezzler took about $100,000 from the company, she fled. To make matters worse (as if that was not bad enough), the money she embezzled was borrowed money. Plus, Bill had the responsibility of keeping not only the business afloat, but also his wife, their two toddlers and a newborn baby.

The embezzler was caught after prodding police (Bill would call 911 when they were able to find her), but not much response was given at first. According to their police detective, most law enforcement are in way over their heads with the mere mention of accounting. In fact, during the J. Edgar Hoover tenure at the FBI, all new applicants had to either have a degree in law or accounting to join (source: G. Gordon Liddy).

Eventually, the embezzler was caught after much time, resources, and emotional and financial pain. She served two years and currently pays about $50/month back during her parole. But it doesn’t end there-Bill and his wife have to sue the embezzler to keep the judgment alive for the rest of her life, otherwise she’s “off the hook” as soon as her parole is complete.

During this ordeal, Bill also learned that so few businesses prosecute when these situations happen, that the criminal element is set loose to prey on another trusting business—usually a small or family-owned business. Usually the lack of prosecution comes from embarrassment or a family member is involved in the theft and the owners don’t want to affect the thieves’ children. Most often, embezzlers are SERIAL offenders, and are expert in giving a masterful performance of contrite sorrow for their deed. Thus, although they come in sheep’s (or “consultant’s”) clothing, buyer beware of what lurks underneath the façade.

Thanks to “Bill” for sharing his story with us-we hope that it helps protect or enlighten someone in a similar situation.

So, how do you protect yourself, your business and your family from engaging with an unscrupulous person or company? We look forward to sharing tips with you in the next blog on how to protect yourself and hire the right consultant for your business.



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