A Conversation with Former Embezzler, Barry Webne, and Peak Manufacturing President, Amanda Hutchings
Barry Webne was once your average employee, facing financial trouble, something most of us experience at some point in our lifetime. With an MBA in accounting, he was titled as the Controller within his company, in charge of all accounting systems. He had reached a point in his life where he felt as if he had his back against the wall financially and was in a position where there was no internal control over him. In 1992, Barry saw an opportunity and took it.
For four years, Barry embezzled over one million dollars from his company. He described his crime as a sort of addiction, starting small with a thousand dollars here, two thousand there, nothing anyone would ever notice. However, after realizing he could get away with it, it only continued. “Once you start, you can’t stop,” Barry explained, “I was a model employee, everyone was telling their colleagues to be more like Barry.”
After serving six months in prison, he found another accounting job, thinking his crimes were over before he saw the opportunity to steal again. His next crime lasted from 2001 to 2006, when he, once again, embezzled over a million dollars. As a result, aside from spending 63 months in jail, he lost everything, including his family and friends.
Barry is just an example of a crime that occurs all too often. Jackson’s own Peak Manufacturing just experienced a similar situation. A model employee had been embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars at the company for years. She was a close friend of Peak Manufacturing President, Amanda Hutchings. Amanda reflects back on the discovery she found in January of 2021 and stated that it felt like a movie; embezzlement is never something you think can happen to you, but after the story came out, a number of companies reached out sharing that they had experienced a similar situation.
The Jackson County Chamber is hosting a Lunch & Learn on November 7 where Amanda will not only be recounting the story of how Peak Manufacturing was embezzled from but talking about specific accounting procedures and policies your business can implement. Barry Webne will also be speaking, sharing the red flags you can spot before the problem gets out of control.
“It could’ve been stopped. It should’ve been stopped,” Amanda continued, “Embezzlement is preventable. You just have to learn all the tricks and tools to prevent it.”
Amanda’s story is truly a microcosm of what is happening more often than business owners believe to be true. Embezzlement, fraud, and theft is happening now and is happening locally. To learn how you can detect and prevent embezzlement from happening within your own organization, join the Jackson Chamber for a Lunch and Learn on November 7, where both Barry and Amanda will be sharing their experiences.
Barry shared that employers are hesitant to ask questions, and he encourages employers and business owners to ask the hard questions, no matter how uncomfortable it may seem. Your business will thank you later.
I think business owners just need a little encouragement; they just can’t trust all their employees. Ask questions.Barry Webne
This event is made possible by Comerica Bank.