Most people find themselves in need of extra money now and then. You may have taken the time to research ways in which you could help yourself and your family with your current financial situation. Of course, you only considered legitimate ways to achieve your goal of gaining additional income.

Unfortunately, someone may have learned of your additional income and accused you of committing a crime. You may not know how this situation came about, but still, you have found yourself under investigation for payroll fraud. You may not even fully understand this type of white collar crime, and even if formal charges have not yet been brought against you, it may work in your best interests to learn more about your situation.

Examples of payroll fraud

Some unscrupulous individuals may attempt to embezzle money or otherwise obtain money illegally from their places of employment. When it comes to payroll fraud, your employer or other parties may suspect you of any of the following actions:

  • Creating a ghost employee: This type of fraud involves creating a payroll slot for a nonexistent employee or for someone who recently left the company and then collecting the ghost employee’s pay for yourself.
  • Altering your pay rate: Someone could also accuse you of giving yourself a raise by coercing or working with the payroll clerk to have your rate of pay increased without the proper approval.
  • Buddy punching: Everyone has times when they are late for work or have to miss a day. With buddy punching, you have another worker punch in your time card so you get paid for hours you did not actually work.
  • Padding time sheets: It is also possible to face accusations of payroll fraud if a person suspects that you have added hours here and there to your time sheet to get paid for hours you did not actually work.

This list represents only a few of the ways that a person could commit payroll fraud. You may have never stooped to such actions, but if you face accusations of fraud, you could still find yourself in need of a strong defense.

Know your legal options

As soon as you learn that an investigation into your alleged actions has been open, it may benefit you to speak with an attorney. This legal professional can help you understand your legal rights, determine your best courses for defense and provide you with other useful information regarding your predicament.