I shut down my computer for the day and banged my head on my desk a few times. I couldn’t believe it. The auditors picked up on another irregularity and went to discuss it with Jake. This time the irregularity stemmed from my division.
I trust my employees implicitly and Jake knows this. That’s why he took all the time he needed to gather proof of the questionable supplier payments made. And the person initiating those payments. The pain in my head intensified further. I just couldn’t believe it. If I hadn’t seen the proof Jake provided, I would have told him that he was delusional.
She still seemed so innocent. I knew that her mother was sick, and this was not one of her ploys. Sending her off to spend time with her mother was the only thing I could think of to get her out of here. As soon as Jake spoke to Sean and as people around the office started catching drift of what had happened, she would be fired. My heart gave a little pang at that.
Why do I still care so much? She committed fraud in my division. I knew the reason. I had begun to fall in love with her. I never imagined that she would ever do something like this. I began going through everything I had asked her to double check for me. I never imagined that she would be changing supplier banking details. She must have had ample time to research it since I told her in advance that she would have to work last weekend. She had a laptop at home with remote connectivity to the server and all the time in the world to do whatever she wanted. She didn’t imagine that we would notice what she’d done. I couldn’t put my finger on her motive. Then it struck me.
Her mother was sick. She probably needed the money to pay for the treatment. A lump formed in my throat. I thought we trusted each other. She could have asked me for help, I would have given it in an instant. I finally understood how Connor must have been feeling this whole time. I told him to get over it. I was so insensitive. I guess that’s how humans are generally until they’ve experienced the same thing. Only then can they empathize. I feel like calling him and apologizing for being so insensitive and ignorant.
I sighed knowing that I would have to the one who spoke to her before she got a call from HR. I sent her a text asking her if she could meet for breakfast on Tuesday at the popular café around the corner from the office. She immediately replied in the affirmative. I had four days to gather the courage to lay it all out in front of her, question her and tell her that she’s fired.
On Tuesday morning, I entered the café and saw her sitting at one of the tables on the deck. I walked over to her. She grinned at me. Her eyes were alight in happiness. I frowned. Of course, she’s happy, she just stole $100,000 from my company. Looking at my expression, she stopped smiling.
“Luke, is something wrong? Have I done something to upset you?”
The audacity she must have to even ask that question.
“How was working from home last weekend?”
“I told you it was fine,” she says softly.
“Did you not even switch on your laptop since no calls were received and no calendar events were to be scheduled?”
“Well I did switch on the laptop,” she bit her lip nervously.
“Why?” I gazed at her with hard eyes.
“To check what upcoming meetings you had for the week and whether any of them were conflicting. Things that I usually do on a Monday morning.”
“Did you open any of the other modules besides the calendar?”
She shook her head uncertainly.
I tossed a printed system report at her, indicating that she had signed into the supplier module on Saturday evening. She picked up the page and stared at it in horror. The report also showed that she made changes to two of the suppliers banking details before the payments were released on Monday morning.
She looked at me with tears in her eyes. “I didn’t do this Luke. I swear.”
“I’m finding it difficult to believe when all evidence points to you. You will probably receive a meeting request from HR. I just thought I’d give you a heads up.”
I stood up and walked out of the café. I could have been more sensitive. I just couldn’t deal with the betrayal.