Readers, Your Help Needed on the Embezzler

I am almost speechless.

It turns out that our recent radio show guest — the admitted embezzler turned consultant to companies on how to avoid embezzlement — has been charged in a new embezzlement scheme.

Convicted embezzlerThis second alleged scheme involves activity after he served time in Federal prison. In other words, these are new charges.

Thanks to eagle-eye reader Martin Lindeskog for finding the news and pointing it out! I owe you one, Martin!

To give you some background: we had a gentleman on the radio show who was an admitted convicted embezzler. He had embezzled and served prison time in the 1990s. The topic of the show was embezzlement and how to avoid it.

The show was titled, “Confessions of an Embezzler.” A big part of the show’s draw was hearing from an actual convicted embezzler. That part has not changed. Everyone listening knew he was a convicted embezzler. He was there precisely to talk about his illegal activity so that the rest of us could learn from it.

Just yesterday we put up an article here on the site about that particular radio show. But then Martin alerted me to the new criminal charges. Here is the Toledo Blade piece describing the latest charges: Consultant on crime charged in $1M fraud.

I immediately took the show article down in order to have time to make a final decision about it. I also took down the article about it over at the radio show’s website.

This gentleman was on our show just a week after being charged the second time. He mentioned nothing about the new charges during the show.

Rather, the implication was that he was a “reformed” embezzler.

We have to remember that these are charges, and not a conviction. He is innocent until proven guilty — that’s our U.S. legal system. So it is possible that he is completely innocent and will be cleared eventually.

Our radio shows are intended to be informational. They are NOT an endorsement of the guest’s business.

But here is my concern:

I do not want anyone to think I was somehow giving the seal of approval to this gentleman or his consulting services to advise companies how to avoid embezzlement. In NO WAY, shape or form, am I endorsing him. Not for a moment.

Not being a judge or jury, I have no way of knowing whether the man is reformed or not. But I would not want anyone to assume that I believe he is reformed.

Perhaps I am being overly concerned and too conservative on this issue. But where reputation is concerned, I have learned that it pays to be careful.

Now I’m in a quandary. And I need your help.

The issue is: do these new charges change anything about an informational radio show called “Confessions of an Embezzler”?

  • Should Small Business Trends Radio eliminate the recording from our archives altogether?
  • Or should we let the reader decide? Keep the recording, but perhaps add a recorded message to the beginning about the new charges? And add appropriate written updates to the main radio show post pointing out the new charges?
  • Or should we just do nothing, since the gentleman has not been convicted a second time as of this writing? You know, innocent until proven guilty …. And he admitted right on the show to having been an embezzler (referring to the first set of charges which were from the 1990s). He was quite frank about it, sharing details about how he hid his tracks from his employer, the emotional and moral turmoil he went through, how he got caught (the first time around), and the fact that he did time in prison. So everything he talked about is still true. And the lessons are still valid.

What would a mainstream news organization do?

More importantly, what would Oprah do?

What say you to all of this? Give us some advice, please. 

UPDATE:  Based on reader input we decided to put the show back online. Here is the link to the show posting: Embezzling is an Addiction.

Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses.