What Sam Did

Yet Sam did just that. In his eighth year at WILTRON, he embarked on his first year of larceny with a theft of $9,800, a timid start. Yes, the auditors were napping and Sam gained confidence. Emboldened by his experiment and with a passion for money, he then fully embarked on his role as a predator criminal. The second year he struck harder, $531,000, and the third year $632,000. There was a lot of money involved in the start-up of the Morgan Hill Business Park and the money Sam stole at first was buried in capital accounts, so on the books no one lost anything. I was at that time building what I thought to be the best business park in Silicon Valley, a 387-acre park in a most strategic location 20 miles south of San Jose. Sam was using the Business Park as his opportunity of the moment. He directed the proceeds of phony invoices to his private accounts in a new start-up bank called Bank of the West. Sam’s several phony accounts must have been pretty conspicuous to such a fledgling bank, but that is another story.

After two years of grand theft, there was no telling what Sam, the cunning predator, would have done next. But since he wasn’t doing the job I wanted of managing the Business Park, I relieved him from that responsibility and hired a new general manager. What a lucky move, if one can ever be said to be lucky at the time of an overall misfortune. Lucky also that since I didn’t agree with Sam’s investment judgment, he never had anything to do with our employees’ invested profit-sharing fund accounts. Sam’s remaining functions were with WILTRON Company and with our personal partnerships. WILTRON was not a good target; our cost accounting was too detailed for phony invoices. So Sam started filching from the partnerships, diverting their money to his own accounts.


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