$1 Million Theft At Ruckify
Updated: 6 days ago
I am constantly perplexed by the number of people who have heard / read this story, share with me that they know a person that this has also happened to.
As if the beginning of a global pandemic was not enough...
I remember telling my former partner that I had a feeling a specific executive might be stealing from us and he was adamant that the person was trustworthy. Our revised monthly cash forecasts were consistently off target. I was always provided with a plausible reason.
Nothing was adding up. I was beginning to be very concerned. Understanding that this person had previously been an auditor and likely knew every trick in the book, I increased the frequency of my spot checks.
We were building Ruckify, the worlds largest rental marketplace, COVID had just begun and there were new challenges daily. We were hyper focused on surviving.
It was a Friday when I discovered an amount had been transferred out of our US account that didn’t make sense. I immediately contacted one of our executives to inquire and was told that it was for “expenses”. We were very capital efficient, so the amount did not make sense and I had not signed off on this so I requested the backup… ASAP.
The flimsy backup arrived by email later that evening, so I requested additional information. Once received, I was left with too many questions. I phoned the person on Saturday morning and asked directly if they were misappropriating funds from the company.
The executive initially denied the accusations but after further probing, they admitted they had “borrowed” funds a “few times”, but it was ok because they always “paid it back”.
I was both shocked and furious at having my suspicions realized. I told them that these were not our funds to misuse. Our funding was from investors and no one had a right to “borrow “ any of it.
I demanded a complete accounting of funds they had ever “borrowed”and the remaining outstanding balance.
The 80k list arrived within an hour, however I instinctively knew it was too low.
I phoned them back and told them that I didn’t believe them, and that they had an hour to come up with a full an accurate list.
We were now at 230k owed, and repeated the process until we arrived at an astounding 895k
It was not a pleasant conversation, and without going into too much detail, I was adamant they return the stolen funds within 72 hours to the company.
They made a few sorrowful, pleading phone calls and a full confession to me. The entire amount was returned by that Thursday.
We then hired a forensic accounting team from a national firm. They took several weeks to uncover additional missing funds.
Our bank and law enforcement advised that stolen funds very rarely get returned. It’s shocking at how many people have reached out with similar stories with less fortunate endings.
Corporate crime, like executives stealing from a company, can have far reaching financial and psychological impact for both the organization and the employees. Executives who steal from their company can damage the company's bottom line and negatively impact employee morale, leading to unhealthy working conditions and a lack of trust in those who are supposed to lead.
I always operate under the initial assumption that all people are good until they are not. I was shocked to see a survey that was conducted by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, which estimated 5% of the annual revenue of typical U.S. organizations is lost to occupational fraud. Moreover, the median loss caused by fraud schemes perpetrated by misappropriation of assets (the category of fraud that includes employee theft) is $130,000.
Ruckify ended up surviving the $1,000,000 theft, but ultimately could not survive a partnership.
The result is that the Professional Conduct Committee of CPA Ontario revoked Sunny Khosla's accounting designation, levied a $40,000 fine and he must pay costs of $17,000.
His actions negatively impacted many people and this will hopefully stop him for doing this to others.