JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. – Men predominate in nearly every criminal activity. One of the few exceptions is embezzlement. There, an overwhelming number of the offenders are women.
That’s true nationally, and it’s also true in Wyoming’s Teton County, where women were the accused in 80 per cent of embezzlements, 75 per cent of forgeries, and in 100 per cent cases of obtaining property by false pretenses.
You might think it’s just a case of women stealing from male bosses, but the Jackson Hole News & Guide’s Amanda H. Miller cites several cases of women working for women. The experience of the thievery devastated their former employers.
“I loved Molly,” said one business owner, a woman, speaking of her embezzling former employee and seeming friend. “I really loved her as if she were my sister. She just devastated me. She ruined my life.”
In another case, a woman at a hotel had worked up from a position as housekeeper to a supervisor, and was celebrated the day she gained her U.S. citizenship. But on the sly she was filling out timecards for an employee who no longer worked at the hotel and cashing the cheques herself. Upon discovery, her employer felt betrayed.
“Victims of embezzlement, especially in small businesses, are some of the most harmed people I see, emotionally,” said Clark Allen, deputy prosecuting attorney for Teton County. Only victims of rapes, he added, feel more victimized.
Allen told the newspaper that female embezzlers often spread rumors that the owner or employer, if a female, is on drugs or crazy. When the owner is a male, they often say he sexually harassed her. He advises against pursuing charges in the interests of revenge. The process is very painful for victims, and “they’ll never get what they’re looking for.” Many victims don’t press charges, he says.
Why are embezzlers more often women? Sociologists have been asking that for years. Mark Pogrebin, a professor at the University of Colorado in Denver, says his studies suggest that embezzlement is a crime of opportunity. In other words, women are more often in positions where it’s easiest to steal from an employer. For example, most bank tellers are women. They have the lowest-paying job in the company and the most access to cash.
Another idea is that men are socialized to engage in behavior that is more overtly risky, according to Eric Wopdahl, assistant professor of criminal justice at the University of Wyoming.
Well-known wolf killed
BANFF, Alberta – A five-year-old female wolf, the alpha of the pack that loped in the Banff and Canmore area, has been killed in traffic on the Trans-Canada Highway. Although the highway has wildlife overpasses, with fencing along the highway to prevent wildlife from crossing, the fence had a hole in it.