Tim Mehaffey, owner of Roof It Better in Stuart, Fla., was candid with a WPTV reporter when asked how his company is handling a case of alleged fraud involving a former employee.
“Emotionally, I don’t know how I’m keeping it together,” he said. “We were already sort of financially struggling, brought him in to help us out and he took advantage of that. I just trusted the wrong person.”
According to WPTV, Roof It Better experienced financial troubles last month, so Mehaffey ordered invoices from his suppliers and inspected each one. He discovered discrepancies, which led him to suspect a former employee has stolen somewhere between $200,000 and $300,000 from his company.
Mehaffey reported this to the authorities, and his company is currently working with affected customers to complete the work at no extra cost, says WPTV. He is juggling this with trying to recover multiple assets.
“He’s got all my files,” Mehaffery said. “He has my server. I had to have the police go and get my trucks. They were spread out between three counties.”
According to WPTV, Roof It Better isn’t the only company to be victimized by the former employee's alleged crimes. The former employee’s previous employer, Alliance Group Roofing out of Port St. Lucie, told WPTV that they too reported alleged embezzlement to authorities and are working with affected customers. The Port St. Lucie Sheriff's Office has an open and ongoing fraud investigation case.
The names of the individuals involved have not been released since no arrests have been made, nor have any charges been filed.
The Roof It Better case is not an isolated incident. Roofing contractors have been the victims of internal fraud and embezzlement for years. This year alone, RC reported on a Pennsylvania roofing contractor’s bookkeeper admitting to more than $394,000 in unauthorized charges and three men sentenced to prison for defrauding a North Carolina commercial roofing company of $1.8 million.
There is hope for contractors. National Roofing Partners of Texas won a civil trial last year against Dale Tyler, the company’s president from 2012 to 2018, who was found guilty of fraud and embezzlement. The court award $1.3 million in damages to National Roofing Partners. The company hopes their case can help other contractors know they’re not alone and should take action to prevent fraud in their companies.
“We have learned a lot that can help people manage their financial risk that would make their company stronger and our industry better,” said Steve Little, CEO of National Roofing Partners. “I’ve been encouraged by fellow owners and industry leaders to share our experience.”
Read more about how to prevent fraud in your company.