Those familiar with internal fraud (i.e. committed by your own employees) know it is expensive, particularly when it involves executives. The executives have more access to information and assets, and that leads to bigger frauds.
Bielinski Brothers, a large builder of homes in southeastern Wisconsin, apparently didn’t suspect one of their own. Robert Brownell worked for the company for 10 years, most recently as CEO with a $175,000 annual salary plus perks.
It is known that Brownell conspired with Robert Mann of Mann Brothers Construction to exploit the billing process. Also involved was a partner at the law firm of Michael, Best & Friedrich, named Michael Gral. Currently, ten players in the fraud have been charged federally. A really cool graphic illustrates how the players were connected to Brownell.
The known losses to Bielinski Brothers are at least $10 million, and some suspect the actual losses could be as much as $20 million. The money stolen by Brownell has not been found, and none of the obvious vices (drugs, gambling, infidelity) have been identified.
Full text of the story from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is found here.