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Million dollar gamblers: a case of embezzlement in South Whitehall Township

Jillian Alderman (Graziadio School of Business and Management, Pepperdine University, Los Angeles, California, USA)

Publication date: 20 June 2019

Issue publication date: 8 July 2019


Theoretical basis

The fraud diamond theory, the COSO framework on internal control and theories of ethical leadership and ethical decision making are applied.

Research methodology

The details of this case were compiled using publicly available information, including court records and news reports. No modifications were made to the names of individuals or places mentioned in the case. All resources have been properly cited.

Case overview/synopsis

Employee embezzlement is a common issue in limited resource organizations when adequate controls are not in place to prevent or detect fraud. In such organizations, personal financial hardships can drive individuals to commit crimes that are out of character. This case is a story of a respectable small-town couple implicated in a near million dollar embezzlement scheme. Students are asked to consider what went wrong and propose solutions for the prevention of similar crimes. Lessons learned from this case emphasize the importance of ethical leadership, creating a strong ethical environment and how small unethical acts can escalate over time.

Complexity academic level

Instructors can utilize this case to teach the topics of ethical leadership and decision making, fraud prevention and detection and internal controls. The themes of this case fit well into any business ethics, accounting or auditing course at the undergraduate or graduate level. The case has been implemented in courses for full-time and part-time MBAs, and master’s programs in finance, human resources and accounting.



Disclaimer. This case is written solely for educational purposes and is not intended to represent successful or unsuccessful managerial decision making. The authors may have disguised names; financial, and other recognizable information to protect confidentiality.


Alderman, J. (2019), "Million dollar gamblers: a case of embezzlement in South Whitehall Township", , Vol. 15 No. 3, pp. 171-180.



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