MONTPELIER - The Marquet Report on Embezzlement has a special place for the Green Mountain State.
“We found states like Vermont that seem to be in the top ten every year,” Marquet International CEO Chris Marquet said.
Marquet’s company focuses on business risk management. For five years he has ranked states on embezzlement risk. After five years of data Vermont ranks second highest for risk of loss and second highest in the Embezzlement Propensity Factor, the percentage of embezzlement losses compared to the state's GDP.
“He has not proven that to my satisfaction,” Vermont State Auditor Doug Hoffer said.
Hoffer isn't buying in to Marquet’s formula or Vermont’s ranking. But he does say certain factors make Vermont susceptible to embezzlement.
“In a small (entity) like a volunteer fire department or boy scouts or whatever it may be typically there's one person doing everything,” Hoffer said.
“So it's just ripe for that.”
Three cases come to mind recently. A hospital employee in Berlin, a fire fighter in Barre and a state worker in Montpelier are all charged with embezzling from their employer.
Hoffer and Marquet both agree the way to stop embezzlement is by putting more people in position to look over finances. But that's about their only common ground when it comes to this report and its ranking of Vermont.
“It's a highly trusting community so perhaps that's another reason why you have these kinds of thefts,” Marquet said.
“Is he a Vermonter? How does he know how trusting we are? That’s an incredible statement," Hoffer said.