Dan’s downfall was “bling” — specifically, a $14,000 customized Cadillac golf cart. Dan was a purchasing manager for a manufacturing company in the Fortune 500’s Top 10 companies. He routinely sourced millions of dollars for goods and services and, ultimately, couldn’t resist grabbing an extra slice of the good life himself.
Dan was relatively young for his position, in his early 30s, but he was experienced in purchasing. He was a college graduate, had three young children and a wife, and — I would soon find out — a magnificent new home. He was well spoken, competent, and charming. Dan had risen quickly through the ranks, receiving good reviews along the way. As I came to discover, he was well liked by his managers and peers at work and enjoyed a good party. He also had a reputation for generosity. In fact, he apparently spent so freely that his peers took to calling him “Da' Money.”
Dan’s company was a vast, international group that sourced contracts that measured costs and revenues in billions. Mammoth, Inc., had a couple hundred thousand employees and had been around for decades. It was big, period.
To its credit, Mammoth had, over the years, adopted a comprehensive set of internal controls. Management had books full of published procedures, some followed more closely than others. Controls were critical as Mammoth shelled out billions each year for goods and services by its huge purchasing group. After all, it was battling against the oft-heard ...