Blind Item: Which Agency Lost $7 Million to an Accountant?

By Matt Van Hoven 

Here’s a story dating back to 2002, but despite being beyond-untimely, we thought you’d like to hear. It goes like this:

A Chicago ad agency employs Jane Accountant (this is a made up name) to run the numbers. Her closest superior is the general manager and after some time, Jane becomes trusted enough that the GM doesn’t spend much time checking her work. Jane realizes this and devises a plan that, even though she was caught, allowed her to steal millions from the cash-heavy agency (and never give it back).

We’re not accountants, but according to the legend, after getting budgets approved, Jane would go back to the forms and add additional zeros here and there. The extra money came back to her as reimbursement checks &#151 again, we’re assuming accounting wiliness was employed. After about a year of skimming from budgets, the agency’s New York office decides to consolidate the accounting across the company. Uh oh, Jane gets busted when someone in NYC finally checks her work.

Yes, she was fired, as was her GM (you know who you are). It wasn’t really the GM’s fault, per se, but someone had to fall. But, didn’t Jane get thrown into a cell for a million years? No, because the budgets she pulled from were for a major client. In fact, the biggest client the agency worked for (though it no longer does), and rather than face the embarrassment/face-mud, this shop swallowed its pride and let Jane walk away with, we hear, about $7 million. All in a year’s work.

Blind Item: Plagiarism in Advertising