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Is it illegal to exaggerate expense reports?

On Behalf of | Jul 8, 2022 | Criminal Defense

You travel a lot for work, and your company covers those expenses. You can give them a report for things like food, drinks, hotels, gas and even flights.

This is just intended to offset the natural costs that come along with doing your job. But you realize that it doesn’t seem like people go over them in too much detail. You realize that you could probably exaggerate some of the numbers.

For instance, you could pay $200 for a hotel, but then you could claim you paid $400 to stay directly at an airport hotel. Or you could round a meal up from $60 to $90. There are all sorts of little ways that you can increase it so that you get compensated for more money than you actually spent, giving you a nice little bonus for your work. But is it illegal to do this?

You could be accused of committing fraud

Not only is your boss going to be angry if they find out that you’ve been fudging the numbers, but this is technically illegal. It is known as expense fraud. You could be fired and the company will probably try to reclaim the money that you took, but they could also press legal charges.

In some ways, this is just another form of embezzlement. Employees who have access to corporate accounts will sometimes take money out of them for themselves. You’re not removing any money yourself, but increasing the amount on the expense reports means that they are paying you more than you’re owed.

Are you facing charges?

It could be that you just made an innocent mistake on your paperwork and now you’re facing serious criminal charges. If so, make sure that you know about all of the defense options you have.