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☛ Keeping your finances secure when paying horse training facilities 7-11-16

HAVE HORSES IN TRAINING?

 

HOW TO KEEP YOUR FINANCES SECURE

 

By Rick Dennis
July 11, 2016

Rick Dennis

Over the years, I’ve worked on a myriad of Risk Management cases involving either the theft or embezzlement of funds from a client’s bank account or credit cards.  However, the conclusion or “Root-Cause-Analysis” allowing this theft to occur is generally the same. Inadequate or non-existent banking security practices, inadequate accounting practices along with misguided trust, on behalf of the client, is usually the culprit. More and more we’re seeing these types of thefts occurring in the horse industry emanating from horse-training facilities.

 

For the record, these types of criminal infractions aren’t relegated to one particular part of the horse industry but seemingly encompasses the industry “across-the-board.” Training facilities should be aware of the fact that if the proper security is not in place and maintained for a protection of client assets and a theft generates from an individual working at the facility acquiring the bank account and routing number off of a client-issued check for training or other purposes, or a credit card number, it’s quite possible the training facility can have culpable liability issues in the matter.

 

The two methods used to facilitate the thefts are:

 

1.         The clients bank account, and

 

2.         The clients credit card.

 

THE CLIENTS BANK ACCOUNT

 

Using No. 1 as an example, I just completed analyzing a case involving the theft of over $500,000 during a four-year period, using the client’s bank account and routing numbers as the extraction vehicle. The thefts emanated from a horse-training facility. While I’m not at liberty to discuss the specifics of the case due to an on-going criminal investigation, my “Root-Cause-Analysis” identified over-trust on the client’s behalf as well as non-secure banking practices, inadequate record keeping, i.e, usual and customary personal accounting practices, and the absence of an established and integrated Risk Management Program as the culprit.

 

However, by designing, implementing and integrating an active Risk Management Program, the clients are able to prevent future thefts of this type along with a possible recovery of assets. Upon discovery of the theft, the client filed criminal charges, the alleged perpetrator was arrested, criminally indicted afterwards and is awaiting trial.

 

Dakotah Lindsey Harrell (Defendant) is identified as a former assistant trainer at Merritt Wilson Cutting Horses. The thefts occurred while Harrell was employed at this location according to clients.  For additional information please click on the following link:

 

Click for Dakotah Harrell’s arrest warrant>>

Click for Dakotah Harrell’s booking>>

Click for Dakotah Harrell’s Facebook page>>

Click for Dakotah Harrell’s Indictment article>>

 

CLIENTS CREDIT CARD

Using No. 2 as an example, an ever-increasing and growing problem inundating the horse industry is the unauthorized use of, or misappropriation of, client’s assets using the clients credit card as the extraction vehicle. Generally, thefts of this type occur when an unsuspecting client provides a training facility with his or her credit card number for an incidental purchase of some type. Thereafter, the client discovers ongoing unauthorized purchases by the perpetrator, but the damage is already done and possibly significant. Afterwards, an arrest and prosecution usually follows. Again, as a Risk Analyst/Threat Assessment Manager, I can hypothetically surmise the “root-cause-analysis” as:

 

1.         Over trusting the recipient of this information on the client’s behalf,

 

2.         Inadequate accounting and monitoring practices on the clients behalf, and

3.         the absence of an active and integrated secure Risk Management Program within the confines of the client’s financial practices.

 

The following is an article published in Ratemyhorsepro.com regarding a Brock, Texas, trainer stealing money from a client’s credit card. She had previously been indicted in Alabama for the same offense.

 

Click for Ratemyhorsepro.com article>> 

 

RECOVERY OF ASSETS PURSUANT TO A THEFT

 Generally speaking, it’s very difficult to recover one’s assets after a theft. In the case of cyber-security breaches or thefts “over-the-internet,” the chances of recovery are almost nil simply due to the fact that the perpetrator is located in another country. In the case of domestic thefts, the probable chances of asset recovery is low simply due to the fact the accused has already spent your money and it’s gone and legal litigation for an attempted recover is an expensive proposition with no guarantees of success.

 

The two most used methods for a recovery of assets is by judicial restitution after the arrest and conviction of the violator, or filing a complaint with the IC3 Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the event of credit card theft. For the record, credit card thefts are usually performed by the Secret Service. My best advice to prevent the theft or unauthorized use of a credit card is to prevent it before it occurs by instituting sound financial practices in your life style.

 

COMMON-SENSE BANKING PRACTICES

 When I’m providing a general security consulting service, designing and implementing a Risk Management Program after a review, or compiling and formulating a Risk Management report after a review, I always advise the client to use common-sense banking practices to safe guard his or her valuable assets. (e.g.)

 

1.         Never blindly trust an individual with your personal banking information,

 

2.         ALWAYS safeguard your financial institution information whether this information is your internet banking passwords, bank account routing and account numbers for checking accounts or credit card type and numbers,

 

3.         NEVER blindly provide this information to anyone,

 

4.         NEVER allow your computer to save your login information, (e.g.) user name and password, When using the internet to pay your bills, always make sure you’re on a secure network,

 

5.         When disposing of financial information, always use a shredder or completely burn this information,

 

6.         ALWAYS set up an auxiliary bank account with a limited amount of funds for use in conjunction with a trust or holding account. Never pay bills directly from a trust or holding account. In the event of a breach of security, the thief will only have a limited amount of assets to steal – not your entire bank account,

 

7.         ALWAYS monitor your bank account activity multiple times a week, if not on a daily basis, to apprise yourself of any suspicious activity on your bank account. In today’s high-tech banking industry, an app can be downloaded on your smart phone enabling this secure process and

 

8.         INVEST in a credit-monitoring service to alert you of any changes in your credit report or suspicious activity.

 

There are plenty of resources available to seek advice from to protect your assets and provide additional information on the subject matter. Knowledge and common sense are the keys to success and prevention.  Be proactive, not reactive!

 

“Until Next Time, Keep ‘Em Between The Bridle!

 

Richard E. “Rick” Dennis (CPP)

Email: windrivercompany.rd@yahoo.com

Web Site: http://www.windrivercompanyllc.com

 

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15 Comments

  1. I had the same thing happen to me with my credit card at a training facility. Thank goodness I caught it in time. The damage was small and I didn’t have to pay the bill. Fired the trainer and moved on. Taught me a lesson. Really happy you’ve brought this to the attention of our industry. Many thanks.
    Bill

  2. Just when you think the horse business is changing its corrupt ways, now this. I’m amazed at the schemes some concoct to steal money.
    Jan

  3. When I read things like this happening in our industry, it just makes me sick. Thank you Rick for all you and Glory do.
    Carol

  4. Thank you for writing articles for Glory’s site. You are providing invaluable information to the horse industry. Allaboutcutting.com is by far the best magazine in the industry – accurate and honest information.
    Wanda

  5. Rick, Thank you for providing the horse industry with your insight and expertise.Very valuable information.
    Michelle

  6. Rick,
    You’re a pragmatic master of facts. Great info! Great article!
    John King

  7. Good article.Very informative.
    Lucia

  8. Great advice from Mr. Dennis. How many people would even think of setting up a separate bank account to pay your horse trainer? And only putting in enough funds into that account to cover the expenses. Great idea.
    William

  9. A very inclusive and enlightening article. Enjoyed it. Thanks.
    Beth

  10. It’s amazing the knowledge you have about different subjects. Always enjoy reading articles.
    Jeff

  11. Why aren’t folks requiring background checks on trainers and their help that they’re doing business with. Sounds logical to me.
    Bud

  12. As usual, a lot of good info Mr. Dennis. Amazes me the amount of criminal-minded people that have come into the horse business. Didn’t use to be that way.
    Derrick

  13. You would think somebody would have caught this stealing long before 4 years went by. Eye-opening lesson to learn. Hard lesson at that. Very expensive one.
    Kim

  14. I think horse trainers of yesterday were pretty honest for the most part. Don’t know about the ones today. All the reports of this one going to jail and that one going to jail pretty much proves some are criminals. Seems like the industry is taking a down-hill plunge for the worst.
    Kevin

  15. Maybe the solution for horse trainers and their help would be background checks. Let’s face it, private business requires it. Why not the horse industry?
    Martha

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