Adult son stealing from business


New Member

I am new here, thank you for taking the time to read this.

My 27 year old adult son works in the business that I own. He has had a large role in building it since I put up the money to start it about 8 years ago. He was not going to go to college, so I figured this was a good way to let him create his own job.

He has worked hard over the years, but he has consistently taken money from the business to spend on personal expenses. He uses the company credit card he has to buy everything from food to TVs to clothes and whatever else you can think of. There is a lot of cash in the business too, so I am pretty sure he takes some of that off the side too.

I have not been working full time at the business until last summer. I had other employment until then, and the company did not have the space for me to work at until we leased a larger office last summer. I have been taking a salary that is far less than his salary.

Long story short, lately he has been telling me that I should stop working there and get a job elsewhere because it's only causing problems, costs too much, etc. Yet he is practically never in the office because he's spending almost all of his time in a city 200 miles away, trying to expand the business there.

As a part of that effort, he rented an apartment, purportedly so the workers could stay there while working in the new location. He outfitted it quite nicely with company money. Now I notice that there are credit card bills for a motel nearby - he's having the workers stay in motels when they are there and he's keeping the apartment for his own personal use. He has 2 children and a girlfriend who he only sees once a week since he is down in the new location "trying to grow the business and make more money for everyone" almost all the time now.

Does all this sound incredulous? I suppose it is. He is very persuasive, a much better "talker" than I am. I express myself better in writing.

I guess I am looking for advice. If I were super hard nosed and harsh I suppose I could fire him. He does not handle money well, whatever he gets he tends to just spend extravagantly and he pays bills late almost always. So I start feeling bad about what would happen to him. But maybe this is a case of just needing to pull the band aid off? He would probably hate me and maybe we would never speak again, I don't know.

Please don't be mean in your replies - I know this is a bad situation but all I ever wanted to do in life was to help him. I have another son who is severely disabled and I have always felt awful about that.


Well-Known Member
Do you have an accountant? Maybe the first thing would be to do an audit to see what the situation really is. Based on that you could decide what to do.


Well-Known Member
If he is using the businesses money for his own personal reasons, he is stealing. If it were my kid, he'd be fired. He doesn't want you to work there because he wants to hide his deeds from you. This particular forum is for minor children. You may want to post next time in Parent Emeritus w here we are parents of adult child over eighteen.

Smells like fish to me. I don't know if you trust him. Do you? If not, why would you quit your business? Why give him so much responsibility? If so, then that's different. Does he have a history of trying to scam people, you and others? Stealing? Lying?

You ever feel bad about what what would happen to YOU (yes, you matter) and your other loved ones if he somehow scams you all out of money? Does he seem to care about you, when he is not asking for something from you?

You may have a problem with him, but not enough information. From the little you have said, I think you are a nice mother who may be getting robbed blind by perhaps a child with a narcissistic or antisocial personality disorder. Is his favor a schemer, whether he lived with you or not (DNA is huge).

You have nothing to feel guilty about with either child. They become adults and make choices. They can take the lessons we taught them or not, and we can not control them. Your disabled son is not your fault either. Why would this be your fault? I'm sure you are doing everything in your power to help him reach his highest potential.

I would change your user name. You are NOT dumb.
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New Member
Your difficult child is somewhat like me. Only difference is I stopped (a few weeks ago only). Your son uses the company credit card. Look for the purchases he has made. If you have a greater power to make decisions then he has, start telling him that you are gonna take it off his cut. That will serve as a warning call. He is a good talker, but when things are solid in the books, he will stumble for sure. On top of it, you can tell him what will happen if these events are realized by the staff of your company/firm ? Paint a picture of his reputation lost. That might be enough to set him straight. If not, then the elders(most of the people here are elder to me) of the forum will point out towards something more solid. by the way, I was able to remain undetected only because my father used to put some of his personal cash into the flow, later I used to balance the books and take a part of the excess cash. I stopped it by making him maintain an account for his personal cash. Look for the loopholes of your accounting system. That way you will be able to stop the unrealized 'loss' of the business capital.
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