My boss often has one of my co-workers Photoshop new dates, prices, addresses, and even names onto invoices in order to fraudulently submit them for rebates. My boss and co-worker are very open about this, and everyone in the company (~10 people) knows that it's something they do.

I have tried to bring up the issue with my boss in the past, but have always been met with: "How are they going to find out?" and "I don't want you to worry about this"

I want to, in the very least, be able to advise my co-worker that there's a chance he could get into legal trouble if the company they were submitting the rebates to found out.

What can I do to protect my self and my coworker from repercussions?

Edit: A quick google search reveals that the laws in my jurisdiction classify the forgery as a fifth degree felony (USA) and that also failure to report any crime (except in certain situations) is a fourth degree misdemeanor.

Reporting something like this would lead to me being immediately fired.

  • 1
    I don't find the question to be off-topic because while it's a specific circumstance, many companies do commit varying degrees of fraud and the ways of handling it are certainly within the scope of navigating the workplace. I don't see this question as much as "what should I do in my situation" than "What are ways of handling circumstances such as these." As such, I voted to leave it open.
    – Chris E
    Commented Apr 20, 2016 at 18:01
  • 1
    Seems like being immediately fired might be better than having legal action take against you. Especially since it seems like you know that by not reporting them you are committing a crime. And any company that wants you to break the law for them is likely a place you don't want to work.
    – Jacobr365
    Commented Apr 20, 2016 at 20:24
  • 5
    Please, take my advice below. Unemployment is better than Prison. Commented Apr 20, 2016 at 20:27
  • The legality of this depends on where one lives. An "attaboy!" might be all that results in places where laws are fast and loose. In the US, along with much of rest of the 1st world, this may qualify as federal organized crime, with all the RICO baggage that goes along with that. You do not want the FBI, the Secret Service, the Treasury Department, et al. pursuing you for something in which you did not take part. Commented Apr 20, 2016 at 20:29
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    Regarding the edit, you may want to get legal advice on this. Forgery may refer speifically to falsifying signatures, etc.
    – Brandin
    Commented Apr 20, 2016 at 20:37

2 Answers 2


Get a lawyer ASAP. The laws in your state may or may not say that simple knowledge of criminal behavior may or may not compel you to go to authorities with the information. Only a lawyer can tell you for sure.

Go to a lawyer and let the lawyer, not you, approach law enforcement.

Here's why you should let your lawyer talk for you:

Also, your lawyer can tell you if you would be in violation of "Failure to report" laws or even "accessory after the fact".



While "the right way" is a matter of opinion, it's clear from your account that the company officially (at least internally) has made a stand that this is policy.

The simple fact is that they're committing crimes when they do this and they've been duly notified. You've done all that a person could expect one to do.

I want to, in the very least, be able to advise my co-worker that there's a chance he could get into legal trouble if the company they were submitting the rebates to found out.

They know. Just like you know. You're not talking about an obscure tenet of legal precedent. They're producing documents that aren't real. I think you've done all that can be done.

You have 3 options as I see it:

  1. Stay quiet and go along with it. You've done what you can.
  2. Leave the company as a result of this. You can choose to tell them that this is why or not.
  3. You can report them to someone. The chances that something will be done are slim and there is the potential that there could be blowback for you.

If it were me, I'd start looking for work and leave when I can without saying that this is why. If it were me.

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    Option 1 might make the OP an accessory to fraud Commented Apr 20, 2016 at 17:34
  • This is very true and that's a good point. Still an option though. :) SO many business that engage in shady behaviors (such as this one) do so with the "nothing will happen" philosophy.
    – Chris E
    Commented Apr 20, 2016 at 17:50
  • What makes you think that there would be no blow-back if the authorities were notified?
    – AndreiROM
    Commented Apr 20, 2016 at 18:12
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    That's not what I said. I specifically said, "there could be blowback for you"
    – Chris E
    Commented Apr 20, 2016 at 18:25
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    I'm downvoting this because it's close enough to giving someone legal advice about a situation where they could be criminally responsible that it should probably just be removed entirely. I think it's just too dangerous that someone might think they could follow this advice and then find out that something like Sarbanes-Oxley holds them criminally responsible for the knowledge they had that they did not escalate to the correct authority or document in the correct way. If you know a felony is being committed, you should, in pretty much any situation, talk to a lawyer.
    – msouth
    Commented May 30, 2017 at 17:55

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