Imagine spending twenty years studying fraud and white-collar crime. Imagine you’ve taught on the subject at the university level, you’ve written articles and books on fraud, and imagine you’ve even made a documentary on the largest case of municipal fraud in U.S. history. Top your hypothetical off with a Ph.D. in accounting, and you’d be pretty sure you could handle it if someone accused you of lying. Especially if you weren’t.
So now imagine how a woman by the name of Kelly Pope, who actually fit all of these descriptions, felt after she complained to her moving company that her movers stole some of her property, then they accused her of lying. Pope found herself on the defense, accused by the moving company of making a fraudulent claim. Says Pope in a recent Forbes article,
A crime was committed (in my case, movers working for a large moving company ransacked my drawers, found my hidden wedding bands, and stole them, during my move). I discovered the theft right after the movers left my house and immediately reported the crime to the police, offering a minute by minute account of what had happened. Next, I contacted the president of the company via LinkedIn and shared my complaint, then I waited and waited…and waited for a resolution. During that wait time, I never thought that the moving company would turn the tables on me to the point where I now find myself scared to speak about my story because the company has threatened to seek legal action…against me.
Her story plays out like a movie, complete with a lie detector test and the very real chance that her name and good reputation, not to mention her life’s work, could all be forever tarnished if she didn’t clear herself – which, Ms. Pope would find out, can be extremely difficult to do in this age of instant commentary and lies flying all over the place.
So you may be wondering …
Did our heroine pass her polygraph? Did she clear her name? Did she get her property back? And what about those thieving movers? Whatever happened to them?
Well, she didn’t get her stuff back. The law makes thievery difficult to prove without proof. But she did use a polygraph to help clear her own name against the movers.
As for the loss of wedding bands that were selfishly stolen from me, probably never to be returned or replaced by the moving company, I feel sad. But what I feel sadder about still is the way a legal maneuver was used to silence a would-be whistle-blower.
You may be wondering, by the way, about the results from my polygraph test. Was I lying? Hell No! I passed the polygraph with flying colors. I did not issue a false claim against that thief-of-a-moving company… The truth has set me free.
Not the best situation all around, but a lesson to any crummy moving companies out there thinking about crossing your customers: be careful who you steal from.