We all like to imagine that with a company credit card we would be dependable, responsible, and basically just a decent person. But some simply cannot avoid temptation. Especially when they're unhappy at work.
Here are stories of people using company credit cards for their own personal benefit.
Many thanks to all the Redditors who responded. Check out more answers from the source at the end of this article!
1. Would love my own humidor.
I used to audit corporate card purchases for a fortune 50 company. I caught a guy trying to buy a $30k boat from Bass Pro and a $15k walk-in humidor.
2. There are limits.
When the Army first went to a travel card system they initially used Amex. The cards had no limit and were activated at all times.
One of my soldiers went out and bought a set of rims for his personal vehicle to the tune of $2,500.
Now, there are limits and the cards are deactivated until needed.
I was bartending one night. It was a Thursday so karoake was going on. Guy walked in in a business suit walked up to the bar and said " as long as I'm here everything is on this card." I said "sure enough what would you like to drink".
He said "when I say everything I mean every drink, shot, and food for every person". He stayed until close and tallied up a huge tab. Tipped 50%. Come to find out he had been let go but the company forgot to take his credit card. I don't know what ever happened legally but I made close to 1k in tips that night.
4. Dude must drive a ton for his job.
Buy approximately $65 of gas four times in one hour. He only had 1 company car but 3 personal cars at home. After an audit, he had been getting away with it for over a year.
5. "They were both fired for theft."
A co-worker was dating someone that also worked for our company. He used his company card to buy an addition to the girls friends house. Something like a 20k addition.
The accountants caught it, and started digging around to figure out why we had bought so much wood, drywall, and other building materials. Finally someone got the idea to start driving around and looking at the employees homes, and found the huge addition on the girlfriends home.
They were both fired for theft.
The BEST part is that it wasn't even her house, it was a rental. Once she lost her job she couldn't afford the rent anymore, and got evicted.
I'm sure the landlord was laughing his butt off at the whole thing, got a nice free addition.
The first day on the job, a barista charged my corporate card $4500 for a latte, instead of $4.50.
7. Thing is...
I worked at a strip club back in the 90's and a customer ran up a $3500 tab on his corporate Amex and left without closing it out. A few days later we got a visit from the police as he reported the card stolen. Thing is he was a regular and we had plenty of video footage of him getting lap dances while wearing his corporate issued polo shirt. He not only got fired but was charged with filing a false police report which led to his wife divorcing him.
8. "as if that was a completely normal..."
Back when I was in high school I took a cooking class, this is in a small town where the grocery store is only a stones throw away from the high school and cooking students are often sent to the store to pick up ingredients, when a student would do this they would get a little card which they used to pay and they would have sign a little form at the till (source : did this several times) so this one day the teacher ask this kid to go the store to get oats, he comes back with a bag completely full, when he's asked how much he spent on said oats he responds "about 200 dollars" as if that was a completely normal amount of money to spend on oats
I wish I was kidding.
9. This one is tough to do.
We had a co-worker, may he rest in peace. He spent 13,000 in the strip club with the company card. He would have spent more if the bank hadn't blocked the card.
10. "Apparently she felt like she wasn't being compensated well..."
Had a friend who managed to spend $20k on her corporate card over the course of about a year and a half.
Apparently she felt like she wasn't being compensated or treated well at her job (even though she actually was) and would go out and buy things on the card. Dinner, gas, books, make up, clothes, etc.
After the fact she told me that, in the beginning, she'd been careful to buy things only at places she knew her boss and his partner (the only 2 other people who had cards on the account) would shop. Then she tossed all reason aside and would basically hijack the credit card bill every month and cut it up and reprint it without her purchases on there like her boss or his accountant would never notice the discrepancy in dollar amounts.
One day her boss called her into his office and she thought she was going to get a raise. NOPE! Credit card statements all over the place. The ultimatum was, pay the money back within the week or be charged. She had to beg a relative for the money.
The dumbest part was, even after all of that, she still didn't think she was the bad person in the situation. We stopped being friends shortly after that.
Guy was overseas on a business trip in Eastern Europe and in an establishment he shouldn't have been in, decided to buy a round of drinks figuring no one would know from the name of the place what it was.
Unfortunately later he was enjoying the pleasures of a lady that worked in the establishment, and having run out of cash, forgotten he had used his work card to buy the drinks when agreeing to specific services being offered by the employee, and was then surprised to be questioned by the FD a month later on why a restaurant he had bought drinks in was also charging him a 50 euro supplement for sex!
12. I'm in the people management business.
Had an employee buy a (used) car with it.
Had an employee pay a court ordered penalty with it.
Had an employee draw down cash to buy drugs with it.
Alcohol .. sex workers ..
20 years in people management .. I've seen it all.
13. "The company barely survived."
During the 2008 recession the president of the company took a pay cut so he just started putting everything on his company card; all the gas for his families cars, dinners for his daughter's volleyball team, TV for his son's apartment, on and on, no real attempt to hide any of it. The accounting department started complaining about it, he told them to just put it in. Finally the head accountant just said no, she couldn't sign her name to this stuff anymore.
President of the company fired her on the spot, even calling the police to help escort her out of the building, telling them he suspected her of embezzling but couldn't prove it, but he feared for his safety.
A year later the scumbag golden parachuted out of the company. The company barely survived.
14. It's okayyyy!!!!
When working away, while not officially authorised, but never queried, it was generally accepted the manager there would take the workers out for a couple of drinks at the end of whatever we were doing.
Not a full piss up but a round or two at the nearest bar to where we were staying.
Manager had been out most of the day with another boss drinking when we finished work late in the afternoon, we went to the bar to have a few beers and something to eat at the hotel we were staying at.
"It's ok I'll get this one!"
About 5 rounds later we were all like "Erm are you sure this is fine?!"
"Yerush iftt'ss okayyy!!"
I'm a decent drinkier but even I was rat-arsed at the end of the night.
Wake up around 10.am and go down for food.
Apparently the majority of the booze drank that night went on the card.
We "officially" didn't get in trouble.
But now you can only use the company card for sanctioned work events.....
15. No regrets.
I once ran an audit for a company... who through my audit, found out that an employee was using her manager's credit card to foot her personal purchases. Stuff on the receipt includes massive orders for protein bars, endless entries to Paypal, and even tickets for 2 to an NFL game.
Thousands of dollars - apparently no regret was shown as she was getting canned.
16. Those friggin' 3 stars...
Recently a 3 star was busted down to 1 star and was forced to retire because he was using his Military Travel card on exotic dancers in Europe. Something like 7k total.... what's crazy is a 3 star will make 13k a month.
But god help the enlisted solider if they did something similar.
17. That downhill life.
Guy I know took his family on a ski trip to aspen. Every year. For 8 years.
18. Might wanna just retreat forever...
Not quite a corporate credit card, but in the same vein.
Many years ago, when I was in college, our student government had a "retreat" near the start of the year. The college agreed to reimburse for food, so they submitted their receipts, including their liquor store receipt. Not only will the college not pay for alcohol, drinking was forbidden at school-sponsored events. Apparently this fact was made abundantly clear to the student government. The entire government had to resign and new elections were held.
19. "Ended up repaying a little over $20k in purchases."
Worked at a retail company that gave all of its store managers corporate cards. The cards had high limits on them so the store managers could use that instead of maintaining petty cash on hand or having to use personal cards while traveling for training.
While visiting one of the stores I asked where there keurig machine was. I wanted a coffee and the closest Starbucks was a few blocks away. I had seen the manager submit her expense report with a purchase for a keurig machine, k-cups, a small bathroom fixture and a few other things. The assistant manager says "we don't have a keurig machine."
After looking into it further, turns out the manager had been using the card to buy several personal items over the last few years. Ended up repaying a little over $20k in purchases.
Not me personally but my roommate went to a networking thing out of state paid for by the company. All the salesmen have corporate cards for taking out clients and such. The second night there they all head to the strip club. One of the new guys charged about $500 on his card at the club. He reported it stolen after the trip and as far as I've heard nothing came of it.
21. Gonna have to pay.
That recent thing about American Naval officers spending their corporate money on exotic dancers and other stuff, I only heard about it because I'm in the Australian military and one of our officers was on the ship when it happened.
22. I got you.
I'm horrified to even have my corporate card in my wallet. But I did show it to a cashier to get a student discount. He asked if I had a student ID so I flashed my university corporate credit card and he believed it.
23. "He felt his personal wristwatch was work-related..."
I used to review credit card purchases. Employees would have to submit receipts and explain what each line item was for. One guy bought a $500 watch and wrote down on his spreadsheet "watch to replace my broken one." Apparently he felt his personal wristwatch was work-related and worthy of replacing with Swiss watch with automatic movement.
24. Finally they did it.
Guy lived across the country, and commuted at the beginning and end of every week. For the first few months, any of his flight or lodging expenses could be covered by the company, per his contract. After that time expired, he was expected to have either moved here permanently, or start covering his own transportation and hotels if he chose to keep commuting every week.
He simply never stopped charging his company card for it. He tried to get clever with it too - would route his flights through other cities and pretend he was conducting business there, so they were technically supposed to be covered by the company, and would "lose" hotel receipts thinking it would be impossible to prove that the hotels he was staying in were local to us. After nearly a year of catching these things and having to make him write the company a personal check every month, they finally fired him.
25. Free rent woooo!!!!
Invited their landlord out to a night on the town, in lieu of rent payment, and told the company it was for a sales lead so they charged the dinner and drinks to the company card. Basically free rent.
26. A dark, dark road.
A guy I worked with went down a dark road. Like Leaving Las Vegas dark. Hr maxed it in a month on booze and electronics. A trip was in there too. Lost his job and moved to Arizona.
27. The last straw.
Purchased lavish dinners at a local surf'n'turf (copious amounts of liquor included) for himself and his mistress (they were both married & his wife actually had a chronic illness) and then claim that the expenses were staff appreciation events.
Actually what got him fired, since when they auditors came they asked employees "What did you do at the staff appreciation event on X date?" and we were all like "What staff appreciation event?"
Honestly, at the time it was hilarious that THIS was what resulted in his firing since he was doing so much else that was so much worse -- hired his mistress, slept with her at work and fired everyone who caught them at it, she hired another relative for a basically janitorial role & paid him $30/hr (going rate for that position: $10/hr), cut salaries without cause and claimed it was because they'd maxed out, never attended meetings, stopped paying company bills (large corp had us on must-prepay-cash-only, which is UNHEARD OF for our industry) ... etc.
But the use of the corporate card was what he got canned on, since it was the easiest for them to prove.