Dunkin’ Donuts experienced the consequences of a bad hire and learned an important lesson in employee screening when the store manager of a Florida location cooked up a scheme to earn herself a little extra dough.

The Despicable Dunkin’ Donuts Deception

In May 2019, Markia Nelson, the store manager of a Largo Dunkin’ Donuts location, hired a fictitious employee, clocked him in and out over the course of two months, and pocketed the extra paychecks.

In total, the “employee” logged 235 hours and “earned” wages totaling $1,610.84.

The company that owns the Dunkin’ Donuts location was tipped off to the scheme and security camera footage revealed that Nelson herself was the one clocking the employee in and out.

Nelson claimed that she was using the extra paychecks on “life expenses.”

It’s fortunate that the scheme was stopped after a relatively short period of time, however, a simple background check should have uncovered relevant information that may have prevented the theft in the first place.

Previous Criminal History

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As our Bad Hire Days articles usually go, this is not Nelson’s first brush with the criminal justice system.

Imperative ran our Critical Criminal Background investigation on Nelson and here’s what we uncovered:

While employed at Emeritus Assisted Living Facility from 2013 to 2014, Nelson stole two checkbooks from a resident whom Nelson had been caring for and forged checks totaling $62,129.15. The resulting charges and convictions are as follows:

  • GRAND THEFT: In 2014, Nelson was convicted of grand theft from a person 65 years of age or older and was sentenced to 36 months probation, to pay $500 in restitution, and to pay $807 in fines and court costs.
  • GRAND THEFT: In 2015, Nelson was convicted of grand theft of $50,000 or more from a person 65 years of age or older and sentenced to 36 months confinement, to pay $37,629.15 in restitution, and to pay $925 in fines and court costs. (Nelson was incarcerated from March 2015 to June 2017.)
  • Nelson was also charged with two counts of uttering forged bills, checks, drafts or notes, however, the charges were filed as administrative closures and were each prosecuted under the previously mentioned grand theft charges.

How could this theft (and bad hire) have been prevented?

It is inadvisable to automatically disqualify all candidates with a criminal history (disparate impact lawsuit, anyone?), but it’s undeniable that the underlying nature of some crimes pose more risk to a job than others.

When evaluating whether an applicant’s criminal history may be relevant to a given job, employers should consider a number of factors, including:

  • the nature of the offense,
  • the age of the offense,
  • the details of the role for which she is being considered,
  • and the number of offenses in her criminal history.

Given the access to employee personnel information and the responsibilities of daily cash management, there are too many opportunities for theft associated with this position for someone with two grand theft convictions in the past four years to be a viable candidate. 

Nelson is currently charged with grand theft and the case is still pending.

Don't Wait Until Something Goes Wrong

Download our eBook 7 Steps to Making Bulletproof Hiring Decisions to learn how to create a thorough background screening process that starts before an applicant even walks through your door.

Don't Wait Until Something Goes Wrong

Download our eBook 7 Steps to Making Bulletproof Hiring Decisions to learn how to create a thorough background screening process that starts before an applicant even walks through your door.