Vox Media sues ex-employee

In new legal docs, Vox Media says an ex-employee stole over $200,000 by secretly cashing out travel rewards without their knowledge, and continued  the alleged thievery even long after leaving the company. #BoldMove

Vox, best known for explaining the news not being the news,  filed a lawsuit against Graig Mansfield on April 14.  It’s kind of a crazy story, especially considering Mansfield’s alleged scheme went undetected for so long.

The media company — which includes Vox.com, Verge, SB Nation, Eater etc — claims Mansfield  worked as their Procurement Manager in the finance department from August 2012 to June 2015. During this time Mansfield’s job was to manage corporate assets “including rewards-program accounts for corporate credit cards and frequent-flier programs” and set up employees with corporate credit card accounts.

According to Vox the company was a startup when Mansfield joined and thus didn’t have a policy in place for travel rewards or frequent-flier miles racked up using corporate accounts. Vox claims it wanted to use the money for holiday parties or company events, but hadn’t decided yet. Problem is, according to Vox, “Mansfield gave access to the travel rewards accounts only to himself; no other Vox Media employee had access to them.” Probably a red flag, but that’s for another day.

Vox says Mansfield took advantage of that access and used the points for himself, cashing them out for $500 Mastercard Bonus cards and $100 gift cards (which, as anyone with a travel rewards card knows, is pretty easy to do).  Mansfield was so bold in his endeavor he had the cash cards sent to his personal address, not Vox headquarters, according to the accusations. In some cases he even converted the points into luxury goods, Vox says, and had those sent to his personal address as well.

Vox says the “shameless” conduct went on throughout his employ and continued even after Mansfield left the company. Specifically it claims Mansfield used Vox assets to purchase a TAG Heuer Men’s Aquaracer Stainless Steel Watch worth $1,713 a full 6 months after he departed for a different job in Georgia.

“Mansfield never disclosed to Vox Media that he bought luxury items with the company’s rewards account or that he simply paid himself tens of thousands of dollars above the salary and benefits,” says Vox. Interestingly, the media company only discovered the theft long after Mansfield was gone.

How Mansfield went undetected for so long (especially in a company chock-full of journalists) remains a mystery, but it wasn’t until an accountant asked for activity on the accounts in April 2016, and Mansfield was still listed as the primary contact, that his alleged scheme was discovered.

Vox is now looking to recover the money lost, which it believes is at least $210,000. Vox says it “cannot be certain that it has uncovered the entire scope of his fraud” considering Mansfield was the only one with access to the accounts for so long.

On LinkedIn Mansfield lists one of his jobs at Vox as managing “company-wide corporate card program for employees”. He now works as the “Senior Financial Analyst” for the Boys and Girls Club of America.

We reached out to Mansfield and will update if we hear back.

Vox had no comment.

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