Todd Mosher was scrambling last year to save his marketing company, Zone 5.

After filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in June, and fighting eviction from the company’s downtown Albany, New York, office, Mosher could not keep up. Zone 5 was forced out of business in January. The debts totaled more than $670,000.

Mosher devoted almost three decades to build Zone 5. The firm did web design, recruiting campaigns and communications work for Union College, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, AWS Truepower and Proctors Theatre. At its peak, Zone 5 had more than 30 employees.

Zone 5 shuttered in part because a “trusted employee,” accounting manager Michelle Quentin, had been embezzling money for at least seven years. She stole more than $800,000 from Zone 5 since 2009. In November, Quentin pleaded guilty, was sentenced to state prison and must pay $500 a month in restitution. At that rate, it would take 131 years for Mosher to recover what she stole.

Employee theft is a serious risk for small businesses, but it is rarely discussed. It happens more than people suspect and most companies are vulnerable to it.

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