Check out our new 1 hour employee theft online
course. Learn why people commit employee theft, how to
deter/prevent it and what to do when confronted with
it. See http://theshulmancenter.360training.com
Check out our seven new short uploaded webvideos
on shoplifting addiction, employee theft, and
compulsive shopping/spending at: http://theshulmancenter.com/videoarchive.html
Check out our new websites for therapy for
hoarding and cluttering. See www.hoardingtherapy.com
Check out our
newly updated blog at: http://blog.theshulmancenter.com
Happy 30th Birthday to my brother Sam! Happy 8th Anniversary
to me and my wife Tina!
Losing Our Identities, Finding Ourselves
I've been thinking a lot about this
notion of self lately. It's not a new inquiry for me as I realize I've
through many transformations in my own life and
probably still have many to go. Believe it or not, the
recent Lindsay Lohan matter got me wondering: will
her jail term really change her or will she merely do
her time and relish in the likely bidding war over
the story of her 2 week incarceration? Of course, she still
will be court-ordered to complete a 90-day treatment
program. Only time will tell if Lindsay evolves from
her seemingly endless tear of drama and chaos. But
there's hope: even Paris Hilton--after her short jail
stint a couple of years ago--seems to have stayed out
of trouble and remade her public image if not her
But on another level, we might see a little Lindsay
in ourselves. One point of view is this: Lindsay, like many early child
stars, really lose themselves and begin to identify almost entirely with
their own image or their
own accomplishments. And, as it seems in Lindsay's
case, she had (and has) two wildly dysfunctional
parents encouraging this all along. For what? Money,
glory, fame? And look what often happens--that early
child star burns up in flames. In some way, my own
father's story was very similar. He was a child prodigy pianist and by
his 30's was a very severe alcoholic and manic-depressive. My judgment is
he had little sense
of his own self. He was lost... and miserable. When
we are lost, we often try to find ourselves or numb our-
selves in addictions. This, too, was my story as I
played the hero most of my life--at a terrible cost to
realizing and claiming my own inner worth.
How many times is the star employee led out in
handcuffs? More than you'd imagine.
On this theme of finding ourselves, I'd like to
recommend a string of recent movies which, in my mind, shine
light on this. The first is "I Am Love"
with the actress Tilda Swinton. It's takes place in Italy and is in
with subtitles. Without ruining the movie too much,
it is a story about a poor Russian woman who marries a
wealthy Italian man and moves to Italy with him and
starts a family and lives in a mansion, etc. What is so
striking is how she has completely lost her self: she
forgets her Russian name, never re-visits her country of
origin, and gets so wrapped up in the uber-rich world
around her that she is totally unaware of how unhappy
she has become until she begins a torrid affair which
upsets everything in her life she thought she valued.
In "Solitary Man" with Michael Douglas, a
60ish man with a successful career, a beautiful wife and a great daughter
gets a wake-up call about his own mortality when, during a routine
physical, his doctor informs him
of a heart rythym abnormality and orders him to go
get tested. This fairly common set-up leads both to a total unraveling of
his life and a revealing of his darker, more narcissistic underside as he
proceeds to engage in
dishonest work practices which cause him to go to
prison and to get divorced. Once released, he is hell-bent
on regaining his status and wealth while trying to
reclaim his youth and power by hitting on and bedding every
possible young woman he can. How it all ends is
provocative and poignant.
In "The Kids Are Alright" with Annette
Bening, Julianne Moore, and Mark Ruffalo, a quaint California family
headed by two lesbians with teenagers born from the
same sperm donor find their illusions of what their family
is made of shattered when the teens locate their
donor Dad into their lives.
Finally, even the blockbuster action flick
"Inception" with Leonardo DiCaprio, about a man enters peoples'
dreams to either still ideas or to implant them has a
dual storyline wherein the lead character has to plumb the
depths of his own mind, his own past to heal his
guilt so he may live in today while also going on a journey to
"assist" another, by infiltrating his
dreams, to re-imagine his own relationship with his father. Confused? You
should be. A fun and provocative film and visually
So, discovering our truer selves may often be brought
on by pain or crisis whether we're looking for it or not.
In the meantime, self-help books are just the
Compulsive Theft and
Copyright 2010 Terrence
Daryl Shulman, JD,LMSW,ACSW,CAAC,CPC
According to recent statistics and surveys, more than 10% of Americans shoplift. Most people
shoplift or steal not simply due to economic worries or greed but because there are difficult emotional or psychological issues and various pressures in their lives. For most shoplifters, it's not about the money or the thing--Winona Ryder proved that. Most act out of feelings of anger, loss, disempowerment, and entitlement. And many
become hooked, addicted. Nearly 70% of shoplifters arrested will shoplift again. Have you or anyone
you know ever shoplifted?
A related behavior, employee theft, is even more pervasive. The American
Employers, estimates that retailers alone loss 2-3 times as much from
"internal theft" as from shoplifting
and that 55% of employee theft is committed by managers and supervisors.
The U.S. Chamber of
Commerce estimates that 75% of employees steal from their work place and
that most do so
repeatedly. Even "time theft" or loafing costs U.S. employers
nearly $500 billion per year in lost productivity.
The FBI calls employee theft "the fastest growing crime in
America." Have you or anyone you know ever
stolen anything from the workplace?
In addition, you've no doubt heard Oprah, Suze Orman, or dozens of others
sound an alarm about
the growing problem of individual and collective debt and financial
"dysfunctions." The primary culprit is
out-of-control shopping and spending. In 2006, Stanford University
published the results of its landmark
study which identified "compulsive buying disorder" as a
phenomenon affecting 6% of Americans
(nearly 18 million people). Men and women suffer about equally from this
disorder which often results in lying
and hiding behaviors—similar to other addictions—as well as hoarding.
Other statistics show that the
average American is nearly $10,000 in debt due to discretionary purchase
and that arguments about money
and spending are the leading cause of conflict and separation/divorce
among couples. Have you or someone
you know ever had a shopping or spending problem?
Read more of this article at: http://highperformanceproject.wordpress.com/
Former Koss Corp. Executive Charged in $31
Million Fraud--Mental Illness Likely Defense
United States Attorney James L. Santelle announced that a
grand jury sitting in Milwaukee returned a
six-count indictment charging Sujata Sachdeva (46) of Mequon, who is also
known as Sue Sachdeva,
with six counts of wire fraud. Ms. Sachdeva is the former Vice
President of Finance, Secretary, and
Principal Accounting Officer for Koss Corporation, a publicly traded
company located in Milwaukee,
The indictment alleges that Sachdeva
used her position at Koss to fraudulently obtain more than $31
million from Koss, which she used to purchase personal items and pay for
According to the indictment, Sachdeva authorized numerous wire transfers
of funds from bank accounts maintained by Koss to pay for her American
Express credit card bills. In addition, Sachdeva used money
from Koss's bank accounts to fund numerous cashier's checks, which she
also used to pay her personal expenses. Sachdeva used the money she
fraudulently obtained from Koss to purchase personal items
including women's clothing, furs, purses, shoes, jewelry, automobiles,
china, statues, and other house-
hold furnishings. Sachdeva also used the money to pay for hotels,
airline tickets, and other travel
expenses for herself and others, to pay for renovations and improvements
to her home and to compensate individuals providing personal services to
her and her family.
According to the indictment, Sachdeva
sought to conceal her fraud by directing other Koss employees
to make numerous fraudulent entries in Koss's books and records to make
it appear that Sachdeva's
fraudulent transfers were legitimate business transactions.
Sachdeva directed Koss employees to
conceal her fraudulent transfers as well as the fraudulent entries in
Koss's books and records from
Koss's management and auditors.
According to United States Attorney
James L. Santelle "this case is one of the largest embezzlement
cases ever brought in this district, and demonstrates the ongoing
commitment of this office and the FBI
to investigate and prosecute white collar offenses".
Each count of the indictment carries a maximum possible penalty of up to
20 years in prison and a fine of
up to $250,000. Sachdeva, therefore, faces a total maximum penalty
of up to 120 years in prison and fines
of up to $1.5 million, plus forfeiture of the items identified in the
indictment and restitution.
According to her attorney, Michael F.
Hart, Esq., principal in the law firm of Kohler & Hart, LLP, and a
prominent criminal defense attorney in Milwaukee, one defense planned for
Sachdeva is mental health.
Hart is quoted as saying, "We intend to show that mental health
issues played a substantial role in Ms.
What kind of mental health issue(s)
would he be referring to? Compulsive Shopping Addiction or Spending
Addiction. The following is a reprint from a popular web site on
Most of us who suffer from compulsive shopping addiction
(sometimes called spending addiction) are unaware of the problem. After
all, everything around us seems to be saying, "Buy, buy, buy!"
So...we do! We usually discover the problem only when we run out of
money. Then, sadly, we think it's an income problem. The problem isn't
income...it's being out of control with the outgo. We addicts tend to
spend money to compensate for areas in our lives where we are emotionally
out of control or damaged. I'm sure the millionaire's wife felt neglected
for all the years he was pursuing his business goals while she was left
with their several children to manage. The problem is triggered by
emotion and shows itself as spending but we have to understand the cause
of compulsive shopping addiction in order to get a handle on the
Compulsive Shopping Cause
Since most people
believe the problem is income, they mis-identify the cause as something
outside of themselves; their job, boss, spouse, taxes, the creditors,
prices, etc. This form of denial effectively blocks any kind of solution,
locking us into an ever deepening problem. Though spending is usually the
main symptom, and this, triggered by emotion, the cause goes much deeper.
When we continue to pile up spending, the cause is usually rooted in the
Spending Cycle: 1. We start with an emptiness, or negative self-esteem; a
feeling of incompleteness. 2. Signals all around us tell us if we had
some thing, we'd be seen as more important, successful, loveable, or
complete, etc. The signals come from family, friends, co-workers, TV,
radio, the Internet...anyone who has influence over us. 3. We spend to
get that success feeling, sharing news of our shrewd acquisition with
anyone who will say, "oooooooo." 4. When the bills come in we
feel even more incomplete and powerless than before, starting the cycle
all over again. Until we own the cause as something within us, we will
never have a solution. The actual cause of compulsive shopping addiction,
then, is that feeling of emptiness and low self-esteem. Solving this
incompleteness is key to finding the solution to compulsive shopping
Hoarding Article in Recent Time Magazine
Franny Gray and Lisa Horning have been working side by side in Gray's
home on and off since 2003, yet
this is the first time they've sat down together at the dining table.
That's because Gray is a hoarder, and
until recently her
table was covered with stacks of newspapers and magazines, knickknacks,
papers, empty water bottles and other odds and ends, all bundled inside
plastic grocery bags. Much of
that clutter is gone now, thanks in part to the hard work Horning — a
Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2002516,00.html#ixzz0tUmxWDgI
Shoppers--A Growing Phenomenon?
Think of them as robo-consumers: A new study from GfK
Consumer titled "Future Buy" reports that a full
31% of the U.S. population now falls into a category it calls "the
Xtreme Shopper," characterized by the
amount of time they devote to finding the best deals on everything.
"It's not so much that these shoppers do anything
that different than other consumers," Lew Paine, VP/Gfk Consumer,
tells Marketing Daily, such as relying on Internet research,
especially through mobile devices,
using multiple retail channels, and checking product reviews. "It's
just that this 31% do so much more of it.
They are using many more touchpoints and more resources. They visit more
Web sites, and are more likely
to participate in online communities."
Another third of customers, he says, exhibit many of the
same behaviors, but less frequently. And the
remaining third -- a group he calls traditionalists -- tend to shop the
way they always have.
"What surprised us most was that no matter how we
sliced and diced the demographics, income did not
seem to make a big difference -- these same three groups, in about the
same proportion, showed up at
each income level," he says, and while more affluent consumers were
slightly more likely to fall into the
"xtreme" category, the difference was not significant.
Age didn't make much difference either: "We found
plenty of Xtreme Shoppers in their 70s," he says.
Nor is it a sport limited to high-ticket purchases. In fact, he says,
young moms, prowling the Web for
groups to join and coupons for diapers and baby food, are one of the most
active shopping groups.
Another shift, the study found, is
that while finding the best deal is the ultimate goal of these hardcore
hunters, they are redefining what they mean by value, and are highly
motivated by what they see as a
ssurances that the company they buy from will continue to support their
products. "These are the
consumers who take their $150 iPod back to the Apple store, to make sure
they are learning to use all
of its capabilities," he says.
See rest of article at: http://www.mediapost.com/publications/?fa=Articles.showArticle&art_aid=131671
Shoppers on a 'Diet' Tame the Urge to Buy
Published: July 21, 2010
IMAGINE that horrible though all-too-familiar feeling: You
are standing before a fully stuffed closet and yet have nothing to wear.
Now, imagine something
worse: Your closet contains only six items, and you are restricted to
wearing only those six items for an entire month.
Now, if you can bear it,
imagine something unspeakable:
No one notices.
Nearly a month into what
amounted to just such a self-inflicted fast of fashion, Stella Brennan,
31, an insurance sales executive from Kenosha, Wis., realized last week
that not even her husband, Kelly, a machinist, had yet figured out that
she had been wearing the same six items, over and over, since June 21.
The sad punch line is that Mr. Brennan is the one who actually does the
laundry in the family.
During her experiment —
something called a "shopping diet," actually — which ended on
Wednesday, Ms. Brennan made do with the following: a black blazer and
pants from H & M; two button-down shirts, one black and one pink; a
pair of Old Navy jeans; and one well-worn pink T-shirt.
How she settled on those
items was complicated by the fact that she has two young children, a
golden retriever and three cats, and
that she was starting a new job last month with an hourlong
commute. She said she needed "six items that are animal-hair-, kid-,
food- and wrinkle-resistant. I need these items to be professional, but
also work for playing football with my son and tea parties."
She agonized the longest
over the T-shirt — the button-down shirts and suit separates were for
work, but the right T-shirt could be worn casually with jeans or dressed
up with the blazer. Her revelation at the end of 31 days, after her
husband still had not noticed, even when she wore her floral-printed
pajamas to do yard work: "Obviously, I didn't need all of these
This self-imposed exercise
in frugality was prompted by a Web challenge called Six
Items or Less (sixitemsorless.com). The premise was to go an
entire month wearing only six items already found in your closet (not
counting shoes, underwear or accessories). Nearly 100 people around the
country, and in faraway places like Dubai and Bangalore, India, were also
taking part in the regimen, with motives including a way to trim back on
spending, an outright rejection of fashion, and a concern that the mass
production and global transportation of increasingly cheap clothing was
damaging the environment.
Meanwhile, an even stricter
Great American Apparel Diet, which began on Sept. 1,
has attracted pledges by more than 150 women and two men to abstain from
buying for an entire year. (Again, undies don't count.) And next month,
Gallery Books will publish a self-help guide, called "The Shopping
Diet," by the red-carpet stylist Phillip Bloch. ("Step 1: Admit
You're an Overshopper"... "Step 9: Practice Safe, Responsible
Shopping"... "Step 10: Make the Diet a Way of Life.")
Though their numbers may be
small, and their diets extreme, these self-deniers of fashion are
representative, in perhaps a notable way, of a broader reckoning of
consumers' spending habits. As the economy begins to improve, shoppers of
every income appear to be wrestling with the same questions: Is it safe
to go back to our old, pre-recession ways? Or should we? The authors of
these diets — including some fashion marketing and advertising
executives, interestingly enough — seem to think not.
Sally Bjornsen, the founder
of the Great American Apparel Diet (thegreatamericanappareldiet.com),
said she was prompted to stop buying clothes for a simple reason: "I
was sick and tired of consumerism," she said.
Last summer, Ms. Bjornsen,
47, said she was thinking about how years of easy credit had led to
overspending on cars, homes and luxury goods. Then, looking in her own
closet, she realized that she was part of the problem, she said. For her
job, as a representative of commercial photographers in Seattle and
before that as a marketing executive at fashion companies like Nike and
Nordstrom, she'd spent $5,000 to $10,000 a year on clothes.
"I was buying in an
egregious way," Ms. Bjornsen said. "I was just kind of grossed
out by the whole thing."
"six items" experiment was conceived by two friends, Heidi
Hackemer, 31, a strategic business director at the New York advertising
agency BBH, and Tamsin Davies, 34, the head of innovation at Fallon
London, after an informal discussion about their desires to pare down
their wardrobes. The idea snowballed into a creative challenge, Six Items
See rest of article
The Shulman Center
Comes to You!
A reminder: The Shulman Center offers
counseling services here in the metro-Detroit area, by telephone and/or
SKYPE, or--in certain circumstances--we may be able to come to you.
Please feel free to contact
us to explore what option works best for
Free Intimacy with Money Telephone
It is with great excitement and confidence that I share about
the free "Intimacy with Money"
telephone seminars conducted by my long-time friend Tom Lietaert and my
more recent friend Andrew Hogan who currently work out of Boulder/Denver,
To learn more and to register, please go to: http://www.sacredodyssey.com/iwmhome.html
Website of Interest: www.financiallysmitten.com
run by Lora Sasiela. Check it out!
Books of the
Compulsive Theft & Spending in The News! July/August
July--Mr. Shulman authored three web logs on compulsive shopping at www.financiallysmitten.com
Mr. Shulman will be featured in Real Simple magazine about compulsive
Mr. Shulman will be featured in articles in The Toronto Star newspaper
and in Canada's
Chatelaine magazine on shoplifting addiction.
Shulman's online education course called "Creating an Honest and
Theft-Free Workplace" based on his book and Power Point presentation
through 360 Training Services will be available. CEs are available.
August 28--Mr.Shulman will be presenting a seminar on employee theft
deterrence and prevention for the metro-Detroit Agency on The Aging.
September 8-11--Mr. Shulman will be a guest presenter on compulsive
shopping and spending at
The National Conference on Addiction Disorders near Washington, D.C.
September: Mr. Shulman authored a chapter on employee theft for a U.K.
book entitled "Risky Business" which will be released.
October--Mr. Shulman will be featured in a Milwaukee Magazine article on
employee theft and shopping addiction
October 29--Mr. Shulman will be a featured presenter on compulsive
shopping/spending and hoarding at a metro-Detroit all-day addiction
conference for mental health professionals.
December 1-4--Mr. Shulman will be presenting on employee theft detection
and prevention at The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds
Annual Conference in Las Vegas.
Shulman created an online continuing education course on compulsive
shopping and spending called "Bought Out and $pent!"
based on his book and Power Point presentation. The course, offered
through The American Psychotherapy Association, is available for purchase
by APA members and non-members. CEs are available. He is also working on
authoring a therapist certification program in compulsive theft and
spending for the APA. See http://www.americanpsychotherapy.com/
Mr. Shulman is assisting the Baton Rouge, Louisiana court system a
court-ordered three hour
facilitated educational program for retail fraud offenders. The program
is based on material from
his book "Something for Nothing: Shoplifting Addiction and
Mr. Shulman is consulting on a major motion picture tentatively called
"The Rush" in which the lead character is addicted to
shoplifting and stealing.
Shulman continues to assist the Kingman, Arizona court system with his
study program for retail fraud offenders. The program is based on
material from his book "Something
for Nothing: Shoplifting Addiction and Recovery" (2003).
Mr. Shulman is consulting with an author who is writing a novel about two
kleptomaniacs who fall in
love with each other.
The Shulman Center
P.O. Box 250008
Franklin, Michigan 48025
(248) 358-8508 for free consultation!
sites by Terrence Shulman:
Something For Nothing
Biting The Hand That Feeds
Out and $pent
for Purchase--ON SALE through 2009!
Shulman's three books "Something for Nothing: Shoplifting Addiction
& Recovery" and "Biting
The Hand That Feeds: The Employee Theft Epidemic... New Perspectives, New
"Bought Out and $pent! Recovery from Compulsive $hopping and
$pending" are available for $25.00
each (includes shipping/handling).
International Conference on Compulsive Theft & Spending 2 DVD set (6
Hours). Recorded 9/08. $100.00.
Click here to purchase