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Jay P. Kennedy - Michigan State University. East Lansing, MI, US

Jay P. Kennedy

Assistant Professor, School of Criminal Justice | Michigan State University


Jay Kennedy is an expert on employee theft with a particular focus on small and medium enterprises.





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Dr. Jay P. Kennedy is an assistant professor jointly appointed to the School of Criminal Justice and the Center for Anti-Counterfeiting and Product Protection. In this role he is actively involved in research, education, and outreach efforts that focus on external partners including corporations, industry associations, and law enforcement agencies. His current research explores managerial and organizational responses to employee theft within small and medium enterprises, the incarceration and post-incarceration experiences of white-collar offenders, the sale of counterfeit goods on the Internet, and the structure of occupational pharmaceutical counterfeiting schemes. Jay’s work is interdisciplinary in nature, and his published research has appeared in a number of outlets, including American Behavioral Scientist, Criminal Justice Review, Journal of Crime and Justice, Journal of Financial Crime, Security Journal, and Victims and Offenders.

Areas of Expertise (7)

Employee Theft

White-Collar Crime

Occupational Deviance

Corporate Crime

Organizational Deviance

Product Counterfeiting

Business Ethics

Education (4)

University of Cincinnati: Ph.D. 2014

University of Cincinnati: M.B.A. 2013

Wayne State University: M.S. 2010

Eastern Michigan University: B.S. 2001

News (6)

Covid-scams have cost consumers $500+ million, with online shopping seeing the most complaints

Morning Brew  online


Covid and its uncertainty created ideal conditions for scammers, Jay Kennedy, assistant professor at Michigan State University's School of Criminal Justice, told Retail Brew: “It's really just been a repackaging to fit the pandemic, but it is ongoing. It started all the way from fake testing kits from the very, very early stages in early March.” “As consumers, we are not accustomed to... being able to vet online vendors,” he added. Kennedy told us tools like TikTok Shopping — where “you have individuals as opposed to corporations who are controlling the marketing narratives” — can help legitimize the shopping experience for some.

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Fake Brakes: A TBR Investigation into Counterfeit Brake Parts

The BRAKE Report  online


Counterfeiters can be very, very good at what they do. They “have built entire organizations. They work very hard at producing products — sometimes good products — and good schemes to get products into the marketplace,” says Dr. Jay Kennedy. He is part of the Center for Anti-Counterfeiting and Product Protection (A-CAPP) at Michigan State.

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How an unsolved murder mystery changed our pill bottles

CNN  online


These changes didn't just give consumers a tool to identify drugs that had been opened or adulterated; they changed the way we think about the products we purchase and what they should look like, according to Jay Kennedy, an assistant professor in the School of Criminal Justice and the Center for Anti-Counterfeiting and Product Protection at Michigan State University. "It shifted our perception of the packaging, but it also raised our awareness and made us conscious of the risks that exist," Kennedy said.

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Anticounterfeiting: In Search of the Unhackable



Counterfeit pharmaceuticals continue to threaten public health and safety. The International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) estimates that counterfeit drugs cause more than one million deaths per year (1).

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Recognizing the signs of embezzlement

Restaurant Hospitality  online


Unfortunately, restaurant embezzlement most frequently occurs in small independent restaurants where there’s a high-level of trust, according to Jay Kennedy, assistant professor of criminal justice at Michigan State University. “Operators don’t want to believe that they’re being taken advantage of, and it’s rare that the employee came in to take them,” said Kennedy. “They’ve usually been there for a long time and they see an opportunity.”

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Understanding Why Employees Steal ... and How to Stop It

Fox Business  


A recent study by University of Cincinnati doctoral student Jay Kennedy revealed that 64 percent of small businesses have lost items to employee theft. Overall, the stolen goods ranged from cash to products sold by the business to tools and equipment.

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Journal Articles (5)

Asset misappropriation in small businesses

Journal of Financial Crime

2018 This paper aims to increase the understanding of the types of insider financial frauds that occur within small businesses by focusing on a sample of businesses that have not employed a certified fraud examiner (CFE) in response to employee theft.

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Functional redundancy as a response to employee theft within small businesses

Security Journal

2017 Employee theft is one of the most harmful crimes committed against small businesses. In response the owners of victimized businesses can be expected to make organizational changes intended to prevent future victimizations. This study uses grounded theory techniques to analyze data obtained from interviews with small business owners regarding their experiences with employee theft. Results indicate that the decision to address employee theft was based on the owner’s perception of the severity of the theft, their perception that something could be done about the theft, and an assessment of organizational weaknesses and opportunities of future employee thefts. When theft was perceived to be significant, small business owners responded by making changes to the organization that fit with traditionally established techniques of situational crime prevention. However, the choice of techniques(s) was not random, but rather reflected a desire to achieve functional redundancy.

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Proposed Solutions to the Brand Protection Challenges and Counterfeiting Risks Faced by Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)

Journal of Applied Security Research

2016 Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are vulnerable to the same counterfeiting threats faced by larger businesses, yet, the unique brand protection challenges they face have not been explored. These challenges relate to resource constraints that make it difficult to implement traditional brand protection strategies. This article discusses the problem of product counterfeiting from the perspective of SMEs, while considering how the resource constraints they face impact their ability to establish brand protection programs. Potential solutions are described, and 10 testable propositions intended to guide future research and the practice of brand protection in SMEs are proposed.

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Emotional Reactions to Employee Theft and the Managerial Dilemmas Small Business Owners Face

Criminal Justice Review

2016 Employee theft is one of the most harmful crimes that can occur to a small business. Research on this crime has focused primarily on its financial impact and how to prevent it. However, like other forms of crime, employee theft also has more personal and subjective effects on victims. To date, these aspects of employee theft victimization have been largely ignored. We address this gap in the literature by exploring the emotional consequences of employee theft as experienced by the owners of small businesses. Guided by grounded theory methodology, we conducted a series of in-person interviews with the owners of small businesses to gain a better understanding of the total impact of employee theft. Analysis of interviews indicated that victimized business owners experienced a range of cognitive and emotional reactions to theft. At times, these reactions were severe, and they were exacerbated if the victim had a strong emotional connection with the offender.

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Sharing the keys to the kingdom: responding to employee theft by empowering employees to be guardians, place managers, and handlers

Journal of Crime and Justice

2015 Employee theft is one of the most common crimes committed against small businesses; however, the role that employees of the business can play in actively controlling opportunities for employee theft has not yet been fully explored. This article presents an employee theft prevention strategy reliant upon the active efforts of employees, not business owners or managers. This adaptation reclassifies the roles of employees, owners, and managers by incorporating employees directly into the theft prevention process as crime controllers, while owners and managers are given the role of super controllers. Transitioning owners and managers into the role of a super controller elevates them to a position of high-level guardianship and oversight, thereby allowing them to more effectively manage the business's overall theft prevention strategy. Giving employees responsibility for employee theft prevention efforts places responsibility for controlling the factors that lead to crime into the hands of employees who will serve as handlers of potential offenders, guardians of suitable targets, and place managers controlling locations where targets and offenders meet.

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