ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO (KTVI) - A tight-knit, family business is betrayed after police say an employee stole tens of thousands of dollars to support a drug habit. It happened over a period of several years at a south St. Louis County trucking company.
Jasminka Carabas and her husband own EJA Trucking and H2 Logistics. Many of their employees are trusted friends. Forty-three year-old Amir Beslija was one of them. She says, “We’re more like a family here. And he was a part of this family. And everyone here felt betrayed.”
Carabas was recently pulling records for a DOT audit, and discovered the same name suspiciously popping up on issued checks. She explains, “The same person would cash three checks in a row, within an hour and a half, at three different locations.”
That person was Dewayne Sasseen. Police say Beslija was funneling money to Sasseen to fuel his painkiller addiction. Beslija’s pain pill supplier cashed about $19,000 from these checks.
Addiction expert Jared Opsal isn’t surprised. He says, “Prescription pain killers go for about a dollar per milligram on the black market. So if you have a 10mg pill, that's $10 for just one pill. And usually people are using multiple pills, sometimes 20 pills for just one day. So it very quickly turns into a very expensive addiction for someone.”
Meanwhile, the trucking company owner dug deeper. Between issuing fraudulent checks to himself, to truck drivers, and to his drug dealer, police say Beslija stole more than $60,000 from his employer.
Carabas says, “It was very hard. You know Wednesday, you know Thursday, you know Friday that he’s stealing from you, and you still have to give him a paycheck on Friday.”
Beslija was quickly arrested and confessed. He is now charged with Felony Stealing over $25,000.
The company hasn’t replaced Beslija yet. Staying afloat is now more challenging. “My husband kept telling me, something’s happening, somebody’s stealing, because the company didn’t make any money, we were barely existing,” says Carabas. Now, she hopes her company will get the money back somehow. a