Skimming the Most Common Way to Commit Fraud

Embezzling money from the employer is a temptation too strong for some to resist.

The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), a professional association of 30,000 anti-fraud specialists, puts a high cost on occupational fraud and abuse. According to its most recent Report to the Nation on Occupational Fraud and Abuse, losses topped $761 million in the U.S., with the typical organization losing 6 percent of its annual revenues to fraud.


Advertisement


Thousands of executives with financial reporting responsibilities use the Comperio on-line library to access the type of information and interpretive guidance PricewaterhouseCoopers' own professional audit staff use around the world. Key content areas include guidance from the FASB, EITF, PCAOB, SEC, and others as well as PwC's interpretive guidance. Get more information and sign up for a complimentary 30-day trial.


The most common schemes are asset misappropriations, such as skimming revenue, stealing inventory or payroll fraud. “Not surprisingly,” the 2004 report said, “the asset that was most frequently targeted was cash. Of 471 asset misappropriation cases we reviewed, 93 percent involved the misappropriation of cash.”

Take the case of a bookkeeper for an elementary school in Bastrop, La. who confessed to stealing $17,000 since the school year began. Instead of depositing the money into the Morehouse Parish School System account, she kept the cash for herself. After an internal audit turned up the discrepancy, she was arrested on suspicion of felony theft on March 3, the Bastrop Daily Enterprise reported.

And in Arizona, a part-time bookkeeper who earned only $400 a month for the Los Olivos Water Delivery and Irrigation District, was charged earlier this month with embezzling about $89,000 between 2002 and 2005. She was charged with four counts of theft for money embezzled between 2002 and 2005.

The Arizona Republic reported that Michelle Blanchard, 39, would ask the water district's board members to sign blank checks, supposedly so she could pay the district's bills, but would cash the checks instead.

What did she do with the taxpayer money? According to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, Blanchard bought a 2006 Chevrolet pickup truck.

In one case in Sterling, Colo., a secretary for a construction company used her access to employees' personal information, including their Social Security numbers, to steal the identity of at least one employee. She allegedly purchased about $6,000 worth of merchandise, including computers, cell phones and items from Dillard's department store. She was caught after the victim started hearing from Dell about unpaid bills for computers he never purchased, the Journal-Advocate reported.

The ACFE says that fraud is uncovered more often by employee tips than through audits or other methods, and that confidential hotlines reduce fraud significantly.

You may like these other stories...

Federal judge tosses IRS lawsuitsBernie Becker of The Hill reported that a federal judge sided with the IRS on Thursday, tossing out two lawsuits filed against the tax agency over its improper scrutiny of Tea Party groups...
Amidst the dark clouds hovering over the IRS this year—ranging from the lingering Tea Party scandal to other improprieties to damaging budget cuts—at least there's a ray of sunshine in a new report from the...
SEC, Big Four Chinese affiliates make progress in talks over audit documentsMichael Rapoport of the Wall Street Journal reported that the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Chinese affiliates of the Big Four...

Already a member? log in here.

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Oct 30Many Excel users have a love-hate relationship with workbook links.
Nov 5Join CPA thought leader and peer reviewer Rob Cameron and learn ways to improve the outcome of your peer reviews while maximizing the value of your engagement workflow.
Nov 12This webcast presents basic principles of revenue recognition, including new ASU 2014-09 for the contract method. Also, CPAs in industries who want a refresher on revenue accounting standards will benefit.
Nov 18In this session Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA tackles what to do when bad things happen to good spreadsheets.