Responsibility of Board Members
According to research published in the Marquette report and the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud & Abuse (2016), those who commit fraud (for the first time) are among the most trusted in their organization(s). These are competent, educated employees that have risen to a level in their careers where they have access to assets and less oversight. Exceptionally few perpetrators are below 30 years of age or above 60 years. Individuals between those two ages account for 83% of cases. While data suggests that fraud is an equal opportunity crime (both genders commit the offense in equal numbers), men steal around 25% more than their female counterparts. Another interesting factoid: the longer individuals are employed, the more they steal.
Forensic accountant and Certified Fraud Examiner, Denise McClure, explains the story behind these numbers. Seasoned employees steal more than their untried workmates because they can justify it, she says. “I should have gotten a raise years ago,” “I’m under-appreciated,” “I’m only borrowing this money,” are all common rationalizations-turned-manifestos that help first-time offenders justify their illicit behavior. In the 1940s, Donald Cressy, a criminology student at Indiana University, hypothesized that there were three conditions necessary for someone to commit fraud: 1) a non-sharable financial pressure, 2) opportunity, and 3) rationalization. Today, experts call this combination the Fraud Triangle.