Employee fraud during the pandemic: how HR can spot it and what can be done to prevent it

Employee fraud during the pandemic: how HR can spot it and what can be done to prevent it

Excerpted from Lexology by Fox Williams LLP

Fraud is endemic and it costs businesses a fortune.

In its 2020 Report, the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners estimated that 5% of all revenue generated by organisations – some three and half trillion pounds globally – is lost every year through fraud committed by employees. Some of these are mega-frauds involving tens or hundreds of millions, even billions, being misappropriated by CEOs or high-profile businessmen (the generalisation here is justified to an extent: male employees commit 70% of workplace fraud).

To think of corporate fraud brings to mind the most infamous and large-scale fraudsters such as Bernard Madoff and Robert Maxwell. However, whilst the vast majority of frauds committed by employees are much smaller than this, they still each cause, on average, losses of more than £100,000.

The seniority or the position of trust of the person committing a fraud will often be highly relevant. Robert Maxwell was the Chairman and stole the pension fund, but assistants will often have high levels of trust reposed in them. Joyti De-Laurey, for example, was personal assistant to investment bankers at Goldman Sachs who was able to steal over £4 million from them over the course of four years by exploiting the trust of those who relied on her.
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