Why people commit fraud

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This post is a twin of my last one on Teaching Ethics in Management and Accounting because they originated in my reading of two related articles on fraud by Seb Murray (Financial Times, 13 June 2022). As the post became too unwieldy, I decided that it made better sense to split it into two.

This post also takes off from a passing reference to Donald Cressey in another recent post on Strategic Risk in Banking. Another post on Fraud, Terrorism, and Bathtub, had mentioned how those who want to commit fraud learn the loopholes over a period of time. Those loopholes provide the opportunity for fraud as discussed below. The discerning reader may also find in this post a resonance of the determining factors mentioned in yet another post on Why People Wore Masks. While wearing a mask is an act of compliance with a regulation, committing a crime is deviant behaviour, essentially constituting noncompliance with socially and culturally accepted norms, and/or in defiance of legal or regulatory sanctions. Continue reading “Why people commit fraud”

Teaching Ethics in Management and Accounting

The importance of teaching ethics in management and accounting in the context of persisting cases of corporate misdemeanour and falling accounting standards.

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In 2001, at an Enron press briefing announcing their financials, Richard Grubman, a Wall Street analyst, asked Jeffrey Skilling, the CEO, why Enron had not come out with a balance sheet. Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind described the exchange between them as follows: Continue reading “Teaching Ethics in Management and Accounting”

Frauds, terrorism, and bathtub curve

Lessons from reliability and bathtub curve for busting crimes

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Frauds and terrorism

Formidable military cantonments with awe-inspiring security have existed for centuries. Treasure, including notes and coins, have also moved for centuries. Banks have time-honoured systems and processes for internal control and audit.

Nevertheless, we hear of security breaches in military establishments. The choice of time, location, and other details point to a high level of planning. Daring and well-planned train robberies involving sovereign treasure make some Western flicks seem like minor pickpocketing. Bank frauds the size of several Satyam frauds point to governance failures from top to bottom. Investigations followed, and responsibility fixed. The immediate causes were familiar. System failures, noncompliance with laid down procedures, and ignoring established norms. One rarely identified root causes to see why noncompliance took place. And what actions could prevent them in the future. Continue reading “Frauds, terrorism, and bathtub curve”

The Wirecard Scandal

Germany is not particularly known for corporate scandals. Unlike the USA or UK. Or the rest of Europe. The last big one was Volkswagen. But, one involving Wirecard, the payment processing firm with a global footprint, has been unravelling over the last one week, since Ernst & Young (EY), the company‚Äôs auditors, announced that it could not find USD 2.1 billion (Euro 1.9 billion), roughly a quarter of the balance sheet size. This is a first for the DAX, a 30-member index trading on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. Continue reading “The Wirecard Scandal”

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