The findings, collected by accounting firm KPMG from the UK’s Crown courts, revealed that although the number of cases and value of fraud committed by professional fraudsters fell in 2012, the number of staff stealing money from their own companies increased.
Insider fraud committed by employees and managers accounted for 80% of fraud related financial losses last year.
“What we are seeing is individuals looking to feather their nests through ripping off employers, banks or the government,” said Hitesh Patel, UK Forensic Partner at KPMG.
“Times may be tough, but the data shows that some people are unwilling to give up the lifestyles they’ve become accustomed to.”
In one shocking case, a financial worker took hundreds of thousands from her company to fund a luxurious lifestyle. The financial loss resulted in the company being placed in administration and led to the loss of 20 jobs.
While high-profile cases of professional fraudsters swindling millions have fallen, the number of back-office fraud cases has increased, suggesting the financial crisis is having a personal effect on people’s morality.
Mr Patel believes the threat of job loss, corporate restructuring and pay freezes has led to a highly competitive environment and a resulting temptation to act illegally for personal gain.
Benefit fraud is also on a steep rise. While there were only three cases of benefit fraud reported in 2011, 2012 saw that number leap to 15.
This a massive threat to the government and one that’s set to grow as personal pressures mount in the UK.
If you suspect a colleague or employee of committing fraud in your company, a forensic accountant could help. To find out more, please visit our Fraud page.
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