From Pens To Paper To Paper Money, Corporate Fraud In The Spotlight

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Do we all indeed do it?

Steal? From the office?

As noted by The Conversation, findings show that corporate theft – that is, of office supplies – is rampant.

Consider the fact that an anonymous survey via Papermate revealed that 100 percent – yes, all – of the office workers who answered the question said they had stolen a pen from their workplace. Then there are the other, separate studies cited that show 75 percent of employees have stolen supplies in just the past year. The costs can be significant, at about 1.4 percent of a firm’s top line.

Start with pens and paper clips, and go on from there? That might be a leap of logic, perhaps, but then again, theft is theft, and viewing the corporation as a source of paper, or paper money –where “it’ll never be missed” – is what might have led to at least some of the headlines seen this past week. And the pilfering is global.

In Kenya, one notable crime – to the tune of $100 million – comes as investigators are delving into what more than 40 individuals have done with the money looted from that country’s National Youth Service. The theft occurred through the use of fictitious invoices, and multiple payments made across a single invoice.

In terms of theft on a grand scale, ARN reports that when it comes to fraud, email scams grabbed more than $22 million from companies in Australia, as noted by ACCC and ACORN.

In Dubai, a bank lost 211,000 DH (about $58,000) through embezzlement via an employee who issued credit cards to several clients by using forged documents. The cards were issued to employees of an airline and a real estate firm.

Separately and a bit closer to home, the River Falls Journalreported that a New Richmond woman was convicted this past week on embezzlement charges. The accused had failed to pay payroll taxes from employee paychecks and also defrauded a business partner – all to the tune of $197,000. Through her company, which provides healthcare services, she deducted $28,000 in payroll taxes that were not paid to the government. The $197,000 theft came from personal expenses masquerading as corporate expenses and funneled across debit cards.

Want an example of B2B fraud on a grand scale? How about a business acquisition allegedly built on sham financials?

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reported this week that – as noted by CFO.com – the former CFO, along with two other executives from Constellation Healthcare Technologies, have been charged with “duping” Ching Chu, an investor, into buying the company for $309 million, using falsified and fictitious documents as a lure. The deal went through in January 2017, and the fake documents ranged from invoices to fake spreadsheets depicting balance sheet strength. The firm went bankrupt when it was unable to service debt that had been tied to the acquisition.

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