As a frequent speaker on the subject of fraud, people often ask me, “How do you investigate fraud?” My answer is always the same: You look for the anomaly. To me, it sounds so simple until I step back and realize that most people cannot see the anomaly, although it is usually right in front of them.
Identifying fraud symptoms in financial statements requires observation and recognition. If you don’t look, you’re unlikely to find it. Worse yet, if you do look, are you sure you will recognize the symptoms of fraud?
Fraud, unlike acts of terror, murder, or bank robbery, is rarely observed. Instead, only symptoms or indicators, most often exhibited through changes in the financial statements, are present.
With all of the publicity that surrounded the Bernard Madoff, Scott Rothstein, ZeekRewards and Allen Stanford Ponzi schemes, among many others, you would think that people would have by now received the message about Ponzi Schemes; how they work and how those investors lose their money.
Crowdfunding is the relatively new process of using social media to receive small contributions from many different individual investors.
Rooting through and indexing large amounts of documents can be a complex and time-consuming task, placing undue burdens on investigators and clogging a case’s workload. This sort of complication can have negative effects on the timeline and ...
I was recently surprised to learn at a team meeting that my peers were not as familiar with the many Excel shortcuts that I apparently take for granted. Urged by our team to share more, I decided I should share a few of the more frequently used Excel shortcuts with you:
With the increase in accounting malpractice claims being filed today, it is of utmost importance that attorneys advise their clients on how to act in anticipation of litigation rather than being forced to react. It is becoming more a question of when than if auditors will be sued by one or more of their clients at some point during their career, and they need to be prepared at all times.
Like a magician’s sleight of hand, the barrage of headline news related to hackers and cyber criminals may divert attention away from the equally dangerous, but perhaps less obvious, threat to your corporate assets: employees. While trusted employees are moving, sharing, and exposing corporate data just to do their jobs, the malicious employee may be deliberately taking confidential information for personal gain or other nefarious reasons.
As professionals, many of us have had or will have the opportunity to serve on the Board of Directors of a nonprofit organization. This can be a rewarding experience and a way to maintain civic involvement and a connection to the community. But what if the nonprofit organization is defrauded by an employee, or worse yet, by the CEO? This event can have serious ramifications, especially if the organization receives government grants, not to mention the effects on those whom the nonprofit benefits.
Larger organizations are more likely to experience fraud by an employee’s misuse of influence in a business transaction in order to gain a direct or indirect benefit. Small organizations, however, typically fall victim to the rogue employee who directly steals the organization’s assets or misuses its resources.
A man by the name of Frank Benford. In the 1930s, physicist Benford developed a theory of leading digits, now known as Benford’s Law. Benford’s Law tells us that in a variety of data sets, the probability of occurrence of each digit (0 through 9) as the first digit in a number follows a certain distribution. That is, the digit 1 will occur with about a 30% frequency, followed by the digit 2 at 17.6%, through the digit 9 at 4.6%. See Figure 1.