Study shows weakness as employees steal startling amounts

THERE have been more than 123 criminal convictions in Australia for fraud offences over the past decade where a financial institution employee was directly responsible for the theft of some extraordinary amounts of money, a study has found.

Governance firm Warfield & Associates, who conducted an Australia-wide study, found evidence of major governance weaknesses in some of Australia's largest organisations Warfield & Associates partner Brett Warfield said the report analysed 120 cases involving 123 criminal convictions over the past 13-years.

"The sums of money that were stolen from some of the financial institutions were incredible, with five cases involving more than $10 million," he said.

"Organisations can not stop all fraud; however they should be able to identify it quickly if it occurs.

"The research revealed that almost half the 120 frauds took more than two-years to discover.

"The ease with which perpetrators in many institutions stole from customers is very concerning.

"Particularly given that more than one in six of the cases was identified by customers notifying the institution that they had a thief in their midst."
 

KEY FINDINGS:

  • $217,266,481 was stolen.
  • Five cases involved at least $10 million.
  • The largest amount stolen by an employee was $45.3 million.
  • 69 of the cases involved one of the 'Big 4' banks.
  • 68 of the perpetrators were male and 55 were female.
  • Perpetrators ranged in age from 20 to 60 years old.
  • At least 30 of the perpetrators had been employees for 10 years or more before they stole.
  • At least five perpetrators had prior criminal histories for deception related offences.
  • Ninety-two per cent of the cases involved a perpetrator acting alone.
  • 104 of the 123 offenders served time in jail.

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