About the Report

  • Summary of Findings

    • Survey participants estimated that the typical organization loses 5% of revenues each year to fraud. If applied to the 2013 estimated Gross World Product, this translates to a potential projected global fraud loss of nearly $3.7 trillion.
    • The median loss caused by the frauds in our study was $145,000. Additionally, 22% of the cases involved losses of at least $1 million.
    • The median duration — the amount of time from when the fraud commenced until it was detected — for the fraud cases reported to us was 18 months.
    • Occupational frauds can be classified into three primary categories: asset misappropriations, corruption and financial statement fraud. Of these, asset misappropriations are the most common, occurring in 85% of the cases in our study, as well as the least costly, causing a median loss of $130,000. In contrast, only 9% of cases involved financial statement fraud, but those cases had the greatest financial impact, with a median loss of $1 million. Corruption schemes fell in the middle in terms of both frequency (37% of cases) and median loss ($200,000).
    • Many cases involve more than one category of occupational fraud. Approximately 30% of the schemes in our study included two or more of the three primary forms of occupational fraud.
    • Tips are consistently and by far the most common detection method. Over 40% of all cases were detected by a tip — more than twice the rate of any other detection method. Employees accounted for nearly half of all tips that led to the discovery of fraud.
    • Organizations with hotlines were much more likely to catch fraud by a tip, which our data shows is the most effective way to detect fraud. These organizations also experienced frauds that were 41% less costly, and they detected frauds 50% more quickly.
    • The smallest organizations tend to suffer disproportionately large losses due to occupational fraud. Additionally, the specific fraud risks faced by small businesses differ from those faced by larger organizations, with certain categories of fraud being much more prominent at small entities than at their larger counterparts.
    • The banking and financial services, government and public administration, and manufacturing industries continue to have the greatest number of cases reported in our research, while the mining, real estate, and oil and gas industries had the largest reported median losses.
    • The presence of anti-fraud controls is associated with reduced fraud losses and shorter fraud duration. Fraud schemes that occurred at victim organizations that had implemented any of several common anti-fraud controls were significantly less costly and were detected much more quickly than frauds at organizations lacking these controls.
    • The higher the perpetrator’s level of authority, the greater fraud losses tend to be. Owners/executives only accounted for 19% of all cases, but they caused a median loss of $500,000. Employees, conversely, committed 42% of occupational frauds but only caused a median loss of $75,000. Managers ranked in the middle, committing 36% of frauds with a median loss of $130,000.
    • Collusion helps employees evade independent checks and other anti-fraud controls, enabling them to steal larger amounts. The median loss in a fraud committed by a single person was $80,000, but as the number of perpetrators increased, losses rose dramatically. In cases with two perpetrators the median loss was $200,000, for three perpetrators it was $355,000 and when four or more perpetrators were involved the median loss exceeded $500,000.
    • Approximately 77% of the frauds in our study were committed by individuals working in one of seven departments: accounting, operations, sales, executive/upper management, customer service, purchasing and finance.
    • It takes time and effort to recover the money stolen by perpetrators, and many organizations are never able to fully do so. At the time of our survey, 58% of the victim organizations had not recovered any of their losses due to fraud, and only 14% had made a full recovery.
2014 ACFE Asia-Pacific Fraud Conference