• 2012 Report to the Nations


    Key Findings and Highlights


    Key Findings and Highlights of the 2012 Report to the Nations include: 

    The Impact of Occupational Fraud 

    Survey participants estimated that the typical organization loses 5% of its revenues to fraud each year. Applied to the estimated 2011 Gross World Product, this figure translates to a potential projected global fraud loss of more than $3.5 trillion.

    The median loss caused by the occupational fraud cases in our study was $140,000. More than one-fifth of these cases caused losses of at least $1 million.


    Fraud Detection

    The frauds reported to us lasted a median of 18 months before being detected.

    Occupational fraud is more likely to be detected by a tip than by any other method. The majority of tips reporting fraud come from employees of the victim organization.


    Initital Detection of Occupational Frauds 


    Victims of Fraud

    Occupational fraud is a significant threat to small businesses. The smallest organizations in our study suffered the largest median losses. These organizations typically employ fewer anti-fraud controls than their larger counterparts, which increases their vulnerability to fraud.

    As in our prior research, the industries most commonly victimized in our current study were the banking and financial services, government and public administration, and manufacturing sectors.

    The presence of anti-fraud controls is notably correlated with significant decreases in the cost and duration of occupational fraud schemes. Victim organizations that had implemented any of 16 common anti-fraud controls experienced considerably lower losses and time-to-detection than organizations lacking these controls.

    Nearly half of victim organizations do not recover any losses that they suffer due to fraud. As of the time of our survey, 49% of victims had not recovered any of the perpetrator’s takings; this finding is consistent with our previous research, which indicates that 40–50% of victim organizations do not recover any of their fraud-related losses.


    Perpetrators of Fraud

    Perpetrators with higher levels of authority tend to cause much larger losses. The median loss among frauds committed by owner/executives was $573,000, the median loss caused by managers was $180,000 and the median loss caused by employees was $60,000.

    The vast majority (77%) of all frauds in our study were committed by individuals working in one of six departments: accounting, operations, sales, executive/upper management, customer service and purchasing. This distribution was very similar to what we found in our 2010 study.

    Most occupational fraudsters are first-time offenders with clean employment histories. Approximately 87% of occupational fraudsters had never been charged or convicted of a fraud-related offense, and 84% had never been punished or terminated by an employer for fraud-related conduct.


    Perpetrator's Criminal Background 


    In 81% of cases, the fraudster displayed one or more behavioral red flags that are often associated with fraudulent conduct. Living beyond means (36% of cases), financial difficulties (27%), unusually close association with vendors or customers (19%) and excessive control issues (18%) were the most commonly observed behavioral warning signs.


    Conclusions & Recommendations