It’s All In The Details

Repeat skimmers get comfortable the longer they get away with it. Eventually, they start missing the details.

“It’s a very easy fraud to commit these days,” said Craig Greene, founding partner of McGovern Greene LLP, a forensic accountancy firm based in Chicago in Las Vegas," in a recent article. "Dodgy trips on company or the public dime have become a major issue recently, with secretary-level administration officials, from the Treasury’s Steve Mnuchin to the Interior’s Ryan Zinke, coming under fire for hiring pricy private charters and commandeering military jets for personal reasons — Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price lost his job because of the $400,000 of taxpayers’ money he spent on charter flights. But it isn’t just a government problem. Last year, for example, the pharmaceutical company Provectus fired its CEO for billing the company $2.5 million for unsubstantiated travel expenses over three years, more than $2 million of which he never bothered to even submit receipts for."
"According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners in a 2010 report, the average company loses five percent of its revenue every year to fraud and abuse, some 15 percent of which comes from bad expense reports. And travel expenses, with their big-ticket items and hard-to-check “entertainment” budgets racked up far from corporate oversight, are prime targets for the enterprising conniver. Key to all of these varieties of travel fraud is the receipt, and those are a cinch to manufacture now, with the easy availability of sophisticated scanners, printers and Photoshop-style software."
“The tech of today makes it really easy to make up documents,” Greene said. “I book a flight on Southwest to Las Vegas from Orange County on an alleged business trip, get a quote of $226, and Southwest sends me the itinerary, which is what most people submit for their expenditures. I go into Microsoft Word and change the $226 to $426, and — boom! — I just made $200.”
"Successful cheats inevitably become sloppy, not bothering to attend to the little details that someone finally notices. In one of Greene’s cases, a businessman submitted a fake invoice that he created by splicing together two real ones. He was caught when he neglected to alter the fine print on the bottom half to match the hotel name on the letterhead. In one of Anderson’s, an employee got so lazy that he didn’t bother to alter the numbers on the receipts he was handing in."
“They were sequentially numbered from 1011 to 1033 straight in sequence, as if he’d been the only customer this restaurant had for an entire year,” he said.
There is just no shortage of skimming, it certainly doesn't seem to be slowing down, but there is one big opportunity to put a stop to it.

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