Credit crunch sparks corporate fraud fear

Corporate fraud could soar to an all-time high this year as employees look
for new ways to beat the credit crunch, KPMG has warned.

According to KPMG’s
forensic fraud barometer, the UK last year saw the highest level of fraud since
1995, with more than £1bn worth going before the courts.

The crimes were largely perpetrated by organised gangs against the
government, but Tim Scott-Smith, senior manager in fraud at KPMG, said that the
economic slowdown could see cases against corporate firms rise.

‘What we tend to see when we go into recession is that you do get some of
these super cases uncovered, such as the one we’ve just seen with
Société Générale,’ said

He said tightening economic conditions could see some people overstretched or
with unrealistic targets to meet.

‘When money is tight, there is more of a temptation to commit fraud. Figures
are also subject to greater scrutiny, so fraud is more likely to be detected.’

While corporate fraud has, in fact, fallen from previous years’ figures,
Scott-Smith said the number of employees committing fraud has crept up to
similar levels as that of managers.

‘Managers have always committed more fraud than employees as they’ve had
greater access to funds,’ he said.

‘What we are now seeing is that employees are committing the same amounts of

‘There are a lot of activities going on outside a manager’s realm ­ perhaps
because they are technical ­ that they don’t understand and that gives employees
more opportunity to commit fraud.’

London remained the hotspot for fraud, with 65% of cases by value committed
in the capital.

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