Middle-aged women 'best fraudsters'
Charities in Hamilton lose an estimated $9.3 million to fraud every year.
Put another way, individuals steal nearly $10 million from the city's 1008 charities annually and 57 percent of it is never reported.
But who are they, these fraudsters?
Hamilton-based BDO fraud expert Bernard Lamusse is halfway through a nationwide tour, in conjunction with the Charities Commission, designed to overturn common perceptions of fraud and fraudsters. And he knows how to pick 'em.
Typically it's a she, aged 45 - 55.
She will be in the charity's employ but not in accounts.
She's likely to be the first person at work and last to go home.
She's generally a private person who never invites people into her work space but goes into others.
She creates systems that are overly complex to follow.
Tellingly, she never goes on holiday.
"When auditors look at organisations, they look at how many people don't take any leave because that's an indication they can't afford to take holidays because they have to cover up their problems," Mr Lamusse said.
He spoke at Wintec in Hamilton last week to an audience of 75 and will be spreading the word in Auckland next week.
The $9.3m figure was taken from an annual fraud monitor in the UK that suggests 1.7 per cent of charities' turnover is stolen via fraud each year.
Surely we're more honest here? "Don't you believe it", Mr Lamusse said.
His main aim is to dispel the public perception of fraud.
"The perception out there is, 'fraud doesn't happen in our organisation'. The reason why is, 'I have trustworthy staff', but when you get to survey results, 77 percent of frauds are from paid staff - the very trustworthy staff are ripping organisations off."
Mr Lamusse said the key thing is to be aware of what causes fraud and do the unpredictable.
Importantly, remain skeptical.
For example, have an occasional look through what, or who, the organisation is paying and make sure it is a legitimate supplier and not a staff bank account.
Also make sure there's an accurate register of the organisation's assets.
Another key message is to know it's OK to report fraud either to the organisation itself, an external auditor or the Charities Commission who have a fraud prosecution team.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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