Respected international business services company releases details

KPMG, a respected international professional business services provider, has released details of an Australian study it has conducted that shows an increase in business fraud, and identifies gambling as a significant reason for dishonest employees to steal money from their companies.

Last August, the company sent out questionnaires to a representative sample of New Zealand and Australia's largest organisations across the public and private sectors seeking information about incidents of fraud in the period February 2006 to January 2008.

Usable responses were received from 420 organisations, with 222 577 separate incidents of fraud reported. This amounted to a "significant increase" from the previous survey in 2006.

The total value of fraud reported was $301.1 million and "gambling was the most common motivator", says KPMG's eighth biennial Fraud Survey.

"The trend is clear: Fraud continues to be a big problem for Australian and New Zealand organisations," says the report. "The worrying signs are that gambling continues to be a strong motivator for fraud, and that fraud recoveries at 11 percent have decreased substantially from the 37 percent experienced in 2006."

44 percent of the reported fraud was attributed to gambling - a twofold increase on the 2006 survey - followed by 'greed and lifestyle' at 37 percent. Gambling as a motive resulted in an average value per incident of $1 101 808 compared to $299 729 in 2006.

15 percent of the largest incidents involved some form of identity fraud, the report reveals. Non-management employees were the most likely to offend, and the most common form of identity fraud involved unauthorised use of credit cards or card numbers. Respondents reported 154 602 cases of this kind with a total value of more than $90 million.

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