Tag Archives: embezzlement

Equal Pay Day 2017

Equal Pay Day 2017 was yesterday, April 4, 2017.   All sorts of news stories have been posted, tweeted and blogged. As of now, it will take 169 years for parity in the work world.  But in the world of embezzlement and fraud I can tell you it is going to take even longer. Here are some statistics to get started.

Statistic #1-depending on the position, women have an even bigger glass ceiling. In 2016 women stole on average approximately .56 for every dollar stolen by a male.

Statistic #2-breaking it down by position and comparing male and female employees the women steal approximately .78 cents of a man. Comparing managers, the female managers steal approximately .84 cents. But the biggest variance is between owners and executives. This is where the men rule.  A woman will only steal, on average, .36 as compared to a man. Below is the link for the ACFE Report to the Nations 2016-see page 58 for gender:

https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/acfepublic/2016-report-to-the-nations.pdf

So what does that say? Anecdotally I will say that women are in “lesser” positions than men on average and therefore have more supervision. If you are a male owner/executive you are going to rob the company blind.   As it has been detailed before, audits do not catch fraud generally speaking. But more positions that are held by women have some internal controls: two signature authorization, limits on purchase cards etc.

Not getting political but Trump has just pulled back the 2014 Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Act put in by Obama.  This is not going to help matters.

I just was in Philadelphia doing the closing keynote for the IIA Philadelphia.  I now have a survey card that I pass out to attendees.  Just through the initial assessment I will tell you that tips and alert lines are how many people get caught.  That has also been my personal experience.

When workers see something wrong they may say something.   When people don’t think the system is fair they may not speak out or worse they may neutralize their behavior and appeal to higher loyalties and possibly may resort to embezzlement.

Stay tuned for the analysis of the attendees.

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White Noise

“Also after our incident, we started reading a lot. If you have not been a victim of embezzlement, it’s just white noise. But once you start paying attention, it’s clearly an epidemic.”  That quote came from a victim of a pink collar criminal who stole over $200k+ from their medical practice.  Getting to hear real stories from the victims is part of my job.  It’s the part that is the hardest but also very rewarding.  Listening to this doctor’s story is like a record with a scratch: she was my friend, we socialized together, she handled everything, she was a long time trusted employee.  I hear these stories each time I go to investigate.

I am trying to get the word out about these long time trusted employees who steal victim’s innocence and joy from their work.  This victim has been devastated by the theft.  Paying back taxes, reconstructing the books, and of course trying to rebuild trust with your employees and clients.  And it continues.  It continues because many of these women live in the victim’s community.  This victim sees their former employee at the grocery store.  She is not in jail.  She is actually working for a new medical practice. Justice is slow.  But luckily this victim is also trying to get the word out about medical embezzlement.  It can happen to you and then it won’t be “white noise.”

 

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Men “provide” and women “care” in white collar crime

As a wannabe academic I read as much as I can about women and crime. This week I came across the term “neutralization” by David Matza and Gresham Sykes (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Techniques_of_neutralization) 1957.

The definition from Wikipedia: Techniques of neutralization are a theoretical series of methods by which those who commit illegitimate acts temporarily neutralize certain values within themselves which would normally prohibit them from carrying out such acts, such as morality, obligation to abide by the law, and so on. In simpler terms, it is a psychological method for people to turn off “inner protests” when they do, or are about to do something they themselves perceive as wrong.

And in simplest terms:

  • The Denial of Responsibility
  • The Denial of Injury
  • The Denial of the Victim
  • The Condemnation of the Condemners
  • The Appeal to Higher Loyalties

This technical term was new to me but in my career I have experienced it every time I have interviewed a suspect about their involvement in a crime. As many investigators know you understand neutralization in order to get the story or the confession.

What is even more fascinating is the difference between men and women and their use of neutralization. So off I went into the land of academia to research this more thoroughly. A very interesting paper with 40 subjects (20 males and 20 females) gave even more insight:

Gender, Identity, and Accounts: How White Collar Offenders Do Gender When Making Sense of Their Crimes

Paul M. Klenowski Heith Copes  & Christopher W. Mullin

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07418825.2010.482536

In these interviews it became clear that all male and female subjects used different neutralizations to justify their crimes. However, their justifications varied by gender in many cases.  Men feel the need to be the breadwinner. It is part of their masculinity to provide for their families.

Women are the caregivers more generally even though being the primary breadwinner is increasing. From the study the women “claimed that the lack of capable males to support them necessitated that they assume the full responsibility as the family caregiver…For these women, the use of the defense of necessity was often coupled with the fulfilling of the caregiver role. They claimed that the necessity of their crimes was heightened because of their desire to protect or shield their family from harm… Women tended to emphasize their responsibilities as caregivers as the main driving force behind the necessity, coupled with the failures of others in their families (usually men).

Another part of the study I have seen up close and personal. Men often were “merely seeking a justifiable reprisal for the wrong that had been committed against him. Whereas the men who used this technique pointed to generalized victims (e.g., the government), the women more often pointed to specific individuals who wronged them (e.g., employers). For the business owners out there I think you will find this very fitting.

As I continue to work on pink collar crime and spread the word many of these issues come up in investigations. Knowing how men think and react in comparison to women is helpful when you are trying to put a case together. I would love to hear your experience with male and female subjects in investigations of white collar type crimes. Thank you in advance.

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Pink collar crime made the KGW news!

I was interviewed this last week by Kyle Iboshi, investigative reporter, for KGW News.  Here is the link:

http://www.kgw.com/news/investigations/more-women-arrested-for-embezzlement-than-men/408089232

The word is getting out.

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Deja vu

Last week I posted about a mom who stole from a bank.  I was even so bold to say that I thought due to the headline “Mom, daughter, sister, wife & grandma” it would get a lot of clicks.  I was wrong.  I have been thinking about why the story did not get as much attention as my other stories about pink collar crime.   It may be déjà vu to the time that Dr. Freda Adler wrote Sisters in Crime.  As you may remember, Dr. Adler wrote Sisters in Crime in 1975 during the time of women’s liberation.  She had over 300 media events including the Tonight Show and being interviewed by Barbara Walters.  But all she got was pushback from people stating she was taking away from women advancing in the workplace.  She even told me on the phone that if she knew how much grief she got she may never have written the book.  Her thesis was that women would be incarcerated in greater numbers due to more women being in the workplace.

I tweet regularly about #pinkcollarcrime.  There are amazing news articles daily (thanks to Google alerts) about women stealing in the workplace.  However, deep down I am starting to think that people don’t want to hear about nice women breaking rules and stealing.

Like Dr. Adler in no uncertain terms do I want to take away from women and their gains in the workplace.  What I want to do is to educate business owners and managers about the potential of pink collar crime.  With more and more women in the workplace and with an increasing number of women being the primary breadwinners pink collar crime will increase just due to the numbers.

Recently I was asked if I was “picking” on women.  My answer was an unequivocal no.  But if a man were doing “Catch Her If You Can-Today’s Pink Collar Criminal he may have a more difficult time than myself.  I have touched the glass ceiling, my daughter is a staunch activist (even though she still is in high school) and my family has always supported my passion for work.

There is no honesty chromosome that women possess.  That is what Dr. Adler brought up over 40 years ago.  I will keep drawing attention to pink collar crime and as Dr. Adler told me someday there just might be a Bernice Madoff.

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