There are several reasons why a person would consider and actually go through with committing fraud. It could be due to a perceived pressure, for example financial problems, abuses like drugs or alcohol, pressure from superiors, or simply because the individual is a disgruntled employee who thinks the company “owes them”. Or the reason could be they want to increase their lifestyle like “keeping up with the Joneses”.
Other pressures could come from superiors who coerce employees to go along with the fraud or lose their jobs. Fraudsters rationalize their misdeeds with thoughts like; they will replace the stolen asset in the near future before anyone notices, or maybe the boss is doing it so why can’t I? Higher level employees like the CEO may rationalize that stock prices will be higher if they manipulate the financial statements, after all who they are hurting? It all comes out in the wash, right?
Creative accounting is all it takes and adjustments could be made in the future to remedy this year’s fraud. Individuals who do a fraudulent act typically have the opportunity to commit the fraud. It could be because of shoddy internal controls; even with good internal controls a determined person could find a way to override them. A CEO or manager may think they are high enough on the totem pole that no one would question their antics. Once a fraud has been discovered or reported the fraud examiner must do his/her homework.
They must secure data and documents to determine if a fraud has actually happened. Once all the evidence has been gathered about the crime and the subjects background has been determined the fraud examiner sets up an appointment which could be a planned or spontaneous event. He/she would interview the interviewee using a variety of techniques and executing objectivity, fairness and professionalism at all times. The subject who thinks the interviewer is out to help them and does ot judge their misdeeds would be more forthcoming with information so it is important that the interviewer thanks the person periodically offers breaks and concessions lie coffee or a drink. Once it has been determined that the subject was involved through investigation and preliminary interviews the examiner would sympathize with the subject stating such things as “anyone would do that in your position”. It is important that they establish a rationalization and motive for the fraud.
The fraud examiner could produce other witness’ statements to try to get the subject to reveal their motive. Once the motive or rationalization is uncovered it would be important to discover how the act took place. What opportunities did the subject have to commit the crime? Examples could be poor internal controls, management that was lax, or the fraudster was capable of outsmarting his superiors. There are many recommended methods to have a successful interview. Each case is unique and has to be handled in a different way, but the outcome is pretty much the same.
The purpose to an admission seeking interview is to determine how it was done, opportunity, why it was done, rationalization, and finally what made the person do it, perceived pressure. In closing, people are complex and unique in their make-up; there is no mold or template that determines who will commit a fraud or why they may do it. Not all people that have pressures for example sole providers of a struggling family, or can rationalize a reason, or have the opportunity will commit a fraudulent act. Basically we all have to live our lives under a certain code of conduct.
People who deviate from the honest worker lack morals in my opinion. It is up to the examiner to uncover the truth. The fraud triangle is a helpful tool that gives a standard of the typical fraudster. Classifying potential pressures, opportunities, or probable rationalizations and by using the techniques of a successful interviewer one should net the desired result in determining if the subject is indeed guilty or just being set up by the whistleblower for whatever reason.