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The College Admissions Fraud Triangle [Infographic]

byLowers & Associates | May 28, 2019

Can the Fraud Triangle Help Us Understand How the Higher Ed Admissions Bribery Scandal Happened?


High-profile stories of fraud in corporate America are commonplace, but the details surrounding Operation Varsity Blues – the biggest college admissions bribery scandal of its kind to be prosecuted by the US Justice Department – reveal how fraud is an equal opportunity threat.

Pressures, opportunities, and rationalizations of all sorts combined to create a situation for coaches, parents, admissions personnel, and test administrators to deceive the admissions system. In total, $25 million was reportedly paid in bribes and 50 defendants were named in the case.

Criminologist Donald Cressey’s Fraud Triangle offers a framework for understanding the factors that lead people to commit fraud. In the infographic below, we use the fraud triangle as a model for understanding how the college admissions scandal happened.

Colleges and universities are not immune to fraud, and it’s imperative that administrators have protections in place to safeguard their reputations and resources. The infographic outlines a few key prevention measures.

Check out the full infographic here:

college admissions bribery scandal fraud


Lowers & Associates provides comprehensive enterprise risk management solutions to organizations operating in high-risk, highly-regulated environments and organizations that value risk mitigation.
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