According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), a single case of occupational fraud costs the victim organization an average of more than $1.5 million, and Certified Fraud Examiners (CFEs) estimate that organizations lose 5% of their revenues each year to fraud. In the ACFE’s 2020 Report to the Nations, a study of 2,504 cases of occupational fraud investigated by CFEs in 125 countries, the typical fraud lasted 14 months before it was detected and caused a median loss of $8,300 a month.
In an effort to educate organizations on the reality of fraud and to increase awareness of the controls that can help reduce fraud, each year the ACFE sponsors Fraud Awareness Week. Today marks day one of our Fraud Week series, Fraud Stories and Lessons Learned, and we are pleased to introduce Milton de Oca, Director of Operations for Lowers & Associates International. Prior to joining L&A, Milton served 32 years as a police officer with the Miami police department, a gangs sergeant, and finally, as the commander of the intelligence and terrorism unit.
Milton tells the story of an attempted fraud he and the L&A team helped to uncover and resolve in South America related to the procurement of ballistic vests that were to be used for dignitary protection.
Listen to the story here:
This interesting case demonstrates that fraud can come in many forms and at any level. Often it takes a considerable amount of investigation to uncover the fraud and while, in this case, we were able to exonerate the client of the loss, the ACFE reports that most organizations (54%) do not ever recover the losses they suffer at the hand of occupational fraud.
Milton advises all organizations to enlist the help of an independent outside source in cases like these in order to conduct an unbiased investigation.
Stay tuned tomorrow for another fraud story from the front lines of Lowers & Associates.
As discussed in our most recent LinkedIn post, COVID 19 has forced companies to review and amend their operations top to bottom. And whether these changes are temporary or long-term, one thing is certain: the impact on both business and employee culture is permanent.
The best businesses right now are doing two things: 1) finding ways to stay open and 2) evaluating the future. And the best leaders of these businesses understand the value of employee training, especially in times like these: a safe, secure environment creates well-being for employees and customers, which enables more innovation with less interference. Given the current circumstances, employees want to be sure that their employer is looking out for them. The first step in achieving this (while also keeping the cash registers ringing so that your strategic plan has a future) begins with a wholistic understanding of the business risks. That is, surveying.
While traditional consulting and surveying is simply not plausible right now, recent advancements in technology and encrypted video have made virtual surveying a viable option. For businesses considering a virtual survey, the team at Lowers & Associates has compiled a list of insights and considerations that may be helpful in your discovery process:
The primary benefit of virtual surveying is that it can be conducted anytime, anywhere. With no travel, virtual surveying is one of the best ways forward-thinking businesses can control costs.
Virtual surveys are less disruptive to the organization and provide quicker report-in-hand turn around. This can be a massive advantage for organizations pressed for time or with reduced staff capacity.
Always a collaborative exercise and NEVER the “lesser of two evils,” virtual surveys can often provide deeper insights than those conducted in-person (sometimes business owners feel more at ease with a physical distance between themselves and the surveyor).
Rapid advances in technology come with a learning curve. Leading risk mitigation consultants should be versed in a suite of technology applications to successfully execute a virtual survey.
Information is information, right? Sort of. Asking the right questions matters, knowing how to analyze the answers makes all the difference, and consistency is king. Virtual or not, surveyors reviewing requested documentation and/or an audio/visual recording of the survey should be able to turn around the same exact results.
Consistency is key in both business and surveying. Virtual surveyors should be able to hand over responsibilities to another surveyor if one should fall ill or become unavailable. Process can be both a businesses’ arrow and its Achilles Heel!
Virtual surveying should include an ability to perform the following:
Pre- survey meetings
Staff competency and interviews
Day to day operations
Site physical security
Policy & Procedure
Crime and illegal activity (Local and Countrywide)
Facility Design Consultation
Follow up consultation meetings
Adaptation is crucial for businesses during this real-time reinvention of the workplace, and for 30 years, Lowers & Associates has pushed the boundaries of technology to keep those workplaces safe (this includes virtual surveying). #OurWork #Together has also always been collaborative, and so we encourage you to view and share the insights, stories and applicable tips that our team has been publishing at the Lowers & Associates LinkedIn page. If you have any questions, please contact us.