By Teh Hooi Ling
YET another case of fraud allegedly perpetrated by an employee came to light this week. BT broke the news that telco M1 is suing a former employee for having allegedly made off with some S$2 million of its money. The employee, M1's former account manager Matthew Yeo Kay Keng, 35, is said to have spent the money on two Porsches and an array of luxury watches, including three Rolexes and four Audemars Piguets, and a $200,000 live stingray.
This came as investigations into another shocking case - where the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) was allegedly defrauded of $12 million - was ongoing. In that case, it was revealed this week that Koh Seah Wee, a former senior executive of the SLA, is suspected to have also stolen from another place of work, the Intellectual Property of Singapore, and to have spent part of that money on a $1.6 million Lamborghini.
And two months back, Singapore Press Holdings dismissed a senior employee for receiving illegal payments and misappropriating shopping vouchers handled by his Editorial Projects Unit.
Given this current spate of alleged corporate frauds, it was with interest that I opened an e-mail I received on Wednesday with the subject: 'Asia-Pacific Fraud Report Examines Occupational Theft'. The e-mail was from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE). The association recently published the Asia-Pacific edition of its global survey in the 2010 Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud & Abuse.
The original report was based on a global survey of 1,843 cases of occupational fraud that occurred in more than 100 countries between January 2008 and December 2009. All the information on the cases was supplied by the Certified Fraud Examiners who investigated them.
The Asia-Pacific edition focuses exclusively on the 338 cases from Asia and Oceania that were included in the global study.
Given that occupational fraud has been hogging quite a few headlines here of late, I thought I'd share with readers here some of the major findings of the report.
ACFE classified all schemes into three primary categories: asset misappropriation, corruption and financial statement fraud. Asset misappropriations are schemes in which the perpetrator steals or misuses an organisation's resources. Examples include skimming cash receipts, submitting false invoices for payment and forging company cheques.
Corruption schemes involve the employee's use of his or her influence in business transactions in a way that violates the employee's duty to the employer for the purpose of obtaining a benefit for himself or someone else. Examples of corruption schemes include bribery, extortion and conflicts of interest.