Major embezzlement cases on the rise

Report records its highest rate of employee theft in the last five years

Some of the other findings of the study included:

  • More than two-thirds of the incidents (68 percent) were committed by employees who held finance/bookkeeping and accounting positions
  • The most common embezzlement scheme involved the issuance of forged or unauthorized company checks
  • Only four percent of the cases involved perpetrators who had a prior criminal/fraud history
  • The average embezzler in the study stole nearly $25,000 per month from their employer
  • The financial services industry suffered the greatest losses due to major embezzlements
  • Non-profits and religious organizations combined accounted for about one-eighth of all the major embezzlement incidents in the 2012 study
  • Nearly three-fifths (58 percent) of the incidents involved female perpetrators
  • Male perpetrators, on average, embezzled nearly three times as much as females
  • 84 percent of the cases involved individual perpetrators
  • The average adjusted age of perpetrators at the commencement of their embezzlement was just under 43 years
  • 40 – 49-year-olds were the most frequent culprits
  • The average prison sentence was just over 4 years (49 months) for convicted major embezzlers

Though he believes the poor state of the economy was a factor that helped drive some embezzlement schemes, Marquet said that the problem isn’t going to stop just because the markets are rebounding.

“I think no matter what the economy is there is always going to be a certain amount of fraud, waste and abuse. Employee theft is always going to be going on at a certain ambient level,” Marquet said.