Report: Major embezzlement incidents dropped slightly in 2011

According to a new report from business investigation and security consulting firm Marquet International, the number of major embezzlement incidents dropped by two percent in 2011. Despite the drop, however, the firm says that employee theft remains a huge problem for organizations, particularly those in the financial and non-profit sectors.

The 2011 Marquet Report on Embezzlement examined 473 embezzlement cases active in the U.S. with more than $100,000 in reported losses. Among the categories studied in the report include the characteristics of embezzlement schemes, characteristics of the alleged perpetrators, characteristics of the organizations that were victimized, as well as the judicial consequences.

"Unfortunately, 2011 was another banner year for employee theft in the United States, experiencing only a slight drop in frequency from the frenetic pace set in 2010," Christopher T. Marquet, CEO of Marquet International said in a statement. "Employee theft is not going away any time soon."

In addition to the aforementioned two percent drop, some other findings from the report included:

  • The average reported loss from a major embezzlement incident in 2011 was $750,000.
  • Financial institutions suffered the most embezzlement cases in 2011, followed by non-profit organizations.
  • Vermont topped the list of states for the highest risk of loss due to embezzlement, followed by Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Montana, Virginia, Iowa, and Idaho.
  • The average embezzlement scheme lasted nearly five years.

"Banks and financial organizations - perhaps because that is where the money is - and non-profits, including religious organizations - probably due to their weak business controls environment -- are most often the victims of this type of white collar crime," Marquet added.

Some of the common characteristics of those who were accused of perpetrating these thefts include:

  • Nearly three-quarters of incidents were committed by employees that were in finance and accounting positions.
  • Most of the perpetrators examined began their embezzlement schemes in their early 40s.
  • Women were more likely to embezzle on a large scale than men, but men were found to embezzle significantly more money than women per scheme.
  • Only about five percent of major embezzlers have a prior criminal history.

For more information or to obtain a copy of the report, call 917-733-1038 or email a request to