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Fraud is defined as an intentional or purposeful perversion of truth. It can also be said to be a false misrepresentation of a matter of fact, which induces the parting, or legal right surrendering of another person's or party's valuable things. It is mostly an act of sharp practice, trickery, breach of confidence, or deceit perpetrated for the gain of profit or dishonest advantage unfairly. Frauds being on the increase in the recent days, the governing authorities have been necessitated to put up laws that govern and protects its citizens from the evil. The Fraud Act 2006 came into effect on 15 January 2007. It states that a person becomes guilty of fraud if they breach of any of the following provisions, false representation, failing to disclose and abuse of position.
There are different types of frauds and so do, the incidences involving them. The most common encountered type of frauds involve, ID fraud incidences, credit and debit card frauds, tax frauds, cooperative, accounting and bank frauds, computer and internet frauds, visa frauds, and plagiarism. The facts behind any fraudulent act are gain of unmerited profits. Any person ranging from the rich and affluent of the society, to the very poor and venerable is liable to fraud commission. Greed, unselfishness and the thirst to earn more than what one can actually make are the driving forces behind the commission of fraud.
As stated in the definition above, those committing frauds, also known as fraudsters are smart and use trickery and deceit to achieve their missions (Lovett-Reid, 2011). The fraudsters may also make false representations, dishonestly fail to disclose information under the legal duty to another person, or abuse of position in which one is expected to safeguard and maintain the financial interests of others. Most of the frauds are often committed due to unawareness or slackness on the victim's part, along with overriding of some internal controls. According to (Hogan and Cuomo) the internal controls mostly overridden are:
1. Lack of ensuring that agency assets such as cell phones, vehicles, equipment, and other agency resources are used only for official business work,
2. Lack of endorsing rules to govern the use of other cash funds and petty cash funds,
3. Use and misuse of fraudulent cheques,
4. Lack of proper accounting of cash and check collections,
5. Reluctant use of agency credit cards and verification of all charges made to accounts or credit cards,
6. Omission of procedures or policies for used in a system of balance and checks to ensure that no one has control over all parts of a financial transaction, and
7. The failure to regulate monitor and control expenditures; these are the main overridden internal controls.
Line managers are the once responsible for ensuring that proper and adequate system of internal control existing within their areas of responsibility. They have to ensure that the controls operate efficiently and effectively. Responsibility for the detection of fraud and its prevention rests solely with managers. A sustainable prosperous society is one that lets no violation of it's the laws go without being punished. Fraudsters, who violate the Frauds Act 2006, are liable to punishment (The Crown Prosecution Service, 2008). The maximum penalty for this offence depends on the gravity. Possession of articles for use in fraud has a penalty amounting to a maximum of five years incarceration. Production or supplying of articles for application in frauds and participation in fraudulent business by a sole trader is punished by up to a maximum of ten years.
Not guilty sentences are only arrived at when there is not enough evidence to criminate the victim. Financial frauds are punished with fines mounting up to millions. India's scandal-hit Satyam Computer Services Ltd and five Pricewater House Coopers International Limited affiliates committed an example of accounting fraud. Affiliates from the two companies agreed to pay 17.5 million US dollars for the settlement of the claims brought by United States regulators over an alleged $1 billion accounting fraud (IANS, 2011). Adhering to the internal controls and wise use of money related appliances, will greatly help in the fight against fraud.