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Boyce Thompson State Park
AZ Fraud Fighter Newsletter 2/1/12
Does reviewing bank statements help prevent fraud?

Is Fraud Inoculation Possible for a Small Business Firm?

Part 2 of 10

Background and History

The former CFO of a multi-location publishing house in the Greater Phoenix area is now serving time in prison (as of December 2011) for committing fraud and embezzlement. A detailed analysis of the before and after situations at the defrauded firm might prove instructive to any small business wanting to prevent material fraud.


The former CFO was in his thirties, married, with four children. He attended church every Sunday, had a regular job with the Boy Scouts, was a college graduate, hard-working and trusted by all. In other words, he was the typical accidental fraudster.


My firm was hired to help out to determine if there was something inappropriate happening as cash was quite tight, though business was good and the accounts receivable were healthy. But why were the financial statements 7 months behind? (Red Flag!)


I requested bank statements from the former CFO (we will call him Ted, not his real name) several times, but I always received the excuse they could not be shared. Then Ted went on a second honeymoon to Italy, and the owner requested from the bank six months' worth of bank statement copies sent directly to him.


One day later, as those bank statement copies included photo copies of all the check faces, I found fraud!  

To be continued next newsletter. 


Interesting Fraud Fact -

90% of occupational fraud involves some form of asset misappropriation,  including fraudulent disbursements of cash. One subset of fraudulent cash disbursements is check tampering. The median check tampering fraud lasts 24 months, according to the 2010 Report to the Nations.  


Do not expect to see clear warnings regarding occupational fraud in your company. Embezzlement is always kept secret until it is detected! You will not find police tape strung around an unknown crime scene!


Fraud Tip - To reduce fraud opportunity, separate risky functions by making sure the person who opens the mail is not the same person who records AR payments.

Schedule a Fraud Risk Assessment today. Click here to contact EFM
Caught by the law
Going to jail

Interesting Economic Fact -


The USA used approximately 19.1 million barrels of oil a day in 2011, importing around 9.5 million barrels of oil daily. The top ten countries importing oil into the USA (millions of barrels) were:


Canada              2.2

Saudi Arabia       1.2

Mexico               1.1

Venezuela          0.9

Nigeria               0.8

Iraq                   0.5

Colombia            0.4

Angola               0.3

Russia                  0.2

Brazil                 0.2

Reference: DOE & CIA


These ten countries accounted for more than 80% of 9.5 million barrels of oil imported into the United States every day. Please note that none of these countries are hostile to America. However, oil, like money, is fungible.


What does the fact that oil is fungible mean? Fungi-ability (newly coined word) means that because these relatively friendly nations are exporting their excess oil to the United States, other industrial nations like Japan, China and nearly all the countries in the European Community must import their daily oil from countries much less friendly to the United States like Iran and Yemen.


Therefore, it can be reasonably argued that because of the huge demand that the US creates for global oil, the United States really is, at least secondarily, with oil money, helping fund terrorists that attack America and American interests. Perhaps if the United States were able to stop importing oil and instead use domestic oil exclusively, the terrorists would not have sufficient money available to attack America.


Adding together the known oil in ANWR in Alaska, plus known continental shelf oil deposits just off the coasts of America and including the Rocky Mountain shale oil deposits totals approximately 2 trillion barrels equivalent of recoverable oil. If we Americans chose to recover oil from these three sources alone, assuming a 20-million-oil-barrel-usage-run-rate per day, then America could be self-sufficient in petroleum for at least 274 years!


Two important questions must be considered: 1) Could this oil be recovered in an environmentally-sensitive fashion? Yes, relatively easily. 2) Does the necessary political will exist to recover this oil? No, it does not.


 Economic Indicators:  

GDP or Gross Domestic Product -  

A Look Behind the Numbers.   


GDP or Gross Domestic Product is an economic indicator the same way the Unemployment Rate is. An economic indicator is simply a statistic about the overall economy, which allows analysis of historical economic performance as well as prediction of future economic performance.


If we liken the American economy to a live human, then gathering various economic indicator analyses is akin to taking the temperature, checking the pulse rate, observing the blood flow, and measuring the lung capacity, etc., to diagnose the overall health and robustness of the body.


GDP is a monetary measurement of the final goods and services produced within a nation's borders in a specific time period, usually a year. The federal government attempts to measure and update this annual rate of positive or negative economic change three times a quarter, refining and revising the previous quarterly estimate the 2nd and 3rd tries.


It is instructive to look at the 12 quarters of growth (or recovery) after the serious 1981 to 1982 recession compared to the 10 quarters of growth in 2009 through 2011 after the recent severe economic downturn. A pictorial bar graph showing each period is below.


What is most striking is that the average quarterly growth rate of GDP in the 1980s for twelve quarters was 5.83% whereas the average for the 10 quarters after the 2008 to 2009 recession is 2.4% or an anemic almost 60% less growth.


Is it any wonder that the Unemployment Rate economic indicator is still stuck above 8%, not even including the additional 5 million Americans who are likely too discouraged to even look for work today, as I pointed out in the last AZ Fraud Fighter Newsletter?


 GDP bar graphs


If you have a lunch group or a breakfast group looking for a dynamic speaker to make a meaningful presentation, then email or call EFM today @ 480-577-6776 to schedule a presentation on Fraud Awareness and Fraud Prevention.
Paul Updike, MBA, CFE, UOP Faculty Practitioner
Executive Financial Management
(480) 577-6776
Murex Enterprises
Near the Chiracahuas