2021 International Fraud Awareness Week (also called “Fraud Week”) kicked off on Sunday and is in full swing. CRI® Group is a proud supporter of this critical initiative every year, and we encourage business leaders to take this time to consider all of their fraud prevention measures, including anti-fraud training for employees.
Does your organization have a training program addressing fraud, bribery and corruption? And, if so, how robust is your training? How often is it administered? And how do you know it’s working?
These are important questions, especially because we know most fraud is discovered internally through employee tips. A recent case study is a perfect illustration of that.
Case study: Conflicts of interest
A major pharmaceutical company’s security department received a conflict of interest complaints that reportedly involved a range of employees, from sales personnel to the chief financial officer (CFO). The company engaged CRI® Group to conduct an integrity due diligence and conflict of interest investigation to uncover senior employees’ unethical practices, including bribery and corruption.
CRI® Group’s investigators quickly launched a risk assessment of the company’s third-party relationships, including interviews with identified vendors and suppliers to help ascertain the engagement process and associated risks.
Investigators found one of the vendors used letterhead that lacked a physical address, and the only contact information listed was a single cell phone number. Site visits, background checks and interviews helped determine that the suspicious vendor was not a company at all – but a single person, and he was none other than the brother-in-law of the client company’s CFO. Worse still was that this obvious fraud was being conducted right under the noses of the company’s procurement and finance professionals.
CRI® Group investigators discovered that the individual’s residence was being utilized as a warehouse to help facilitate the fraud. Comprehensive litigation records check with local and regional courts found that the subject was previously convicted in federal court and spent three years in prison for the charges of selling counterfeit products, physician samples and expired medicines; further regulatory checks found that his pharmacist license had been cancelled.
The fraud had continued for five years. However, the one thing that saved the company from further financial harm was that employees had stepped forward to report unethical behavior. If not for their action, the fraud could have continued indefinitely.
Fraud Week reminds us that awareness is any organization’s first line of defense against fraud and corruption, as properly trained employees will have a better opportunity to recognize the red flags of fraud and better understand their organization’s zero-tolerance policy toward such behavior.
Some key things to remember:
- Anti-fraud training should be mandatory: this includes managers and executives, who should also receive special training regarding their position of responsibility.
- Anti-fraud training should be an element of new employee orientation: after that, it should be provided to all employees annually, if not more frequently.
- Training might be presented live (in-class), on video or online in an interactive format: the live class is preferred, as it allows questions and personal engagement. However, some employees work remotely in today’s business world, and an online format may be more feasible.
Fraud is everybody’s problem, and it cannot be prevented and detected if employees aren’t provided with the information they need to combat it. Providing a robust anti-fraud training program increases your company’s protection from fraud and unethical behavior risks. An ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure.
Anti-Bribery and Anti-corruption Training
Our sister brand ABAC® Center of Excellence, provides employee training. Anti-Bribery Anti-Corruption (ABAC®) Center of Excellence is an independent certification body that provides education and certification services for individuals and organisations on a wide range of disciplines and ISO standards, including ISO 31000:2018 Risk Management- Guidelines, ISO 37000:2021 Governance of Organisations, ISO 37002:2021 Whistleblowing Management System, ISO 37301:2021 (formerly ISO 19600) Compliance Management system, Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management Systems.
Learn more about how CRI® Group and the ABAC Center of Excellence can help you have a well-trained workforce serving as your front line of defence against fraud, bribery and corruption.
Based in London, CRI® Group works with companies across the Americas, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia-Pacific as a one-stop international Risk Management, Employee Background Screening, Business Intelligence, TPRM, Due Diligence, Compliance Solutions and other professional Investigative Research solutions provider. We have the largest proprietary network of background-screening analysts and investigators across the Middle East and Asia. Our global presence ensures that no matter how international your operations are, we have the network needed to provide you with all you need, wherever you happen to be. CRI® Group also holds B.S. 102000:2013 and B.S. 7858:2012 Certifications is an HRO certified provider and partners with Oracle.
In 2016, CRI® Group launched the Anti-Bribery Anti-Corruption (ABAC®) Center of Excellence – an independent certification body that provides education and certification services for individuals and organisations on a wide range of disciplines and ISO standards, including ISO 31000:2018 Risk Management- Guidelines; ISO 37000:2021 Governance of Organisations; ISO 37002:2021 Whistleblowing Management System; ISO 37301:2021 (formerly ISO 19600) Compliance Management system (CMS); Anti-Money Laundering (AML); and ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management Systems ABMS. ABAC® offers a complete suite of solutions designed to help organisations mitigate the internal and external risks associated with operating in multi-jurisdiction and multi-cultural environments while assisting in developing frameworks for strategic compliance programs. Contact ABAC® for more on ISO Certification and training.