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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 201064 Find in a Library
Title: Serious Fraud in Australia and New Zealand
Author(s): Russell G. Smith
Date Published: 2003
Page Count: 79
Sponsoring Agency: Australian Institute of Criminology
Canberra ACT, 2601, Australia
Melbourne VIC 3001, Australia
Publication Number: ISBN 0 642 24290 9
Sale Source: Australian Institute of Criminology
GPO Box 2944
Canberra ACT, 2601,

GPO Box 1331L
Melbourne VIC 3001,
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Book (Softbound)
Language: English
Country: Australia
Annotation: This report presents findings from a 1998 and 1999 study concerning a sample of serious fraud prosecutions in Australia and New Zealand.
Abstract: The focus of the study was serious fraud, which is defined as a category of conduct involving the use of dishonest or deceitful means to obtain an advantage over another. The seriousness of fraud involves a measure of the financial loss, the sophistication of planning, the organization of the offender(s), and fraud committed by professionals who breach public trust. The report details the study methodology, the nature of serious fraud, the costs of serious fraud, offender characteristics, motivations of offenders and mitigating factors, the judicial process, and a risk analysis. The methodology included the analysis of 155 files obtained from police and prosecutors throughout Australia and New Zealand. Major findings revealed that the most common type of fraud involved obtaining finance or credit through deception. Computers, false documents, and fictitious identities were most often employed during the commission of these serious fraud cases. The costs of fraud was high; the 155 cases involved approximately $260.5 million. Offenders had a mean age in their early 40’s and almost 30 percent of the offenders had a professional relationship with the victim. Eighty-four percent of the fraud cases involved a single offender. Greed and gambling were the two most often identified reasons offered for the commission of the fraudulent acts. In terms of the judicial process, internal audits were the means by which most cases of serious fraud were discovered. On average, cases took approximately 4 years for completion, from the time of the commission of the crime to sentencing. Seventy-five percent of those sentenced were given full-time custodial sentences. The risk analysis concluded that accounting and auditing failures represented the highest risk category in the public sector, while prudential factors presented the greatest risk for the private sector. The main conclusion is that serious fraud in Australia and New Zealand is both prevalent and costly. Tables, figures, references
Main Term(s): Fraud
Index Term(s): Australia; Bank fraud; Document analysis; Fraud investigations; New Zealand; Police fraud units
Note: Australian Institute of Criminology Research and Public Policy Series No. 48
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