Barry Pollack discusses the challenges faced by companies in combating fraud, particularly in the current economic downturn. "Unfortunately, there's no guarantee against fraud," said Pollack. "One big problem is that fraud is usually a lagging indicator, and trails economic cycles usually by 18 months or so...complex cases against fraud are not put together overnight. It usually takes a year or two to get one together."
The ACFE points out that roughly 85 percent of those who commit fraud had never been previously charged or convicted for a fraud-related offense. "People don't just set out and say I'm going to commit a fraud," continued Pollack. "Most of the time they're good people who have complied with the rules. Then pressure sets in and they go closer and closer to the line."
Pollack said another legal by-product that may serve as a deterrent is the exponential growth of fraud sentences for white-collar crime. "It's sort of a scared-straight proposition," he explained. "The federal system guidelines for fraud have increased dramatically."