Sunday, February 15, 2015

Profile of an embezzler: You'd be surprised

From The Northwoods River News on 1/26/2015:

Embezzlement is big business in the United States - in both large firms and small, in both urban areas and rural - and it has been getting bigger all the time.

There's no doubt the Great Recession helped to spike the numbers, not only because more employees steal during tough times but also because employers exercise more oversight. But embezzlement numbers were growing even before the recession began: According to the FBI, embezzlement arrests rose by about 30 percent between 2003 and 2007.

And while embezzlement statistics may fall back from the peaks of the recent recession, the long-term trend is expected to continue upward. As it is, 2013 was a record, up 5 percent over 2012, which itself was a record.

A big question is, why the prevalence of this particular crime? Many experts do indeed point to the economic downturn, while others finger individual financial stress in any economy, good or bad. Still others believe the persistence of light sentencing is a factor.

All of those elements no doubt play a role, but Christopher T. Marquet, the author of an annual report on embezzlement and CEO of the security consulting firm Marquet International, says it is more complicated than that.

"I do think that more significant sentences might have some added deterrent effect - but that goes only so far," Marquet told The Lakeland Times in an interview. "I think that this crime in some cases becomes almost like an addiction that is hard to stop once it has gotten going and a lifestyle established - irrespective of sentencing."


Read the whole story (Part 2 of a series by Richard Moore, investigative reporter) here.

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