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Accountant steals millions and sends employer bankrupt

Date published
August 2010

Relevant impacts: Business impact, financial impact, human impact and reputational impact

Make sure there is managerial, independent or expert oversight

An employee defrauded $19 million from her company. The senior accountant used her access to the company's payroll and superannuation accounts to steal the money. The company collapsed shortly afterwards which led to 1,300 people losing their jobs. The accountant pleaded guilty to 24 counts of theft and was sentenced to 8 years in prison.

Related countermeasures

Separate duties by spreading tasks and associated privileges for a business process among multiple staff. This is very important in areas such as payroll, finance, procurement, contract management and human resources. Strong separation of duties controls are enforced by systems. It is also known as segregation of duties.

Reconcile records to make sure that two sets of records (usually the balances of two accounts) match. Reconciling records and accounts can detect if something is different from what is standard, normal, or expected, which may indicate fraud.

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