Revisiting employee fraud: Gender, investigation outcomes and offender motivation

Paul Bonny, Sigi Goode*, David Lacey

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    18 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose-This paper aims to present the findings of a study examining fraud in the workplace setting, principally in the Australasian context. Although prior research into occupational fraud is conceptually rich, there is a lack of empirical evidence of this important but elusive problem. Design/methodology/approach-Based on investigative data from 14 participating firms, the paper provides insights into the gender breakdowns and stated motivations of offenders. The paper also provides evidence of the number of investigations, interviews and reports to law enforcement in these firms. Findings-The study finds that genders are evenly balanced for most firms, with females significantly outnumbering males in banking firms. Self-imposed financial hardship was the most popular motivator. Of the number of admissions to wrongdoing, only half were subsequently reported to law enforcement. Research limitations/implications-Particularly complex or advanced types of occupational fraud may go unreported or undetected: as a result, the figures presented in this study may be incomplete. Reported figures are based largely on historical data provided by respondents, and the authors are unable to report accurate details of the respondent firms. This makes it difficult to determine the frequency of offending against the background population. Practical implications-Investigators should continue to look for changes in the life circumstances of their staff. Such changes will give an indication of instances of staff living beyond their means and the sudden financial pressures that can compel occupational fraud. Instead of trying to supervise staff to an impractical degree, managers and proprietors would be well advised to be alert to the kind of pressures that their staff might experience. Social implications-Social control and detection measures are likely to be easier to implement and less invasive than technical controls. The study provides additional pressure to update traditional conceptualisations of the male white collar offender. While male offenders were responsible for larger losses per case, females were more numerous in the summary offence data. Originality/value-Gaining insights into the problem of employee fraud and white collar crime is difficult. The authors' contribution in this paper is to provide empirical insights into the makeup of white collar offenders, including insights on gender.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)447-467
    Number of pages21
    JournalJournal of Financial Crime
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 5 Oct 2015


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