Because CPAs are becoming more educated about the subject of fraud, success stories such as the above are growing more common. It's a good thing, too, because some experts say changing demographics have led to more white-collar crime. Criminologist Gil Geis, a former member of the President's Crime Council, says there's a correlation between crime and age: "Younger people--especially males--are likely to commit more traditional crimes such as robbery, larceny and assault. Conversely, fraud and white-collar crimes are typically committed by older, better-educated offenders." Our society as a whole is getting older, and young and old alike are getting more sophisticated. On top of that, the use of computers and technology to aid in the commission of crimes has become widespread.
Most CPAs have had little or no antifraud training, so educating them has become critical. This article, the first of a new series on fraud detection, is meant to be a part of that effort. In future issues, we will look at different aspects of fraud methodically--what it is, who commits it, how they do it and how CPAs can respond.