Bribery and Corruption: Difficult Frauds to Find

When fraud happens within an organization’s accounting system, there is often a paper (or digital) trail left behind. It’s unavoidable, as there is a record of something related to the fraud, whether it is a legitimate invoice that was later adjusted, an account balance that was changed, or a fake employee who was added to the payroll system.

Frauds involving bribery and corruption are different. They happen almost completely outside the accounting system, so they often don’t leave a paper trail. Management instead must rely on tips or other vague clues to the existence of such a fraud scheme.

Bribery and corruption typically arise out of relationships between people, so in order to detect them, management must often be aware of the personal relationships between employees and outside parties. That is clearly a difficult task, and often nearly impossible.

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Why Multi-Level Marketing “Million Dollar Earner” Status is Nonsense

Multi-level marketing companies are quick to tout the success of their “million dollar earners.” Sounds impressive, doesn’t it? Who doesn’t want to make a million dollars?

Except that phrase “million dollar earner” hides the truth:

  • What they don’t clearly mention is that this is cumulative earnings over a number of years, typically between 5 and 20 years.
  • They also fail to mention that this is gross income, prior to any business expenses. The business expenses in multi-level marketing can get very high, and will include product purchases (in order to stay active and/or meet requirements for certain commission levels), travel, office expenses, training costs, business insurance, supplies, prizes for customers and downlines, venue rental for events, food for events, etc. The expenses can easily equal 40% to 60% of gross income.

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In Law We Trust

johnny-degirolamoJohn G. DeGirolamo, founder of The Law Offices Of John DeGirolamo, Esq., uses the tagline “In Law We Trust.”  The firm’s website says:

Having spent two years at the firm, it became clear to John that he missed the criminal law that he spent his college and law school careers studying.

His affinity for criminal law during college and law school is well-documented. At the right are three mugshots of John G. DeGirolamo (click on any of them to see them full size). His arrests and/or cases include these in Hillsborough County, Florida:

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A Former Primerica Representative’s Story

This woman says that Primerica Financial Services representatives lie and misrepresent the business opportunity to others  in order to get them to join and stay an active part of the plan (even if they’re not making any money).

Hi. My name is Anne and I was a Primerica representative (full time) for about 7 months (from May ’07 to December ’07).  I ended up in a multi-level marketing job in Primerica as a young adult.

I like what the company stands for and stuff (as far as helping families with their products), but it’s such a difficult position to be in.  A lot of your success is based upon how many people you know.  I knew the products backwards and forwards, became a decent sales person, was able to conquer most objections, but because I didn’t have a big warm market to start out with, I sucked.

When I first joined into the company, I was promised that everything was easy and I’d be making as much if not more than I was at my full time steady desk job… so I quit my regular job because at the time when the opportunity was presented to me, it was a “regular” paying job just with very flexible hours.

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The Eyes Have It: Seeing the Signs of Fraud

Would you recognize the clues that your client has been ripped off by one of its employees? Or would management conduct business as usual, blindly trusting their employees? Companies make the mistake of not actively searching for fraud. They tend to trust their employees and trust the procedures in place to safeguard company assets.

It may be good business to trust employees and empower them to make real contributions to the growth of the company. However, it is not wise to turn a blind eye to signs that a trusted employee may be stealing.

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