Fraud? The boss probably did it.

Most cases of fraud come from the top.

Analysis of the levels of fraud among UK businesses show that although the value of fraud cases dropped significantly in the first half of 2012, most cases are still committed by management

According to figures from KPMG, fraud figures fell from £1.1bn in the first half of 2011 to just £374m in the same period this year. However, most cases tend to come from within organisations, with 55 per cent of the total perpetrated by finance directors, chief executives and other senior managers. Only 6 per cent of cases came from employees.

The large drop in the levels of fraud was attributed to fewer “super fraud” cases.

Hitesh Patel, UK forensic partner at KPMG, said, "The extent and impact of fraud perpetrated from within businesses has historically been masked by a handful of exceptionally large cases coming to court, but the fall in such "super" cases now shines a spotlight on the chronic and pernicious threat to businesses in these austere times."

One case highlighted by the research involved a former head of counter-fraud operations at a bank, who committed procurement fraud worth £2.4m for personal benefit.

"The value lost through management fraud shows graphically that businesses need to ensure controls are more than simply trust where senior members of staff are concerned; an effective anti-fraud regime applies to all, not just to more junior staff."

This article first appeared in Economia

Photograph: Getty Images

Helen Roxburgh is the online editor of Economia

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Ian Leslie and Stewart Wood return for another episode of the Deep Dive. This time they're plunging into the murky world of election promises with Catherine Haddon, resident historian at the Institute of Government. Together they explore what an electoral mandate means, what a manifesto is for, and why we can't sue the government when they fail to keep their promises.

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