Friday, March 2, 2012

Corporate criminals target mining sector assets

Corporate criminals are prospering amid tight economic times, a survey on global fraud has found.

The report by accounting firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers found white-collar crime was a growing threat, and the mining sector was a particular target.

Half of Australian businesses reported at least one case of economic crime in the past year - a much higher rate than recorded in the Asia Pacific overall - with some suffering losses of more than $5 million, according to the survey. 

Listen to my interview with PWC forensic partner Malcolm Shackell who told The World Today there had been a large rise in expense fraud and false invoicing.

"The typical business criminal is an employee, typically they're male and they've been employed between three and five years in the organisation and usually have a managerial role," Mr Shackell said.

"Most of them are after financial gain, and they will seek that through the theft of assets and funds.

The report found cybercrime was the second most reported economic crime, as individuals have more ways to access information in an organisation.

"Interestingly what we are seeing more of now is of course the cyber criminal, and the cyber criminal is after information because information these days has value," he said.

And Mr Shackell says the criminals also are selling disused equipment, which can be very valuable, particularly in the mining sector.

"Also, interestingly, there is a thriving black market around old assets, particularly in industries
such as mining and also construction," Mr Shackell said.

"So what we are seeing is the fraudulent writedown of assets, and these things are then being on-sold in the black market or through auction sites."

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