Corporate fraud set to increase

FRAUD will continue to rise despite topping £7bn over the past five years, experts have warned.

Investigators from BDO said annual reported corporate fraud will continue to rise with commercial lending and mortgage markets expected to be among those hardest hit.

They were speaking as the Leeds office of BDO published its annual FraudTrack study. Reported fraud fell to 1.4bn last year, compared to 2bn in 2009, but BDO said the drop would be temporary. It said that fraud figures were "seriously skewed" by the trial dates of large cases, which could take more than a year to resolve – and then figures are reported to regulators – and because whistleblowers are quieter in an economic downturn.

Larger frauds, which are usually exposed because of the actions of whistleblowers, can remain undetected because workers are less likely to report suspicious behaviour at a time of cut.

BDO said this was especially a threat to firms' survival rates as such frauds hit financial stability, putting more jobs at risk.

Leeds-based Simon P. Bevan, head of BDO's fraud team, said risk departments were currently less conscious of fraud.

"Every few years there is a different hot topic for organisations to address. In the past this has covered the Y2K bug and money laundering. The current flavour of the month is bribery. There has been widespread marketing by law firms on the Bribery and Corruption Act. Although risk and compliance departments should address both old and new risks, they face limited resources and giving equal attention to matters is problematic often with new risks taking a lead."