Thursday, October 21, 2010

Getting Away With It

Did you know that corporate fraud often, if not usually, involves employees who: (1) have a need; (2) see an opportunity; and/or (3) feel justified in engaging in the fraud?  Not surprising, is it?  If you come up with an observation like that, you might see your name in lights -- the "James rule" or something like that.  Putting a name on something can help people in the dark fight crime.

For example, you've been working at WalMart for a year, you're still earning the minimum wage, and your rent payment looms large.  One of the guys who often punches in when you do frequently breaks for a cigarette and takes twice as long as you to stock a shelf, yet he's paid the same.  You notice that if you pretended to smoke, you could carry a stack of torn-down cardboard boxes out back with you, stick it on a recycling cart, and dilly-dally a few minutes while sucking on an electric smoke.  You might be able to stash a few CDs, some fishing lures or maybe a watch in that stack of cardboard boxes, then drive around back to retrieve them after you get off work.  Don't forget the surveillance cameras.

Or maybe you've been taking the subway to work while the guy in the next cubicle drives a snazzy new Jaguar.  Besides, your penthouse condo could use a new paint job because your housekeeper, though gorgeous, doesn't clean well.  You happen to work for a firm like Goldman-Sachs and decide to create nothing from nothing -- say, maybe a debit delinquent swipe -- and sell it to clueless investors long enough to collect a few eight-digit bonuses.

"I'll take two," says Virginia.

Right.  Her fingers are crossed.

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