NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

An Epidemic Of Worker Theft

July 12, 2000

Businesses and other organizations are losing growing amounts of money to employee theft, according to a survey by the consulting firm KPMG.

  • The 1998 survey of 5,000 businesses, agencies and nonprofit organizations revealed that losses averaged $624,000 from check fraud by employees, including forgeries and mailroom theft -- nearly twice as much as reported in a 1994 poll.
  • The survey also uncovered that looting company bank accounts by employees using ATM cards more than doubled over the period -- to an average of $300,000 per organization.
  • Theft and misuse of company credit cards by employees tripled between 1994 and 1998 -- to an average of more than $1.1 million.
  • The average loss from employee expense account abuse grew to $141,000 -- nearly seven times what it had been four years earlier.

When the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, based in Austin, Texas, conducted one of the nation's first comprehensive studies of employee fraud in 1996, it reported that companies typically lost 6 percent of their annual revenues to such theft.

Source: Greg Winter, "Taking at the Office Reaches New Heights," New York Times, July 12, 2000.


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