13 Apr 2012

Financial crime reaches record level

5:01 pm on 13 April 2012

Financial crime reached a record level towards the end of 2011, with the value of fraud cases before the courts almost tripling.

The KPMG Fraud Barometer monitors the number of fraud cases involving more than $100,000 brought before New Zealand courts.

The value of fraud cases was $279.7 million - the highest ever to be recorded over that period.

KPMG found there were 24 high-value fraud cases in the final six months of 2011 - five fewer than in the first half of the year.

But the value of the fraud totalled almost $280 million, up $80 million on the first half and triple what it was in the same period a year earlier.

The incidence of super frauds, which involve fraud of more than $3 million, continues to rise.

The fraud barometer shows the most common type of fraud was accounting fraud, with internal staff the most likely perpetrators.

KPMG head of forensics Stephen Bell says the survey found the most common victim in fraud cases is the Government.

Mr Bell says frauds committed by employees were by people employed in a finance function and managers who misappropriated larger sums.