The Embezzler in the Next Cubicle: Is It Time for a Fraud Prevention Check-up?

December 7, 2017 | Kristi Beckman, CFE

Kristi Beckman, CFE; Assurance Manager; BerganKDV

Mary Jane looked like many fraudsters: unremarkable. She was 40 years old; medium-length brown hair; short, unpolished nails; drab clothing. She was a faithful 16-year bookkeeper at ABC Manufacturing—a small, family-owned business. She and Tom, married since she was 19, had three children.

However, Mary Jane was anything but ordinary. Actually, she was extraordinary because the company discovered that in six years she had casually stolen more than $400,000 and had altered checks and credit card statements to conceal her embezzlement.

Oftentimes, red flags are flying but company leadership may miss them. Employees and managers in different departments may sense something is off, but don’t communicate to one another. The reason embezzlers often succeed is they are obviously good at flying under the radar. They are proficient at what they do, they don’t make waves and unfortunately, they are oftentimes trusted, long-term employees.

One of the most valuable fraud prevention resources, the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) Fraud Prevention Check-Up, is a simple yet powerful test of your organization’s fraud health. The check-up is designed to help you identify major gaps and fix them before it is too late.

The Fraud Prevention Check-Up addresses the following topics:

  • Fraud risk oversight
  • Fraud risk ownership
  • Ongoing risk assessment
  • Fraud risk tolerance
  • Process-level anti-fraud controls and subsequent reengineering
  • Creating a proper workplace environment, code of conduct, training and communication system
  • Proactive fraud detection processes

By performing a check-up, you will have the opportunity for your organization to establish a relationship with a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) you can call when a fraud question arises. CFEs are experts in detecting fraud and helping organizations prevent it in the future. BerganKDV has a team of CFEs who are willing to help.

Reach out to your advisor to learn more.

Kristi Beckman, CFE is assurance manager at BerganKDV. Contact her via email at