Research Findings

Shadow of the American dream



Fraud examiners should consider an enhanced set of Fraud Triangle factors for executives: greed, pride and entitlement. But the question remains, why do these behaviors manifest in executives who might be associated with fraud?

In her April 2015 Online Exclusive Fraud Magazine article, The Executive Fraud Triangle: The great ‘I’, Laura Wagoner Downing, CFE, revisited Donald Cressey’s original Fraud Triangle and proposed an enhanced set of factors to consider in executive fraud: greed, pride and entitlement. Downing observed that executives who commit fraud often have a “me first” mindset, which she referred to as the “great I.”

In this column, I’d like to go a bit further and discuss why these behaviors manifest in executives who might be associated with fraud. As all anti-fraud professionals know, unraveling individual motivations can be critical to mitigating fraud. We might be able to explain the “great why” for the great I, in part by the early life experiences of many executives who’ve committed fraud.

 


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