Examining fraud in developing countries

Navigating murky Third-World conditions


By Cynthia Harrington, CFE, CFA

With the multiplicity of dialects, less structured legal systems, destroyed or nonexistent documentation, and differences in cultural expectations, fraud examiners should equip themselves with specific tools when conducting investigations in developing countries. 

The telephone rings and a client wants help with a suspected fraud. The contract for new work is good news. The bad news is that the fraud is in a Third World country. Suspicious water, unsanitary food, and hefty expenses await. Examining fraud in emerging societies is a complicated task. With the multiplicity of dialects, less structured legal systems, destroyed or nonexistent documentation, and differences in cultural expectations, examinations in developing countries proceed differently than those in nations such as France, Australia, or the United States. Professionals with experience in the ways of the Third World have learned how to navigate complicated waters. CFEs can use their solutions when working outside the developed world.


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