Traveling the World in Style on the Company's Nickel

By Guido Van Drunen, CFE

Don't ignore travel and entertainment expense reporting records. Small infractions can add up to thousands in losses and lead to greater frauds.  

Everybody trusted "Ron." He had worked for the company for more than 25 years, was earning a six-figure salary, and was less than one year away from full medical retirement benefits. There was one slight problem: He liked to cheat on his travel and expense report.

Our department - Asset Protection and Recovery - noticed Ron's large cash reimbursements during a routine data mining exercise. We pulled a sample of some of his reports and found altered invoices. In our subsequent investigation, we discovered that in the previous four years alone, he had bilked the company for more than $100,000.

We found that Ron had falsified and altered receipts, claimed fictitious expenditures, double-claimed and inflated expenditures, claimed personal expenditures as business expenses, and failed to provide documentation.

As in many cases, Ron started out small, found some success, and became bolder. His busy supervisor had handfuls of expense reports and conducted occasional perfunctory reviews. Too bad - his oversight cost the company a bundle.

Companies spend little time reviewing travel expense and entertainment reporting (TER) records because of the insignificant value of each item. But small infractions can add up to thousands - and ultimately millions of dollars in large corporations - in TER fraud.






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