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White collar crims in the money -

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ELEANOR HALL: While many Australians have been suffering through the economic downturn, white
collar criminals have been quietly getting on with business. A survey out today shows that over the
last 18 months there's been a boom in major fraud in companies and government departments.

Gary Gill, from the accounting firm KPMG, has been speaking to our business editor Peter Ryan about
the report.

GARY GILL: Unfortunately the white collar criminals don't seem to discriminate when it comes to the
types of organisations they will go for, for anybody including the public sectors, including
Governments in other words, and you know, pretty much all sectors are under attack.

PETER RYAN: Are there common characteristics of a typical company fraudster?

GARY GILL: He's a male aged about 38-years-old, been in his current position for about four years,
been with his employer for about six years, so that's somebody who's well known in the
organisation, typically well liked and well trusted and often the person least likely to be
considered the fraudster.

PETER RYAN: So some of these white collar criminals planting themselves inside companies with the
long term intention of draining cash?

GARY GILL: Yes certainly, and also this is probably more anecdotally, stories about white collar
criminals being planted inside organisations by organised criminal gangs. So in other words, they
recruit people, put them into organisations to basically steal the cash or possibly steal personal
information to create false identities or duplicate identities and then perpetrate fraud using
those identities.

PETER RYAN: Are you finding that organised crime syndicates are becoming much more active during
the downturn?

GARY GILL: Yes it's certainly the cases that go to court, you know, show that there is a regular
involvement on the part of organised crime, I think organised crime is one of those things which is
always there, it targets not only Australia but most places around the world, and I suppose in the
current environment the criminals are doing it tough as well, so business is probably good for
them.

PETER RYAN: What sort of fraud activities are we seeing from organised crime syndicates?

GARY GILL: A lot of it has to do with identity crime, stealing identity information and then
targeting for example, financial institutions, obtaining loans and not repaying them, obtaining
credit cards not repaying them, things like skimming of credit card numbers at ATMs and that type
of activity.

PETER RYAN: Have financial institutions been specifically targeted by organised crime during the
downturn?

GARY GILL: Look I think the reality is they do get targeted probably more so than most other
sectors, you know, by organised crime yeah.

PETER RYAN: Have some of these criminals who've been able to quietly operate during the good times
been uncovered when profit margins start falling?

GARY GILL: We're certainly finding that and you know, if you look at the Madoff fraud in the US, a
giant sort of Ponzi scheme which relies on investors putting in more and more money which the
fraudster is then using either for him or herself, or to pay other investors. When times get tough
and markets go down, yes these things do tend to get uncovered, so they may well have been running
for many years.

But once the markets have gone down as they have in the last 12 to 18 months, these kinds of things
do tend to get exposed.

PETER RYAN: A lot of companies have been cutting back on costs during the downturn, but do you
think that has helped white collar crime thrive?

GARY GILL: What that can do is basically weaken the controls in the organisation in that there are
less people to carry out those controls and therefore more opportunities for fraudsters now. I
think we'll see more of that sort of stuff coming through in the next six to 12 months.

ELEANOR HALL: That's Gary Gill from KPMG, speaking to business editor Peter Ryan.