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Accounting, Finance Workers Most Likely to Embezzle

January 14, 2010

A new report on embezzlement trends indicates there’s a war of the sexes going on between male and female embezzlers.

Marquet International’s annual study of major embezzlement cases in the U.S. found that more than 60 percent of the incidents involved female perpetrators. However, male perpetrators embezzled nearly twice as much as females, on average. Two-thirds of the incidents were committed by employees who held finance and accounting positions.

Over 40 percent of the losses were caused by people between the ages of 40 to 49. The average loss was more than $1 million, and the median loss was $386,500. The average scheme lasted four-and-a-half years, a rather long time for an embezzlement scheme to go undetected.

Nearly 25 percent of all losses were inflicted upon financial institutions. One of the primary motivating factors was gambling.

An employee in the accounting department in the bank who likes to make lots of trips to the casinos is likely to be eyed much more skeptically, given the risk factors. Surprisingly, though, major embezzlers have a prior criminal history in less than 10 percent of the cases.

Interestingly, California and Florida consistently experienced the greatest losses from major embezzlements,  but Vermont had the highest loss ratio, followed by Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Montana and Iowa. Nonprofit and religious organizations accounted for more than 11 percent of all the incidents.

The top embezzler was Sujata Sachdeva of Koss Corp., who allegedly caused $31 million in losses (see Headphone Maker Hears the Sound of Accounting Fraud). She was followed by Ricardo Figueredo at Bank of America and Yolanda Serrano of Southeast Petro Distributors. Among nonprofits, Rev. John Skehan of St. Vincent Ferrer Catholic Church stands out for allegedly embezzling $8.5 million to go on gambling binges.

For a copy of the report, call (917) 733-1038 or e-mail

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