Vermont Leads the Way in Embezzlement

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Vermont topped the list of states with highest risk for loss due to embezzlement in 2011, according to a new report.

Vermont was followed by Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Montana, Virginia, Iowa and Idaho. Marquet International’s annual study of major embezzlement cases in the United States examined 473 major embezzlement cases active in the U.S. in 2011, those with more than $100,000 in reported losses.

“Certain states like Vermont are consistently among the highest risk for loss due to embezzlement,” said Marquet International CEO Christopher T. Marquet in a statement. “Anyone in that state that keeps up on the news knows that Vermont has experienced a rash of high profile embezzlements in recent years.”

The "2011 Marquet Report on Embezzlement" found that the number of major embezzlements dropped only a slight 2 percent from 2010. The average loss was about $750,000 for 2011, while the median loss was $340,000. The average embezzler in this study stole $15,189 per month from their employer.

The financial services industry suffered the greatest losses due to major embezzlements. Nonprofits and religious organizations combined accounted for about one-sixth of all the major embezzlement incidents in the 2011 study.

“Banks and financial organizations—perhaps because that is where the money is—and nonprofits, including religious organizations—probably due to their weak business controls environment—are most often the victims of this type of white collar crime,” said Marquet.

The most common embezzlement scheme in 2011 involved the forgery or unauthorized issuance of company checks. Nearly three-quarters of the incidents in 2011 were committed by employees who held finance and accounting positions. The average scheme lasted nearly five years.

Gambling continues to appear to be a motivating factor in some embezzlement cases. Nearly 22 percent of the cases in which a motivating factor was known involve perpetrators who reportedly had gambling issues.

Nearly two-thirds of all incidents involved female perpetrators in 2011. However, male perpetrators, on average, embezzled about 25 percent more than females.

Five percent of the cases involved perpetrators who had a prior criminal history. Perpetrators typically begin their embezzlement schemes in their early forties.

“Unfortunately, 2011 was another banner year for employee theft in the United States, experiencing only a slight drop in frequency from the frenetic pace set in 2010,” said Marquet. “Employee theft is not going away any time soon.”

A copy of "The 2011 Marquet Report on Embezzlement" is available by calling (917) 733-1038 or e-mailing a request to Marquet International also publishes a white collar crime blog at chronicling a variety of active white collar crime cases including major embezzlements.

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