The recently released 2011 Marquet Report on Embezzlement examined 473 cases of misappropriation that occurred in the United States last year, and found that each resulted in more than $100,000 in reported losses.
The report revealed that Vermont is the most at-risk state in the nation for loss due to embezzlement, followed by Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Montana, Virginia, Iowa, and Idaho. The most common embezzlement scheme lasted nearly five years, and involved forged company checks and checks issued without authorization.
"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 Christopher Marquet, CEO of Marquet International.
Nearly three-quarters of cases were committed by those in finance or accounting positions, which underscores the need for a system of adequate checks and balances to be in place. Paired with regular accounts payable audits, controls that prevent, for example, the same worker from writing and signing off on a check, can help lower an organization's risk of embezzlement.