Fraud – One of the Oldest Human Occupation

Apart from prostitution, fraud is also among the oldest human occupations. Ever since the Christian Biblical story of Jacob obtaining Isaac’s (his father’s) blessings by deceiving Isaac in connivance with his mother through a well orchestrated and executed fraudulent scheme of impersonating his brother Essau, the efforts and energies spent by some human beings to get something for nothing has been a recurring theme in literature.

Those who may have attended Sunday and Sabbath Schools or have read the Holy Book called the Bible, are reminded that the oldest fraud is told in the Book of Genesis Chapter 27. Under many modern States and using the current Statutes, Jacob and his mother Rebecca depending on so many factors including political will at the top could have been charged with conspiracy, impersonation with intent to defraud and indeed obtaining blessings by false pretenses.

Other professional colleagues may also argue that many penal and judicial systems in this unjust world, the duo would have been probably acquitted due to unending court gymnastics, adjournments, legal technicalities and political inclinations or connections to the corridors of power.

Fraud is a generic term for behavior, which involves deception by one party of another. Although the law relating to fraud differs in separate jurisdictions there are common threads, which identify behavior as fraudulent. These will include the practicing of a deception, the dishonesty of the person practicing the deception, the obtaining of property and/or the intention of interfering with another person’s lawful right to deal with property as he wishes. The number and variety of legal definitions of fraud and like criminal offences are too voluminous to repeat here and those can be discussed later.

Fraud involves deliberate criminal intent and deception. Fraud is any intentional act or omission designed to deceive others, resulting in the victim suffering a loss and/or the perpetrator achieving a gain. Some of the salient elements in Fraud are;

  1. Knowing submission of false representation or concealment (knowledge)
  2. Specific intent to deceive (deception)
  3. Detrimental reliance (losing money or assets)
  4. Potential/Damage/loss to other members, individuals, groups, Bank or financial institution or organization.

Fraud is defined as any loss or attempt to cause loss involving deception. I wish to submit that just like in corruption cases sheer dishonesty and greed, not necessarily the amount of salary or wages one gets per month counts. When it comes to the question of money, do not trust anyone, and not even yourselves. This is the reason we can have a very honest and trustworthy Government Office orderly and or messenger but have a greedy, craft and dishonest Church Bishop and Government Minister. We have heard of several high-ranking people involved in what my grandmother would only term as embarrassing and shameful activities.

Why would such a situation arise? In white–collar crime, the potential rewards are much greater than in blue collar crime. The risk of detection is lower, successful prosecution is more difficulty as one is able to summon the whole mighty platoon of the best Legal brains in the Country, state counsels and Senior Legal men and women to raise preliminary issues in courts of law, apply a dozen of injunctions, a couple of Legally challenging objections and adjournments for years on end whilst the loot is diminishing and being shared.

The resultant effect is that the penalties are less severe. What do you expect with “deliberately ill equipped and with no adequate logistical, technological and financial resources” and largely ALLEGED and presumed to be often corrupt Law Enforcement Agencies and Officers who would rather have a drought and poverty stricken but hungry villager who has stolen a cob of maize or a village chicken (free-range chicken) be convicted for five years in prison with hard labor than let the twit swindler of colossal sums of money go scot-free under the pretext of the case being technical, complex or non-pursuable. These are all sound “business” propositions and reasons for fraudsters to put their efforts into fraudulent activities. Those engaged in such criminal activities are many. It is BIG business. To be continued. Like dirt, crime accumulates.

Published by Kemman

Financial Crime Compliance (FCC) professional. Passionate about AML/CTF, Sanctions, ABC, KYC, CDD. Member of the World Advisory Council Association of Certified Fraud Examiners-ACFE. Member of the African Task Force Committee - ACAMS. Presenter at International Conferences-ACAMS&ACFE. Certified Fraud Examiner-CFE. ACFE & ACAMS. Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist-CAMS. Certified Anti-Bribery and Corruption-ABC. Founder member of Institute of Directors (IoD) Zambia Chapter. Founder - Managerial Accountability & Transparency. Two-term of two years Chairperson of the Bankers Association of Zambia Fraud Prevention and Security Committee. SADC and COMESA Consultant on Crime & Corruption Prevention & management Strategies. Former Area Head for Southern & East Africa. Professionally trained “trainer of trainers” & core facilitator. Proficient with proven track record of exceptional abilities in management and leadership for performance. Corporate Governance, capacity building, Institutional & Organizational development, business process re-engineering. Technical expertise is coupled with excellent interpersonal, team building, communication and presentation skills.

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