Fraud Investigation Methods and Procedures
For both scenarios below, devise a fraud investigation plan by answering the following questions:
Assume you are a Burger Palace restaurant franchiser with four restaurants operated by restaurant managers in the Charlotte metropolitan area. After initially planning and launching a location, the managers are generally able to follow franchise processes and procedures and run their locations without your oversight. As a result, you are not involved in the day-to-day activities of each restaurant.
You were initially pleased with the growth and overall performance of the most recent launch in Huntersville. The restaurant generated consistent margins on sales growth of 8% plus month-over-month, which exceeded your initial expectations. However, things appeared to shift slightly over the last quarter. Sales growth has remained strong (only slightly down from the initial growth, which is typical in the restaurant business). However, you have noticed a reduction in your margins. One of the causes appears to be an increased inventory burn in your gourmet coffee line of products, which is out of line with the sales growth figures. You have recently brought this matter to the attention of the restaurant manager, who has assured you that this type of margin decline is normal (and expected) as the increased volume has led to more waste due to drink ordering errors while handling peak-level volumes. Your manager also explained that the increased volume has led to hiring needs, which have been filled by inexperienced assistant managers, which is also leading to further product waste.
Your experience suggests that the explanation provided does not adequately explain the situation. You suspect that fraudulent activity, such as free product or non-register sales, may be occurring at the Huntersville restaurant.
The Zippy Mart
The downtown Arlington Zippy Mart gas station and convenience store operates largely on a cash basis, with more than 2/3 of all transactions occurring with cash. The assistant manager has reported a discrepancy between the daily cash receipts and week-end fuel inventory. She is not sure if there is a theft issue, faulty fuel measurements, tank leakage, or if the fuel delivery trucks are shorting them fuel.
Chapters 7 & 8 in Fraud Examination
Robbins, J. M., & Sechooler, A. M. (2018). Once more unto the breach: What the Equifax and Uber data breaches reveal about the intersection of information security and the enforcement of securities laws. Criminal Justice, 33(1), 4-7.
Fitriya, F., Szulczyk, K., & Basyith, A. (2018). Moving in the right direction to fight financial crime: Prevention and detection. Journal of Financial Crime, 25(2), 362-368.
Lokanan, M. (2018). Informing the fraud triangle: Insights from differential association theory. The Journal of Theoretical Accounting Research, 14(1), 55-98.
Albrecht, W. S., Albrecht, C. O., Albrecht, C. C., & Zimbelman, M. F. (2019). Fraud examination (6th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE). (2018). Report to the nations: 2018 global study on occupational fraud and abuse. Retrieved from https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/acfepublic/2018-report-to-the-nations.pdf