Time is Money; basing effective internal fraud prevention strategies on what we know about offenders’ decisions over the course of the offending.

Dr David Curnow1
1Private Practice, Melbourne, Australia

Despite costing $4 trillion USD worldwide and enormous technological advances, the fields of law enforcement, industry regulators, accountancy, and security personnel continue to rely on a model of fraud developed nearly 70 years ago.  Cressey’s model, which drives most fraud prevention strategies, is comprised of three elements (motivation, opportunity and rationalisation), which manifests as a single event which repeats itself.  Evidence from interviews with offenders by Curnow & Ogloff’s (2011) PhD research and extended by University of NSW researchers shows the fraud triangle to be less effective at describing the offender’s mindset over the many decisions and behavioural adjustments that most offenders of this type make over their often months of offending.  This sequenced approach to fraudulent behaviour over time corresponds with recent findings in behavioural economics and the use of coping strategies to maintain their offending over a longer time frame.  The model consists of four phases from: Pre-existing vulnerabilities, Induction to the first theft, Ongoing theft to Detection and Resolution.  The process of using this model to focus an organisation’s fraud deterrence and detection strategies will be discussed to gain the most effective outcomes rather than a ‘scattergun’ approach which typifies the approach taken by most organisations.


Dr. Curnow has been a forensic psychologist for 20 years and was appointed as a Full Time Member of the Adult Parole Board of Victoria in 2014 after holding a variety of clinical leadership positions in the Victorian and South Australian correctional systems. In private practice Dr Curnow has provided psychological treatment to a broad range of clients and groups, in addition to providing reports to courts on criminal, civil, and family law matters. He sits on the Australian Standards committee reviewing the Fraud Control standards (AS-8001) and delivered presentations at academic conferences and many banking and publicly listed companies on white collar crime.

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