Fighting Fraud

Published 3/1/2011

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Funds can come up missing in any law firm, and the cause typically involves one of two scenarios: either there has been an honest mistake, or there has been intentional theft that qualifies as fraud or embezzlement. In either scenario the strategy to prevent money from coming up missing is the same. Those in charge of the firm, and of firm administration, must be consistent in their policies of handling cash, persistent in applying those policies and insistent that there be no shortcuts and no exceptions in the proper handling of funds.

Tom Collins, former Chairman of Juris, Inc. is a CPA who has worked with businesses of all types. He noted that he never encountered a single case of embezzlement outside of the legal community and found it relatively commonplace among law firms. Collins cited a KPMG survey reporting that the average embezzlement incident goes on for 18 months before detection. The need to be consistent, persistent and insistent in working for financial integrity could not be more obvious.

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