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Office Administrator Guilty Of Stealing $42,000 From Child Care Center

While this story comes from Australia, it is important to remember that fraud can happen to any business and that 60% of business fraud is internal.

An office administrator at the Baringa Childcare Centre in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) pleaded guilty to the theft of $42,000 from the small business. Tanya Diamond appeared at the ACT Magistrates Court on the count of obtaining property by deception. She had originally faced 47 separate counts, but the prosecution rolled them into one all-encompassing charge.
 
Diamond, who began working at the facility in 2001 as a casual employee before being promoted to office administrator in 2003, used her position to amend her work hours, resulting in the theft of $42,642.19 between August 2010 and July 2013.
 
Diamond’s role in the childcare facility of collecting and collating time sheets, processing pay, enquiries, tax and fees, enabled her to edit her documented working hours, resulting in the fraudulent acquisition of business funds.
 
Gary Gill, partner in charge at forensic accounting services company KPMG and an expert on fraud protection, said, "the owner needed to keep tabs on the numbers, as well as understanding outgoings and suspicious transactions to better ensure that this doesn’t occur in their business”.
 
“The owner should always be skeptical of the payroll, not so much to not trusting the employees, but being skeptical and looking closely at the payroll every month,” Gill says.
 
Fraud in small business isn’t uncommon. In 2013, Gill's KPMG team found there has been a three-fold increase in major fraud during the past 15 years.
 
KPMG has found 60% of fraud is internal, and this is due to the lack of segregations of duties in a small business, meaning there is more exposure to sensitive parts of the business to more employees.
 
“Fraud happens to any business,” Gill says. “Wherever there is money there will be fraud.”
 
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