Financial services in trouble: the electronic dimension

Michel Picard (Risk Management Division, GW Consulting and Investigation, Montreal, Canada)

Journal of Financial Crime

ISSN: 1359-0790

Publication date: 8 May 2009



The initial role of computers and information technology (IT) systems consisted of improving business daily's operation. However, this quest of efficiency serves more obscure goals as fraudsters exploit the electronic dimension for personal profits with a maximum devastating impact on businesses and their client. The purpose of this paper is to suggest an analysis of the role of the electronic dimension in financial market crimes. It proposes reconsidering its importance based on its role rather than on its complexity and, consequently, better understanding the basic elements of a fraud.


The paper takes the form of a case analysis and field work.


The complexity of an IT system facilitates the commitment of a fraud and, at the same time, complicates its investigation. However, an IT system does not initiate a fraud. It is an accessory, a tool at the service of a criminal mind which is where the scheme originates.

Research limitations/implications

Information regarding the two case studies comes only from public sources (mainly written media and books) and is not confirmed by any confidential data available to the author.


Many computer crime experts (re: Cybercriminality Conference in Canada, April 2008, and in Luxembourg, June 2008) agree upon accessorial aspect of IT systems. For investigation purposes, it switches the focus from the computer element back to the main event: the environment in which the fraud occurs.



Picard, M. (2009), "Financial services in trouble: the electronic dimension", Journal of Financial Crime, Vol. 16 No. 2, pp. 180-192.

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