Stealing from the boss: who is looking?

Peter John Lenz (Flinders Business School, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia)
Adam Graycar (School of Social and Policy Studies, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia)

Journal of Financial Crime

ISSN: 1359-0790

Publication date: 4 July 2016



The purpose of this paper is to discover organisational governance lessons that emerge from the unique facts and characteristics of one significant corporate fraud in Australia.


Data were triangulated between a primary loss adjustment file with multiple commercial and legal secondary sources. The data were analysed and conclusions were inductively drawn as part of a master’s degree research project.


White-collar crime takes many forms but it is rare for a medium-sized ASX listed company to be defrauded of Aus$22 m without anybody noticing. Narrative findings reveal the dynamics of the fraud and the weaknesses in corporate governance. This paper outlines the processes of detection and control. It provides several lessons for organisational governance that could prevent similar occupational frauds in the future.

Research limitation/implications

This unique fraud case has facts which are not necessarily typical of fraud in general. Anonymity in the case seeks to preserve the identities of the parties, but may in fact limit the potential for transparent discussion.

Social implications

While detecting and investigating occupational fraud has benefits for practitioners and commentators, there are extensive direct and indirect social costs associated with this case.


The value of this case lies in revealing details of how a significant fraud was perpetrated so that fraud investigators, accountancy professionals, academics and students can benefit from lessons learned.



Lenz, P. and Graycar, A. (2016), "Stealing from the boss: who is looking?", Journal of Financial Crime, Vol. 23 No. 3, pp. 613-623.

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Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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