March 17, 2013 March 17, 2013 David Miller: Portrait of a White-Collar Criminal David Miller: Portrait of a White-Collar Criminal Christine Quinones business info systems with lab Professor williams devry university Christine Quinones business info systems with lab Professor williams devry university Table of Contents How does Miller fit the profile of the average fraud perpetrator? How does he differ? How did these characteristics make him difficult to detect?...............................
Page 3 Explain the three elements of the opportunity triangle (commit, conceal, convert), and discuss how Miller accomplished each when embezzling funds from Associated Communications. What specific concealment techniques did Miller use?.......... Page 3 What pressures motivated Miller to embezzle? How did Miller rationalize his actions?................................................................................................................. Page 4 Miller had a framed T-shirt in his office that said, “He who dies with the most toys wins. ” What does this tell you about Miller?
What lifestyle red flags could have tipped off the company to the possibility of fraud?..................................................................... Page 5 Why do companies hesitate to prosecute white-collar criminals? What are the consequences of not prosecuting? How could law enforcement officials encourage more prosecution?................................................................. .......................................... Page 5 What could the victimized companies have done to prevent Miller’s embezzlement?.......................................................................................................
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Page 6 David L. Miller: Portrait of a White-Collar Criminal Question 1:How does Miller fit the profile of the average fraud perpetrator? How does he differ? How did these characteristics make him difficult to detect? Mr. Miller is a very sad case. He has all the qualifications of a stellar employee, but those traits are only there to mask who he truly is. He fits the average profile for the average fraud perpetrator because of the following: * The vast majority of fraud perpetrators spend everything that they steal. Only a very small percentage invest the money. Mr.
Miller spent all the money and thus it explains why he stole from a new employer in order to repay the prior one. * Many white-collar criminals are stellar employees until that very moment when they are caught. They are always eager, work many days and long hours and are reliable employees. * Employers viewed Mr. Miller as an honest employee and it was because of this trust that he was placed in positions of sensitivity. * Mr. Miller had the life and behaved in the manner of your average citizen and did not raise any flags. He was an educated family man with values and good psychological framework.
Even though he has some of the same traits as your average fraud perpetrator, he was harder to spot because of the many ways that he differed. Mr. Miller was not unhappy nor was he vengeful towards his employer. He also had never been convicted of his prior transgressions, and there were various. Normally, most of the fraud perpetrators are first time offenders and not serial offender as Mr. Miller has proven to be. This type of character is very difficult to spot because they do not tend to stand out. White-collar criminals are very educated talented individuals and are the perfect employee.
No one would think that they would be capable of such deviant behavior. These people are placed in position of trust are usually work very hard and long hours for the employee. It is sad because there are many employees who possess these traits, but are truly honest and have the company’s best interest at heart. Question 2: Explain the three elements of the opportunity triangle (commit, conceal, convert), and discuss how Miller accomplished each when embezzling funds from Associated Communications. What specific concealment techniques did Miller use?
The three elements to the opportunity triangle are as follows: * Commit – for this instance the perpetrator commits the fraud by taking something that is of value to the victim. For corporations this could manifest itself in the form of money and the corruption of financial records in order to conceal the fraud. A great example of this was displayed when he was able to convince not one but two senior officers into signing various checks with the excuse of “in case something happens” to sway them into signing before they were to leave on vacation. Conceal – to conceal is to hide, so for this to occur the perpetrator must try to conceal their crime. Accounting must be kept in balance in order to avoid from being discovered. They normally do this by increasing other assets or decreasing corporate liabilities and or equities. I think about lying. It is often too easy to say one, but to conceal that lie takes skill and time and perhaps more lies. On one of Mr. Miller’s transgressions he concealed his fraud through doctoring of records and removal of checks. He concealed a particular theft by retrieving canceled checks from the bank and taking the recordings and destroying the evidence.
Then to further conceal what he did, he hid the amounts of the money that he stole into other expense accounts in order to be able to reconcile the books. Internal controls are in place for a reason and just because someone is in a position of trust, these should not be ignored and for this particular occurrence they were overlooked due to too much trust. * Convert – normally to convert is to take something that is stolen and converting it to cash. This could occur in the form of inventory or company equipment. However, Mr. Miller did not do either of these. His crime was done more indirectly.
Mr. Miller was able to forge checks to himself and deposit them within his personal account. Even though checks were signed by approved officers, the intended use for the check was not approved and constitutes fraud on behalf of Mr. Miller. Question 3: What pressures motivated Miller to embezzle? How did Miller rationalize his actions? I do not believe that Mr. Miller had a lot of pressures. However, he stated, after undergoing therapy that his problem was a disease and went as far as to compare it to alcoholism and gambling, but this to me is an excuse or a way to rationalize what he had done.
He felt that he needed to steal and have all the luxuries to be liked by his peers; which is sad because he was liked, but not for the reasons he thought, but by his working capabilities. You know you are guilty of something if you have to rationalize what you are doing. I did not notice too many explanations other than Mr. Miller had to steal from his new employer in order to repay the old one. Nonetheless, I feel that he truly believed his own excuse that he was simply borrowing and not really stealing. Sometimes our rationalizations of our actions are so powerful that we can even fool ourselves.
Question 4: Miller had a framed T-shirt in his office that said, “He who dies with the most toys wins. ” What does this tell you about Miller? What lifestyle red flags could have tipped off the company to the possibility of fraud? I truly feel sorry for Mr. Miller. His life seemed to be centered around money and materialistic obsessions. That shirt and his behavior showed his desire for money and power, but above all to be recognized by friends and peers. In the end it was Mr. Miller’s extravagant way of living in comparison to his salary proved to be his undoing.
When you have a salary of just $130,000 a year, you cannot afford the “toys” that he had. He had overall a large house, a condo on Myrtle Beach, tailored suits, monogrammed shirts, plenty of jewelry, gifts for relatives and above all the two Mercedes-Benz sedans that he just so happened to possess. In the synopsis there was no mention of his wife working, but with his salary and their 3 children, there was no reason for her to work and this logic is what led me to believe how his salary to possession ratio would raise a few red flags. Question 5:Why do companies hesitate to prosecute white-collar criminals?
What are the consequences of not prosecuting? How could law enforcement officials encourage more prosecution? Even though we see in the news about CEO’s and CFO’s being prosecuted for fraud and embezzlement, in actuality, fraud against a corporation happens more frequently than one would think. The following are a few reasons why I feel that corporations are hesitant to prosecute white-collar criminals: * Lack of knowledge – many of the law enforcement agencies, attorneys or lawyers lack the knowledge in how to properly handle these types of cases.
As technology use becomes ever so prevalent, the task is becoming more difficult as computers are a whole new playing field that is yet to be learned. * Aloofness by Society – unless the loss happens to you, society is more concerned with crimes of violence against another than monetary. The internal theft of funds within a corporation are seen as just that an internal problem. * Difficulty Prosecuting – unless you are lucky and have a confession from the perpetrator, like in Mr. Miller’s case to which he confessed in every event, you have a costly and lengthy case that will prove to be rather hard to prove.
Prosecution can sometimes cost more than the theft itself and it is not seen as an incentive to prosecute. * Lack of understanding on what computer fraud really is. Computers and the internet are pretty new things and as such the laws and ways to prosecute are very vague and hard to understand. * Guilt on the outcome of the perpetrators family. Because Mr. Miller in every event promised restitution and had a wife with 3 children, the companies felt that prosecuting was heartless and they did not wish to cause harm to the family.
One corporation, Crest even hired the attorney to represent Mr. Miller. * Negative shadow against the corporation – Companies do not like anything that could hinder their public image. Mr. Miller’s transgressions would cause a very public trial and a lot of investors would have been involved. This would have caused many to remove their investment. Overall, the corporation would suffer greatly. * Knowledge that their weaknesses would be exposed. Lack of trust in the internal controls or any discovery of weaknesses would have caused a lot of future damage against a corporation.
People are creatures of trust and habit and once trust is broken, it is very hard to return and provide that trust again. This would hurt future business that the corporation would have. Look at Enron, AIG, and Bernie Madoff, to name a few. * My favorite of all would be those that are prosecuted and the outcome is favorable to the victim, the perpetrator gets very light sentences. Many go to minimum security prisons, work camps that have certain luxuries. Because of this many corporations do not even bother in spending the additional funds in prosecuting these cases.
The above named are mere excuses and to not prosecute fraud causes more harm. It allows for the perpetrator to move on to commit fraud against another corporation, like in Mr. Miller’s case. By having this exposure, corporations feel that they will feel that they will look to others as being weak and will encourage others to commit fraud against them. When someone is not punished for their transgressions that person will not learn and feel that they can get away with it again if they get caught. Law enforcement officials are stuck and all they can do is encourage others to come forward and report the offenses.
Corporations need to know that if they take action that there will be a support system and their voices will not be lost. They need to be sure that the perpetrator will be convicted accordingly depending upon their transgressions. They need to be made an example of, so that the public know that this behavior is not tolerated and it is a serious offense that will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Question 6:What could the victimized companies have done to prevent Miller’s embezzlement? When I read the synopsis, I was looking for how Mr.
Miller committed many of the frauds, but not much detail was revealed. However, the best way that the corporations could have avoided this was to have better internal controls and adhering to them. I would have prevented some of the thefts by doing the following: * Having better controls of the checks and the signing of checks. * Secondary looks at the monthly reconciliations and the bank statements. * Provide a list of all check deposits with the subsequent invoice explaining the reason for the expense. No employee should have the level of trust and freedom that Mr. Miller was given.
There always needs to be a system of checks and balances in place in order to ensure and prevent this from happening. I can understand that these positions merit trust, but there should be a second person looking at the financials to curb any temptation for even the most honest to commit fraud. Had the first employer chosen to prosecute none of this would have happened. However, the future employers could have avoided all of this had they just bothered to do a more thorough background check on Mr. Miller. There they would have discovered the reasons for his separation from his prior employment.
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