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JAM | May 14, 2023

Audrey Hinchcliffe | What’s fraud got to do with it? (Part III)

/ Our Today

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Fraud as a crime in business or as defined, “business fraud” includes – making false promises or material misrepresentation that are relied upon by others to your benefit or to their detriment.

Per NYC Criminal Lawyer, fraud offences can be used to obtain money or assets from individuals, businesses, and government institutions.

We need not look further than to what is (or may be) happening in our businesses in Jamaica to see the definition above aptly applies. This year we have heard of incidents at Stocks & Securities Limited, Sagicor, NCB, and Seprod. The opportunities for fraud are wide and varied and with technology no business is spared. Try as we may, with varied internal control mechanisms ,electronic devices et al, many businesses are susceptible. I am fascinated by how the presence of cameras are viewed as a deterrent. 

Who has not seen a person staring into the camera as if to say I am photogenic while committing a criminal act? Is there software that a smart alec can use to their advantage? We should not be lulled into a false sense of security that electronic devices offer comfort.There is nothing more deflating  than those who see a crime committed  and do not report it – after all, “informer fi dead,” so who is going to feel protected by policy or even legislation on whistle blowing.

In order to get a handle on business fraud, we must examine this in the Jamaican context by having consultations as the basis for commissioning a study on our situation.

Considering there are different types of business fraud,  a “one size fits all” approach would be inappropriate, if not irresponsible. It must be determined which type of business fraud is most egregious and detrimental to the very existence of businesses in Jamaica.

Audrey Hinchcliffe.

While I understand that fraud is a worldwide occurrence, I would like to know which of those take place more frequently in Jamaica and what could be put in place as counter measures.

How do businesses create opportunities for fraud? How best do we tackle tax fraud? What remedies can be put in place? What can be done to counter online fraud which is now a global issue? 

As for business opportunities, more attention has to be paid to whom are we trading for goods and services with. Who is the owner of the property that is being sold when the title shows someone else? I know, I have been there!

All too often we scour for shortfalls in our security measures only to find out that the fraudster is miles ahead of the business internal control policies and procedures.

Fraud as a crime in our business must be addressed as a matter of urgency.

Stay alert for Part IV.

Audrey Stewart-Hinchcliffe is founder and chairperson of Manpower and Maintenance Services Group Limited.


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