Peter, 49, had worked as an accountant in a medium-sized company in the telecommunications sector for two
years. He was known to be competent, quiet and unassuming, and fitted neatly into most people’s stereotype
of the quiet accountant.
Peter’s boss, the chief financial officer, was head-hunted to a larger firm, and Peter was promoted to his job. It
was a young company that had made a lot of money quickly. The chief executive officer (CEO) was an ideas
man and trusted Peter to look after the money side of things. Ten months after Peter took over as chief
financial officer, regulations changed and five new businesses entered the market. Peter informed the CEO and
executive that, although the company was still profitable, profits were likely to be less than forecast. Some
people noticed that Peter was driving an expensive new car.
Four months later, Peter left the company suddenly. Within days, the CEO was told that the company was in
deep financial trouble. Twenty staff were made redundant that day, and the remaining 110 were told that
their future was shaky. A consulting accountant quickly found that Peter had stolen nearly $2 million from the
company and had hung on until the very last minute before it all came crashing down. The matter was referred
to the police.
Peter could not be tracked down. Police soon found that he had given a false name to the company when he
was recruited, and that most of the details on his CV were either misleading or false. Police discovered his true
identity, but unfortunately Peter had left the country.
X Check identity.
X Check qualifications.
X Note significant unexplained changes in an employee’s circumstances
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