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The fraud triangle revisited

Schuchter, Alexander and Levi, Michael ORCID: 2016. The fraud triangle revisited. Security Journal 29 (2) , pp. 107-121. 10.1057/sj.2013.1

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This article revisits the Fraud Triangle, an explanatory framework for financial fraud, originally developed by the American criminologist Donald Cressey from his interviews with embezzlers. First of all, we describe several developmental cornerstones of the Fraud Triangle. Its recent theoretical and practical application is reconsidered. In accordance with the three elements – motivation, opportunity, rationalization – and on the basis of our empirical study of 13 company fraudsters in Austria and Switzerland, we illustrate some within-company measures, which may contribute to a low fraud risk corporate culture. Although opportunity is necessary but not a sufficient condition for ‘upperworld’ criminal offences, our respondents regard the perceived pressures they experienced as salient. Rather than rationalizations, there is a ‘fraud-inhibiting inner voice’ before the crime, which normally deters an individual from fraudulent behaviour. This inner voice becomes quieter over time until the fraud occurs; at least in their cases. Our interviewees argue that all Fraud Triangle elements – including the inner voice – are highly influenced by the corporate culture in their companies.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
K Law > K Law (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Fraud Triangle; Fraud Diamond; white-collar crime motivation; fraudulent opportunity; pressure; rationalization
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
ISSN: 0955-1662
Last Modified: 25 Oct 2022 09:19

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