1.1 Fabricating Escherichia coli results
Why did the Quality Control Officer fabricate the E. coli test results?
This unit explores the mind of a fraudster and identifies the various opportunities, motivation and pressure to commit fraud.
More information about the news here:
Fraud is theft and it is often explained in the media as being motivated by greed.
To understand how fraud happens, new thinking is required to answer the questions:
- Why does fraud happen?
- Could it have been prevented?
- What are the possible psychological factors that cause people to commit a big fraud?
Let’s explore Question No. 2 (Could it have been prevented?) first. This question while difficult, is perhaps easier to answer. The fraud could potentially be prevented via internal, external controls, monitoring systems, due diligence and risk assessment and management.
The first question, why fraud happens, is more difficult to answer as here we enter the realm of human mind. Most people involved in fraud are educated (to a certain extent), are probably experienced and/or own similar business. The motivation to commit fraud is influenced by a number of factors but it all boils down to economy.
In order to answer Question 3, we often use criminological theories to understand the psychological characteristics of fraudsters. Note that fraudsters often seem normal in every way. They are married, loving parents, pillars of the community, active in civic and religious affairs and supportive of good causes. Yet… they do terrible things. Behavioural science has thus been unable to identify a single psychological characteristic or set of characteristics that can serve as a reliable marker of an individual to commit fraud.
It is too simplistic to say that ‘greed or dishonesty’ account for all that went on in food fraud incidents. It may help to view fraud from the criminologists perspectives. Food fraud, like any other crime, can best be explained using a number of theories.