2.1 The Fraud Triangle

Figure 1. Fraud Triangle (Cressey, 1973)

The root causes of fraud have been traced to what is known as the Fraud Triangle. Three elements made up the triangle.

Pressure = Motivation behind fraud. This can be due to financial pressure such as debt or shortfall in revenue or financial reward. Individual considers committing food fraud to solve his/her financial problem or to increase the current profits.

Opportunity = Perceived chances to commit fraud. In this case, an individual is provided with the means by which to commit the fraud. The person could identify or is aware of the methods / process needed to commit the fraud.  One can also use (abuse) his/her position or role in the organisation to commit the fraudulent activity. It could also be due to a lax environment in which no one is minding the site / processing facility / logistics. There is also low perceived risk of getting caught or detection methods.

Rationalisation = Justification for conducting the fraud. For example, an individual may rationalise that they are doing it as part of the team or to support their family and staff. The fraudster justifies the fraud that makes it an acceptable act.