Financial crime: The lords of frauds
The case of Martin Frankel, the star-gazing fraudster who disappeared from his Greenwich, Connecticut, mansion leaving behind a short to-do list - "launder the money" - various astrological charts seeking to answer whether he would be turned in or go to prison and a $335 million hole in the portfolios of several obscure American insurance companies, highlights the bizarre side of financial crime. The final numbers haven't been counted on Frankel: he may have pulled off the biggest theft ever. Its peculiar features shouldn't obscure a key lesson of the Frankel case: fraud just keeps on getting bigger. Fraud and money-laundering are now said to be among the world's fastest-growing financial markets.
William Cleghorn, head of fraud investigations at PricewaterhouseCoopers reckons that the real costs of fraud could easily exceed $30 billion globally: "internet fraud alone, a rapidly growing source of international fraud, is currently estimated at over £10 billion [$15.9 billion]. IMF and World Bank fraud may also be a real issue. If only 5% of total World Bank/IMF lending is fraudulently diverted, this would place the loss last year at £1.6