Last year saw a sharp increase in the number of cases of white-collar crime in Switzerland. At CHF 537.2 million, however, the total losses sustained were down compared to the previous year. Financial institutions were hit hardest. Cybercrime increased considerably. These are the insights provided by the latest edition of the “KPMG Forensic Fraud Barometer”.
Seven cases of cybercrime were registered within the scope of the “KPMG Forensic Fraud Barometer” in 2014 with losses amounting to a total of CHF 200.5 million. Four cases concerned online fraud. In these, high-quality, quick-selling goods such as well-known brands of mobile phones were offered for sale on online platforms without any intent of transferring ownership of these goods. In another case of cybercrime, the former IT employee of an electrical installation service provider still had external access to the company server even after the employment relationship had ended. Manipulations to his former employer’s Outlook calendar and other acts of revenge caused losses totaling CHF 100,000. Yet another case involved four men who gained access to credit card details on Internet portals. They then used this information to finance a lavish lifestyle, thereby causing a loss of CHF 78,000.
As in past years, the largest number of white-collar crimes in 2014 was committed in the Zurich region with 27 cases registered. At CHF 13.8 million, this area also ranked highest in terms of average loss per case in a regional comparison. The loss per case in Ticino, which came in second, was only half as high at CHF 6.7 million. The case involving the highest loss took place in Zurich, as well. Increases were also seen in both the number and volume of white-collar crimes in Northwestern Switzerland. In Central Switzerland, Eastern Switzerland and the Lake Geneva region, on the other hand, 2014 brought a decrease in losses.
Financial institutions represented the hardest-hit group of victims again in 2014 with total losses reaching CHF 323.3 million. At CHF 18 million, financial institutions also suffered the highest average loss per case. Investors were the second-hardest-hit group with total losses amounting to CHF 137 million. Here the average loss per case was substantially lower at CHF 12.4 million.
The largest recorded case of white-collar crime was attributable to organized crime and involved a loss of CHF 200 million. If this case is omitted from the statistics, it becomes evident that insufficiently monitored executives continue to pose a great potential threat on account of their special position within the company. In the 18 cases in which the perpetrators came from the ranks of upper management, an average loss of CHF 9.3 million was incurred per case. In the 12 cases involving employees as perpetrators, on the other hand, the average loss per case amounted to a mere CHF 1.9 million.
The KPMG Forensic Fraud Barometer is based on cases of white-collar crime that were closed by a Swiss criminal court during the year under review in which losses amounted to at least CHF 50,000 and which were reported in Switzerland’s main daily and weekly newspapers.
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