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ACFE Report to the Nations: Organizations lost an average of more than $1.5M per fraud case

Written on Apr 5, 2024

$3.1 billion lost to fraud. Those were the total losses calculated in the latest report from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), “Occupational Fraud 2024: A Report to the Nations.” The 13th edition of the research study on the costs and effects of occupational fraud analyzed 1,921 actual fraud cases from 138 countries and territories that were investigated by Certified Fraud Examiners (CFEs) between January 2022 and September 2023. 

Based on their findings, CFEs estimate that organizations lose 5% of revenue to fraud each year.  

Many of the cases investigated during the survey period are believed to have occurred during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the 2024 report, 53% of the cases had at least one pandemic-related factor that contributed to the fraud’s occurrence, and the median losses from frauds increased for the first time since the 2016 report. Fraud cases involving more than one perpetrator decreased, reversing the trend of increasing collusion from previous years.  

Additional findings: 

  • Fraud in government organizations: The median loss per fraud case in government organizations was $150,000. Median losses were the largest and corruption was more likely to occur at the national level of government.  

  • Cryptocurrency schemes: Despite only 4% of the cases in the study involving cryptocurrency, that number is expected to grow. In the study, 47% of the cases involved the conversion of stolen assets into cryptocurrency, while 33% involved bribery or kickback payments were made to a co-conspirator in cryptocurrency.  

  • Regional comparisons: The Latin America and Caribbean region had the highest median loss per case ($250,000). The Asia-Pacific region and Eastern Europe and Western/Central Asia region tied for second with a median loss of $200,000 per case. The regions with the highest percentage of cases involving corruption were Southern Asia (74%) and Eastern Europe and Western/Central Asia (71%).  

  • Detection: A typical fraud case lasted about 12 months before detection. More than half of the 43% of frauds that were detected by tips came from employees.  

  • Perpetrators: Fraud perpetrators were more likely to be male (74% of cases) and between the ages of 31 and 50 years old (69% of cases). Most perpetrators (87%) had never been charged or convicted for fraud-related offenses in the past.  

  • Red flags: 84% of fraudsters displayed at least one behavioral red flag, with the most common being that they were living beyond their means (39%). 

  • Case results: In the study, 68% of perpetrators were terminated by their employers and 72% of fraud cases referred to law enforcement resulted in a conviction.  

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