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Keywords: accounts payable, AP, invoice fraud, false invoice payments, online security, einvoicing, e-invoicing
Anna Bowsher | News | 16 August 2012
Invoice fraud is something that all companies, large or small, should be on the lookout for, as it seems even the biggest organisations can fall foul of scams.
Lloyds TSB took a hit after one its workers was found to have submitted false invoice payments over a period of four years, before laundering the proceeds.
Jessica Harper, who was in charge of online security at the bank, pleaded guilty to defrauding her employer of over £2.4m between February 2008 and December 2011.
She was arrested towards the end of last year and was charged in May. She is due to be sentenced on September 21st. Her lawyer said she has already repaid £300,000 and is in the process of selling her home for around £700,000.
Sue Patten, Head of the Central Fraud Division at the Crown Prosecution Service, said: "Jessica Harper has been convicted of the type of crime the bank employed her to combat.
"The evidence in the case was clear and left Harper with little choice but to plead guilty. In doing so, she has admitted to a huge breach of trust against her former employer."
Invoice fraud can affect any company and fraudsters can be extremely sophisticated in their methods. But by eliminating manual processes and switching to electronic invoicing, spotting discrepancies and keeping track of orders and goods received can be much easier.
It comes under the wider category of procurement fraud, which according to professional services firm BDO is on the increase. Its figures show that while the recorded value of procurement fraud has fallen, the number of individual cases has risen.
And Simon Bevan, head of fraud services at the organisation, told Supply Management that it may be hugely under-reported, since companies are only blowing the whistle on small, relatively straightforward cases.
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