The chair of SAFERjobs, the recruitment industry body tasked with combating employment fraud, tells Recruiter that the recent conviction of a recruitment consultant for fraud is “a wake-up call” for the industry.
Following the conviction of Exeter recruitment consultant David Reed for creating bogus jobs, and then invoicing two companies for £3,400, Keith Rosser says the case serves as a warning to the industry to take internal fraud more seriously.
“Sometimes people give the impression that they don’t put fraud in the same bracket as other criminal activity. This will remind some people who may have thought of doing something similar that actually it is quite a serious thing to do.”
According to the charges against him, Reed “created fictitious job vacancies with Tremlett and Turner and Cleaning Commercial Services between May and October 2013 and then purported to try and fill them, intending to cause loss to Penguin Consultants UK, or to expose them to a risk of loss”, reported the Exeter Express and Echo on 10 April.
Reed, who admitted two counts of fraud by false representation, said he found workers for jobs at two companies and submitted invoices for £3,400 to those firms — even though he knew the “jobs” were fake.
Following the trial, Reed — who had no previous convictions — was given a 12-month community order with 90 hours of unpaid work and was ordered to pay costs of £145.
Rosser called on recruitment agencies to do more to stop this type of fraud, which he says continues “to crop up now and again”. Rosser says he is aware of fewer than 10 cases involving “fake jobs” in 2013, but adds that this type of fraud “never seems to go away”.
Rosser advised companies to improve their training, particularly for new staff.
He also urged them to improve their internal governance to identify any fraudulent practices as quickly as possible. “That could be sampling a number of jobs and a number of invoices [to check they are genuine],” he says.
A recent report by the UK’s fraud prevention service, CIFAS, called for companies to implement secondary measures, including a strong anti-fraud culture, with a zero-tolerance stance, and a happy working environment to help maintain staff morale and avoid ‘emotional triggers’ that might tempt an employee to commit a crime.
It found that around 60% of internal frauds reported to CIFAS in 2013 were identified because of more robust internal security precautions, controls and processes for monitoring the activities of staff.
Ben Cheriton, managing director of Penguin Consultants UK, tells Recruiter: "It is very important that David [Reed] got a criminal record so he can not do it again in the future" adding this case "is a message that it [fraud] is something to keep an eye out for. "
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