In Fraud Prevention & Ethics Programs, risk management plans expert witness Ira S. Somerson, CPP, CSC, writes:
The vast majority of organizations do have an ethics policy. But if you ask the employees of these organizations if they have read this policy, they will reluctantly confess that they did not even know that one existed! Fraud is preventable and the critical potential from this risk can be mitigated. Federal corporate sentencing guidelines specifically advise that the presence of a workable and active crime prevention program within the organization will bear significantly upon the verdict and size of penalty. An ethics policy and its procedures must be something that employees can rely upon on a day-to-day basis. The ingredients include providing employees with the capability to anonymously report concerns, giving employees availability to advice when concerned with ethical decisions, and providing awareness and orientation programs to new and existing staff. Of course, senior executives set the tone for this objective and their awareness of how they are perceived is critical to the message delivered. Fraud prevention is also a matter of defensive strategy. Specific audits or risk assessments that identify serious potential fraud may assist in narrowing defensive strategy focus.