Accidental fraud is when an individual unintentionally commits a fraudulent act. This can happen for many reasons, such as a lack of knowledge about the law or company policies or simply by making an honest mistake.
According to Missouri statutes, an individual guilty of fraud may receive a class A misdemeanor charge and be liable for payment that can equal the value of the fraud. Subsequent offenders might receive a Class E felony charge. See below for some ways an employee might commit fraud without realizing it.
Accidentally submitting false expense reports
One typical example of accidental fraud is when an employee unknowingly submits false or incorrect information on a company expense report. This could be due to the employee not being aware of the proper documentation requirements or simply misremembering the details of a business expense.
Unknowingly participating in a fraudulent scheme
Another form of accidental fraud is when an individual unintentionally participates in a fraudulent scheme, perhaps because they were unaware that the scheme was illegal or unethical. For example, a supervisor may ask their employee to process false invoices or manipulate financial records and comply without realizing the consequences of their actions.
Accidental fraud can have severe consequences for the individual who commits the act and the company they work for. In addition to legal penalties, it can damage the company’s reputation and erode trust within the organization.
It is crucial for employees to feel comfortable speaking up if their employer asks them to do something that seems unethical or illegal. Companies also need to train and educate their employees about common fraudulent behaviors. By taking these precautions, companies can help minimize fraudulent activity, whether intentional or accidental.