November 15th, 2018

What took so long to discover fraud?


By Lethbridge Herald Opinon on November 6, 2018.

Answers needed about RCMP’s slowness in noticing fraudulent credit card purchases

In summer 2016 an RCMP credit card was cloned and fraudulently used for purchases totalling $104,555 before the RCMP discovered what was happening – about nine months later.

When this was revealed recently it was couched as É the RCMP wanting to warn others É

We have not heard the RCMP voice any concern about how long it took them to discover the fraud.

Anyone who has ever used a credit card to pay for gas knows very well that a receipt is available for the purchase. If you have ever had a company credit card you know that the receipts have to be submitted to the company in order to keep track of items charged to that card.

Most accounting departments that are on the ball would have those receipts in a folder and when the credit card statement arrives each month the entries are matched against those receipts. If there are suddenly a whole bunch of charges for which there are no receipts, questions would be asked and an investigation launched – this would take place within weeks, a couple of months at the most.

If the card was cloned in July 2016 and the irregularities discovered in March 2017 (which is the timeframe media have deduced), on average about $13,000 a month of additional charges were appearing on that credit card statement for which there were no receipts. That happened month after month after month without, it appears, anybody in charge of accounts noticing.

The reason good accounting practices are put in place is to nip the issue in the bud and most credit card companies are willing to reverse incorrect or fraudulent charges if reported promptly.

We are told in this case that the credit card company would absorb only $14,555 of the $104,555. That means the public is on the hook for about $90,000.

This only came to light because it was part of the annual Public Accounts tabled in Parliament recently.

It is interesting to consider someone walking into an RCMP detachment office to report damage to their vehicle in a hit and run, or theft of some kind, only to reveal it had happened about nine months previously.

It would be reasonable to assume the officer would have questions regarding why the person took that long to notice the damage or theft.

The public has every right to demand some answers here, too.

If $104,555 could be fraudulently charged to one credit card, what other irregularities exist on the many RCMP credit cards across the country?

What other expense accounts are also not properly audited?

The public has the right to know that any organization funded by taxpayers is being run efficiently with appropriate checks and balances in place to reveal irregularities. We need some answers.

An editorial from the Medicine Hat News

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