BOSTON — White-collar embezzlement cases spiked to 528 cases across all industries in 2012, according to the 2012 Marquet Report on Embezzlement. This was the highest total of active cases in the United States that Marquet International, an internal investigations firm, has seen since releasing its first report five years ago.
Automotive is one of the 33 industries the firm tracks, and according to the report’s author Christopher T. Marquet, the instances include embezzlement among dealers, manufacturers and suppliers related to the industry at large. In 2012, Marquet studied 18 automotive-related embezzlement cases, which ranks ninth across all of the industries studied.
The 18 active cases in 2012 jumped from only 10 cases in 2011, but the average loss dropped from $1.43 million in 2011 to $904,000 in 2012.
“The uptick [in number of cases] for 2012 may be the result of the fact that many of the embezzlement cases included in this report began immediately after the economic collapse in late 2008, just three to four years ago,” the report states.
One of the largest dealership embezzlement cases in recent years was Patricia K. Smith’s, a woman who was sentenced to federal prison for embezzling $10.2 million from Baierl Acura in Wexford, Pa. Her case was filed in 2011, so it was included in last year’s report with automotive and was a contributing factor in the higher average loss.
In 2012, automotive’s gross losses related to embezzlement cases totaled $16.275 million, up from $14.3 million.
Although automotive did not originally appear in Marquet’s 2008 report as one of the top industries for embezzlement, it has made the list every year since 2009.
— Stephanie Forshee