Deflection of Blame

Once fraud is detected in an organization and the accused is questioned, the guilty party will try to deflect blame or try to excuse the questioned actions. When fraud occurs at the top, blame will most likely be deflected to staff on the lower levels of the organizational structure or other associated professionals. To find out the root of the problem and what took place, you must investigate. If someone is running a department and everything is in confusion, management is poor.  When audits are delayed, missing supporting documents, financial statements that differ for the same period, project overspending, bank accounts in the negative, co-mingling and multiple complaints of mismanagement, investigations must be completed. The chain of command exists to help spot issues and for multiple people to be involved in the approval and accounting process.

When blame is deflected to staff, Ask these questions:

  • Were all outlined staff hired and present in the department at the time of the fraud?
  • Was the proper segregation of duties outlined followed?
  • Was the financial controller reviewing the financial reports, accounting software and project spending?
  • How long after was the issue/issues spotted?
  • Who approved the questioned purchases or financial reports?
  • Who submits financial reports?
  • Are all the staff experienced/qualified in the field?
  • Who hired the staff being blamed?
  • Is that staff member still employed in the department?
  • Was the proper procedures followed to hire consultants/staff?
  • Why was the issue not spotted with one of the outlined controls sooner?
  • Who is the person deflecting the blame?
  • Who is in control?


Miranda Spencer-Averhart

Accounting Consultant


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