With governments around the world doling out billions in stimulus packages or infrastructure projects to help revive flagging economies in the wake of the subprime crisis, many fraudsters are gearing up for the potential opportunity of a lifetime. In its June Global Fraud Report risk consulting company Kroll estimates that as much as $500 billion of the $5 trillion governments have spent globally on stimulus packages - including infrastructure projects - could fall into the hands of fraudsters. Kroll says big-budget capital projects are traditional targets for corruption, given the massive investment amounts and complex procurement processes involved.
In April leaders of the Group of 20 countries agreed to a Sl trillion global stimulus package, and individual governments have also pledged considerable sums, including the Obama administration in the United States, which promised $550 billion for upgrading infrastructure including roads and schools.
"The unprecedented amount of financial support that governments have pledged to help stabilize their economies leaves the door wide open to fraudsters," says Richard Abbey, managing director in Kroll's financial investigations practice. …