Inside the mind of an occupational fraudster

We noted in the December 2017 issue of Making Headlines that University of New South Wales and FCX are collaborating in a two-year project researching occupational fraud in Australian business

The project aims to explore several key aspects of occupational fraud by conducting a series of interviews with up to 65 perpetrators of white-collar crime in the workplace and with up to 35 corporate, government and not-for-profit victims1.

The research team has so far interviewed 45 occupational fraud offenders. Each interviewee has been involved in a major case of occupational fraud (minimum value $100,000), has been convicted of criminal offences and, in most cases, sentenced to imprisonment. The majority of the interviews to date have in fact been conducted within the prison environment.

One of the research participants interviewed earlier this year was Kerry Tucker. Kerry was accused of stealing almost $2 million from her employer over a period of six years. She was arrested by the police (at her local fitness centre in the middle of a workout), taken to the local police station, interviewed, charged, fingerprinted, photographed and jailed. From the moment of her arrest, Kerry spent the next 4½ years in custody, all of it (by choice in order that her family could conveniently visit her), in maximum security.

Kerry emerged from prison with a Master of Arts after graduating in a special ceremony for several graduating prisoners conducted inside the prison. Following her release, she launched into a new career as a lecturer in Media Studies at Swinburne University and began her PhD. Kerry was the inspiration for the ABC television series ‘Wentworth’ and was script consultant and authenticity advisor for the first series. Her inspiring story was published in a ‘tell-all’ autobiography ‘The Prisoner’ (Penguin, Random House Australia).

Kerry has recently spoken at a number of FCX events where she provides a valuable insight into the mind of the white-collar crime offender. She talks about her motivations, her concerns about being detected, internal control weaknesses that made her fraud possible, the moral dilemma it presented and the way in which she resolved that in her own mind, how she was discovered and how she responded. She talks about the horror of imprisonment as mother of two young girls being limited to weekly visits of 20 minutes and her resolve to assist other prisoners entering the system for the first time. Her story is truly inspiring. You can hear Kerry’s talking about her journey to the dark-side and back on an ABC podcast here.

Kerry is speaking at future FCX events including a national broadcast on Thursday 15 November 2018. If you would like an invitation to hear Kerry speak, contact FCX at fcx@mcgrathnicol.com.

Kerry Tucker

[1] http://www.mcgrathnicol.com/financial-crime-exchange/news/preliminary-findings-occupational-fraud-research/