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What Constitutes Business Fraud?

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As a business owner, you have probably heard the term "fraud" thrown around from time to time. Unfortunately, fraud can take place in many forms, and many business owners are often unaware of what constitutes fraud and how to prevent it. Fraud can be detrimental to a business, resulting in financial loss, legal repercussions, and irrevocable damage to a company's reputation.

Let's explore how business fraud occurs, from personal purchases to tax avoidance.

Personal Purchases

One of the most common examples of business fraud is personal purchases. This occurs when an employee uses company funds to purchase personal items or services. It may seem harmless, but personal purchases can add up quickly and result in significant financial loss to a business.

Companies should establish clear policies and procedures to prevent this kind of fraud, implement regular auditing, and maintain appropriate separation of duties.


Skimming is another prevalent form of business fraud. It involves an employee taking cash from a business for their personal use. This type of fraud can be especially challenging to detect, as it doesn't always appear on financial statements or reports. Companies can prevent skimming by implementing cash handling policies, limiting access to cash, and conducting surprise cash counts.

Asset Theft

Asset theft refers to the theft of physical items owned by a business, such as equipment or inventory. This type of fraud can be more evident than others but often goes undetected for an extended period. Asset theft can be prevented by implementing secure storage facilities, tracking inventory levels regularly, using lockable storage systems, and scheduling routine inventory verifications.

Falsifying Financial Statements

Falsifying financial statements is also a common form of business fraud. It involves manipulating financial data to present a company's finances in a false or misleading light. This type of fraud can lead to severe consequences, including legal action, loss of reputation, and financial ruin. Businesses can prevent falsifying financial statements by implementing internal controls and regularly auditing their financial data.

Tax Avoidance

Tax avoidance is reducing taxes by exploiting legal loopholes, manipulating transactions, or withholding information. While tax avoidance may be legal, it can cross the line into illegal activity when the tactics used become fraudulent. Businesses can prevent tax fraud by consulting with reputable tax professionals, creating a tax compliance program, and regularly reviewing tax filings.

Custom Solutions, Personalized Care

Fraud can take place in many forms, and it can be challenging for business owners to detect and prevent it. However, implementing appropriate policies, procedures, and internal controls can minimize the risk of fraudulent activity.

At Northwest Business Law LLC, our attorney can help you combat business fraud and establish protections for your company. Request a consultation today by calling our firm at (206) 565-0090.

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