Financial crime tradecraft: a critical study of the mechanics of financial crime

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Event details

PhD Seminar

Date & time

Tuesday 16 November 2021


Online Via zoom
ANU Canberra


Douglas Allan

This thesis contributes to our understanding of the tradecraft of fraudsters who commit complex financial crimes. It takes up the challenge set down by Levi (1984) and Braithwaite (1985) to give greater attention to how fraudsters commit their crimes. It provides insight into the diversity of tradecraft fraudsters regularly apply in pursuit of their objectives. The underlying hypothesis of this thesis is a fraudster’s status as either an insider or an outsider to a target financial system generates variation in their use of tradecraft. It offers financial crime prevention and investigation a new perspective about how fraudsters use resources to commit financial crimes and avoid detection.

The thesis proposes the presence of three interlinked activity domains common to all complex financial crimes. It shows the Access, Learning, and Planning domains, when combined, produce a process model that enables the testing of the hypothesis driving this research. The data, primarily transcripts of interviews with detectives and criminal case management files, is divided into insider and outsider cases. These cases are thematically analysed to identify key similarities and differences in the methods, resources and tradecraft used by fraudsters. This identifies key stages in the commission of financial crime including accessing the financial target, learning about the target’s strengths and weaknesses, planning to overcome financial crime controls and implementation.

This thesis concludes that outsiders were more frequently observed undertaking detailed access, learning, and planning related activities earlier in their fraud event timeline and this was associated with periods of intense preparatory activity. Insiders demonstrated similar levels of intensity, but later in their fraud event timeline. These findings reveal the presence of different offending trajectories and led to suggested revisions of the Time Allocation Model of Criminal Planning, the Fraud Triangle and Routine Activity Theory. The implications of these findings are discussed with a focus on the way these findings inform the prevention and investigation of financial crimes.

This seminar is Douglas’s final presentation of his doctoral candidature.

About the Speaker

Douglas Allen initially joined RegNet in 2013 to examine offender behaviours within complex financial systems. He is a researcher in the field of white collar crime, Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Financing, offender planning and decision making.

Douglas is the Director of Fraud and Financial Crime, and Anti-Money Laundering & Counter Terrorism Financing studies at the Australian Graduate School of Policing and Security, Charles Sturt University.

This event will be delivered online via Zoom.

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Updated:  10 August 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director, RegNet/Page Contact:  Director, RegNet