Fraud’s the only crime that cannot take place without victim cooperation. That’s just one of the points that Daven Morrison, M.D., makes in a presentation given to the Grand Rounds meeting at Elgin State Hospital, Elgin, Illinois this past winter.

Titled, “Oh What a Web We Weave….: Fraud and the Mind,” the presentation questions the conventionally-held answers to the questions of “why” and “how” in cases of corporate and public fraud. In fact, Dr. Morrison says that “greed” is a highly incomplete explanation of the why. The REAL explanation can usually be traced to the interplay of a number of psychological factors that align to override the fraudster’s sense of ethics and morality—and then to continue the game. And the victims buy in—even though they don’t realize it—due to their own psychic dynamics.

His audience, the Elgin clinicians, deal with fraud of a different, non-financial kind—feigned illness or malingering. It’s seen as a way to avoid jail time. So Dr. Morrison adapted his message (typically for finance folks) to people within his own profession, psychiatry. That the group was experienced in this kind of fraud became clear during the presentation. A photographic intended to elicit sympathy drew a stoic, even cold, reaction. Given a larger context, a collective “aww” was heard. One experienced clinician later noted that the first reaction was likely to have been “compassion fatigue” from dealing with fraud through malingering.

The point of this presentation is that fraud is a highly complex behavior and only through better understanding of those dynamics can we prevent it, spot it, and stop it.

Click below to download the full PPT presentation
ABC Winter 2014 Grand Rounds Elgin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *