“Virtue is insufficient temptation.”

George Bernard Shaw

(By Joe Koletar) Thus starts an article, “Eco-waverers,” in the 2/28/15 edition of The Economist magazine (page 67.)

The article reports a study that indicates shoppers who take their own, eco-friendly, bag to the grocery store tend to buy more junk food than shoppers who use the plastic bags provided by the store.

Another study shows apartment-dwellers who respond to weekly advisories about limiting water usage reduced their water consumption by 6%. At the same time, their use of electricity rose by 5.6%. Hardly an off-set when one considers that production of electricity is more eco-unfriendly than the use of water.

A third study was conducted of persons performing community service. One group volunteered and the other group had been sentenced to such service. Both groups were offered the choice of a reward if they completed their service. Each group was offered the choice of a pair of designer jeans or a vacuum cleaner. The group that volunteered favored the designer jeans, while the group sentenced to such service tended toward the vacuum cleaner.

The article notes that psychologists refer to such behavior as “moral licensing.” Because I have done good, I am therefore allowed to reward myself. (I lost twenty pounds so I can buy that expensive car I always wanted?)

Let us now turn the focus of such actions to fraud. Does the fact that they have done good provide a rationale to some people to indulge themselves in others’ money? Shouldn’t I get some reward for being such a good person? Is this “Heaven Can Wait” behavior?

We explore such issues in The A.B.C.s of Behavioral Forensics (Wiley, 2013).

Pardon the pun, but that funny-looking thing between your ears seems to have a “mind” of its own.

Join us for more insights into behavioral forensics (behind fraud and similar white collar crimes) from the authors of ABCs of Behavioral Forensics (Wiley, 2013): Sri Ramamoorti, Ph. D., Daven Morrison, M.D., and Joe Koletar, D.P.A., along with Vic Hartman, J.D. These distinguished experts come from the disciplines of psychology, medicine, accounting, law, and law enforcement to explain and prevent fraud. Because we are inspired to bring to light and address the fraud problems in today’s headlines, we encourage our readers to come back and revisit us regularly at

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