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2-1 (Learning objective 2-1) How is “skimming” defined?
Answer: Skimming is the theft of cash from a victim organization prior to its entry in the
organization’s accounting system.
2-2 (Learning objective 2-2) What are the two principal categories of skimming?
Answer: Skimming schemes can be subdivided based on whether they target sales or receivables.
The character of the incoming funds has an effect on how the frauds are concealed, and
concealment is the crucial element of most occupational fraud schemes.
2-3 (Learning objective 2-3) How do sales skimming schemes leave a victim organization’s
books in balance, despite the theft of funds?
Answer: When an employee skims money by making off-book sales of merchandise, neither the
sales transaction nor the incoming cash is ever recorded. For example, suppose a cash register
clerk skims $500 in receipts from one sale of goods. At the end of the day, his cash drawer will
be short by $500—the amount of money that was stolen. But because the sale was never
recorded, the sales records will be understated by $500. Therefore, the books will remain in
2-4 (Learning objective 2-3) Under what circumstances are incoming checks received through
the mail typically stolen?
Answer: Checks are normally stolen when a single employee is in charge of opening the mail and
preparing the deposit. The employee simply removes the check from the incoming mail and
forges the endorsement of the employer, then endorses it with his or her own name and cashes or
2-5 (Learning objective 2-4) How do “understated sales” schemes differ from “unrecorded
Answer: Unrecorded sales schemes are purely off-book transactions. Understated sales, on the
other hand, are posted to the victim organization’s books, but for a lower amount than what the
perpetrator collected from the customer. Typically, the perpetrator will understate a sale by
recording a lower sales price for a particular item, or by recording the sale of fewer items of
merchandise than the customer actually purchased.
2-6 (Learning objective 2-5) How is the cash register manipulated to conceal skimming?
Answer: There are two common methods. The first is to ring “no sale” on the register and omit
giving the customer a receipt for the purchase. The second and less common method is for the
cashier to alter the tape itself so that it does not show the sale. This is impossible to accomplish
with cash registers that also record the transaction electronically.
2-7 (Learning objective 2-6) Give examples of skimming during nonbusiness hours and
skimming of off-site sales.
Answer: Certain categories of employees usually commit these schemes. Managers of department
stores or employees opening or closing the store have been known to open early or close late
and skim all or part of the sales during those periods. Apartment rental employees, parking lot
attendants, and independent salespeople are at a higher risk of skimming funds from off-site
2-8 (Learning objective 2-8) What are the six principal methods used to conceal receivables
Answer: The six concealment techniques identified in this chapter are: lapping, force balancing,
stealing customer statements, recording fraudulent write-offs or discounts, debiting the wrong
account, and document destruction.
2-9 (Learning objective 2-9) What is “lapping” and how is it used to conceal receivables
Answer: Lapping is the crediting of one account through the abstraction of money from another
account. Lapping customer payments is one of the most common methods of concealing
receivables skimming. Suppose a company has three customers, A, B, and C. When A’s payment
is received, the fraudster takes it for himself instead of posting it to A’s account. When B’s check
arrives, the fraudster posts it as a payment to A’s account. Likewise, when C’s payment is
received, the perpetrator applies it to B’s account. This process continues indefinitely until one
of three things happens: (1) someone discovers the scheme, (2) restitution is made to the
accounts, or (3) some concealing entry is made to adjust the accounts receivable balances.
2-10 (Learning objective 2-10) List four types of false entries a fraudster can make in the victim
organization’s books to conceal receivables skimming.
Answer: The fraudster can lap the payments, as discussed in the previous question. He can also
engage in force balancing by posting a payment to a customer’s account even though the
payment was stolen. A third false entry that can be made is to fraudulently write off a customer’s
account as uncollectible. A fourth technique is to credit the targeted account with a fraudulent
“discount” in the amount of the stolen funds. Also, some fraudsters conceal receivables
skimming by debiting existing or fictitious accounts receivable.
2-1 (Learning objective 2-3) Sales skimming is called an “off-book” fraud. Why?
Answer: Simply because the fraud occurs outside the books and records. There is no direct audit
trail to uncover; the proof of the fraud must be determined by indirect methods, such as ratio
analysis or other comparisons.
2-2 (Learning objective 2-3) In the case study of Brian Lee, the plastic surgeon, what kind of
skimming scheme did he commit?
Answer: Dr. Lee committed a sales (revenue) skimming scheme. In this fraud, Dr. Lee’s clinic was
a partnership with several other doctors, and all of the revenue derived from his services was
supposed to go to the partnership. Because of a lack of controls and periodic reconciliations by
the clinic, Dr. Lee simply instructed his patients to pay him directly. His scheme was uncovered
by accident, as are many frauds.
2-3 (Learning objectives 2-5 and 2-12) If you suspected skimming of sales at the cash register,
what is one of the first things you would check?
Answer: The cash register tape is one of the first things you should check. In a typical cash register
skimming scheme, the crooked employee will ring up “no sale” on the register when a sale is
made and pocket the money. The customer is not given a receipt. If you notice an excessive
amount of “no sales” entered on the cash register, it could mean that the drawer is being opened
and no money is being put in.
2-4 (Learning objective 2-3) Assume a client who owns a small apartment complex in a different
city than where he lives has discovered that the apartment manager has been skimming rental
receipts, which are usually paid by check. The manager endorsed the checks with the apartment
rental stamp, then endorsed her own name and deposited the proceeds into her own checking
account. Because of the size of the operation, hiring a separate employee to keep the books is not
practical. How could a scheme like this be prevented in the future?
Answer: Two simple, separate control measures might help prevent such future occurrences.
Although it might not be practical for the owner to reconcile the rental receipts himself since he
lives in a different city, he could obtain a restrictive endorsement stamps that states “for deposit
only.” Second, the owner could have rental payments directed to a bank lockbox, where they
would be less likely to be stolen.
2-5 (Learning objectives 2-8 and 2-11) What is the most effective control to prevent receivables
Answer: In almost all cases of receivables skimming, the person handling the cash and the person
keeping the books are one and the same. An employee who opens incoming mail or handles cash
should not be permitted to post the transactions.
2-6 (Learning objectives 2-3 and 2-7) In many cases involving skimming, employees steal
checks from the incoming mail. What are some of the controls that can prevent such
Answer: Here are some of the basic controls over incoming checks:
The person opening the mail should be independent of the cashier, accounts receivable clerk,
or employees who are authorized to initiate or post journal entries.
Unopened mail should not be delivered to employees having access to accounting records.
The employee who opens the mail should (1) place restrictive endorsements on the incoming
checks; (2) prepare a list of checks received; (3) forward all remittances to the person
responsible for preparing and making the bank deposit; and (4) forward the list of checks to
a person who can check to see if it agrees with the bank deposit.
2-7 (Learning objectives 2-7 and 2-11) In the case study of Stefan Winkler, who was the chief
financial officer for a beverage company in Florida, how did he conceal his skimming scheme?
How could the scheme have been prevented or discovered?
Answer: Winkler’s scheme is a classic example of too much trust placed in one employee. The
beverage company received money from two different sources: route deposits (cash sales) and
office deposits (accounts receivable). The route salespeople prepared their own deposit slips
showing the cash and currency collected. The office personnel listed and accounted for the
checks received through the mail. Winkler removed currency from the route deposits and
replaced it with a check for the same amount from office deposits. Although office personnel
listed the checks, they did not prepare the deposit slips—Winkler did that. As a result, he would
ensure that the bank deposits agreed with the amount of money going into the bank.
To cover his tracks with the credit customers, Winkler would lap payments made by one
customer to cover thefts from another customer. He would also give unauthorized discounts to
credit customers. When Winkler was fired for other reasons, he made a general ledger
adjustment of over $300,000 in a vain attempt to cover the shortages.
There were many clues: The internal control deficiencies were glaring. All of the cash
made a stop at Winkler’s desk on its way to the bank. Had there been adequate division of –
responsibilities, Winkler’s scheme would have been much more difficult to accomplish. There
were excessive false discounts to customers. The cost of sales would have been out of line with
sales. And, like so many other fraudsters, Winkler lived beyond his means. Had his fellow
employees been properly educated about fraud, they would have easily seen the fact that Winkler
was driving a $75,000 car as a red flag. Also, had they been to his home, they would have
noticed that their chief financial officer lived in an excessively expensive residence.