Australian Institute of Criminology

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Faces of fraud: An analysis of serious and complex fraud against Australian Commonwealth agencies

74 Leichhardt Street, Griffith ACT
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM 03 October 2012

Dr Angela Higginson

Dr Angela Higginson

Fraud is most commonly examined within the theoretical framework of white-collar crime, with the average fraud offender presented as a middle aged male in a role of occupational trust, positioned in contrast to the average street criminal; however, persons who commit serious and complex fraud against Commonwealth agencies often display very different characteristics to the typical white-collar criminal. This presentation focuses on findings from three studies of serious and complex Commonwealth fraud investigated by the Australian Federal Police, using seven years of AFP case data. The results of three key studies will be discussed, with a particular emphasis on issues of gender, age and occupational status: Commonwealth fraud offenders are compared to offenders in two major samples of Australian serious fraud to explore whether Commonwealth fraud offenders are typical of the fraud offender presented in the criminology literature; a typology of Commonwealth fraud suspects is developed to explore the heterogeneity amongst fraud suspects; and the factors that predict prosecution outcomes are analysed.

Dr Angela Higginson

Dr Angela Higginson is a Research Fellow in the ARC Centre of Excellence in Policing and Security (CEPS) at the University of Queensland Institute for Social Science Research (ISSR). Angela’s work focuses on policing and community processes for crime control, with a particular focus on the evaluation of policing practice through systematic reviews and meta-analysis. Angela has an interdisciplinary research background covering statistical methods, emergency services, psychology and criminology. Prior to commencing in ISSR in 2007, Dr Higginson worked within the public sector as the Principal Advisor Statistical Research and Analysis in the Department of Emergency Services. Her PhD in Criminology was awarded by the University of Queensland in 2012, and involved the application of statistical methods to the understanding of fraud and the monitoring of administrative performance data for decision making, working in partnership with the Performance and Analysis Branch, Australian Federal Police.