Before some of the techniques used by fraudsters are explored, it would be useful to briefly discuss the literature on the perpetrators of frauds. There is only limited data available. Even the law enforcement community does not always know the background of the perpetrators. There is also an ongoing debate as to the extent of involvement
of ‘organised criminals’ in the various types of fraud explored in this review – not withstanding the challenges of defining this concept (see, Van Duyne, 1996). Levi (2008b: 89) has distinguished a category of fraudsters relating to long firm fraudsters, which can also be applied to other types of fraud (Levi, 2008a). These are:
Individuals who generally have no prior convictions and fall into frauds through pressures combined with identification of opportunities.
Intermediate long firm fraudsters
People with prior convictions who started off with legitimate intentions, but eventually turn to fraud.
Pre-planned long firm fraudsters
The perpetrators start with the purpose of fraud and generally have past criminal convictions although may use ‘front’ people without convictions. Some may be involved in organised crime in the ‘traditional’ sense: ie. drugs, racketeering etc, or links to them or may focus solely on certain types of frauds.
Many of these pre-planned type fraudsters will often use those without traditional criminal backgrounds to perpetrate their frauds.