Lapping Scheme Detection and Prevention

Lapping Scheme Detection and Prevention

In the world of financial fraud, lapping schemes are a common method used by dishonest individuals to embezzle funds. These schemes involve the manipulation of accounting records to conceal the misappropriation of funds.

What is a lapping scheme?

A lapping scheme typically involves an employee who has access to incoming payments, such as a cashier or accounts receivable clerk. The scheme begins when the employee steals a payment received from a customer.

How does a lapping scheme work?

The employee then manipulates the accounting records to conceal the missing payment. They do this by applying the stolen payment to a different customer’s account, usually one who has recently made a payment.

Signs of a lapping scheme

There are several red flags that may indicate the presence of a lapping scheme:

  1. Unexplained discrepancies between cash receipts and accounting records
  2. Repeated adjustments or corrections to customer accounts
  3. Customers complaining about missing or misapplied payments
  4. Unusual behavior or lifestyle changes of employees involved in the payment process

Preventing lapping schemes

Organizations can implement various measures to prevent lapping schemes:

  1. Segregation of duties: Ensure that no single employee has complete control over the entire payment process. Separate responsibilities such as receiving payments, recording transactions, and reconciling accounts.
  2. Regular audits: Conduct regular audits of cash receipts and customer accounts to identify any discrepancies or irregularities.
  3. Employee training: Educate employees about the risks and consequences of lapping schemes. Encourage them to report any suspicious activity they observe.
  4. Internal controls: Implement strong internal controls, such as requiring multiple approvals for adjustments to customer accounts and regularly reviewing and reconciling accounting records.



Term Definition
Lapping Scheme A fraudulent activity where an employee manipulates accounting records by overlapping or repeating transactions to conceal theft or embezzlement.
Detection The process of identifying lapping schemes through various techniques such as data analysis, internal controls, and forensic accounting.
Prevention Measures taken by organizations to minimize the risk of lapping schemes, including implementing strong internal controls, segregating duties, and conducting regular audits.
Accounting Records Documents and transactions that provide evidence of financial activities, including ledgers, journals, and financial statements.
Theft The act of taking someone else’s property without permission or legal right.
Embezzlement The fraudulent appropriation of funds or assets entrusted to someone’s care, typically by an employee.
Data Analysis The process of inspecting, cleaning, transforming, and modeling data to discover useful information and support decision-making.
Internal Controls Policies, procedures, and practices implemented by an organization to safeguard assets, ensure accuracy of financial records, and promote operational efficiency.
Forensic Accounting The application of accounting principles and investigative techniques to analyze financial information for legal purposes, such as detecting fraud.
Segregating Duties The practice of dividing responsibilities among different individuals to prevent any single person from having complete control over a process or transaction.
Audits Systematic and independent examinations of an organization’s financial records, processes, and controls to ensure compliance and identify any irregularities.
Transaction Description
Account A123 A transfer of funds from Account A123 to Account XYZ
Account B456 A payment made from Account B456 to Vendor ABC
Account L789 A withdrawal of funds from Account L789 for employee salary payments