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Invoice for All Seasons

NCJ Number
Journal of Scandinavian Studies in Criminology and Crime Prevention Volume: 11 Issue: 1 Dated: 2010 Pages: 86-99
Per Ole Johansen
Date Published
14 pages
Invoice manipulation, to conceal tax evasion, account for private expendituresuch as holidaysas company expenses, commit embezzlement, or camouflage bribery, is a type of economic crime which goes back a long way in Norwegian crime history. The dark figures are considerable, or Dunkelziffer as it is coined in Germana more fitting description. At best, the tax authorities have managed to carry out some successful random checks. Prosecution of economic crime has not carried a high profile with the police in a historical perspective. The commercial sector has a long tradition of clearing up its own back yard.
The definitive work on the history of economic crime in Norway has yet to be written. However, we can glimpse some patterns and some Dunkelziffer. Forged invoices used advantageously by private business men were very wide-spread in the 1970s and 1980s, and the practice is still going on. Trusted employees who want to make money at the expense of their employer and companies use similar methods. What is new about the 1990s and the years up to 2007, which is the second period this article will focus on, is that 'outsiders' have learned the same tricks and copy the business men, whom organized criminals have as their role models. Commercial life is now under attack from the outside, by newcomers demanding payment for services not carried out or for non-delivered goods, with help of forged invoices for relatively small amounts that are sent to thousands of firms and companies. The Internet and modern technology have opened up avenues for swift and huge swindles, which would have taken monthsif they were at all possible on such a scalein earlier times. The vast majority of the Norwegian inmates are just as poor in resources, relatively speaking, as in earlier generations. But the cleverest of the organized criminals have become smarter, because the general level of public education has after all risen, because they are keener to acquire an education while they are serving time in prison, and because of the new opportunities provided by our modern computer age. Business men who were the only ones to use such methods have met their match, to coin a phrase. We would also call itthe invoice merry-go-round. References (Published Abstract)