White-collar criminals have been very active in 2021

White-collar crime in Swiss courts has seen a resurgence in the past year, particularly in insurance and social security fraud. The total amount of damage exceeded half a billion francs. Swiss courts have dealt with 68 white-collar crime cases of at least 50,000 francs, including seven cases related to covid credits. Losses total 567 million francs, or 37% more than in 2020, according to the Forensic Fraud Barometer published Tuesday by KPMG.

Public institutions were the most affected, accounting for 25 of the 68 cases, in particular due to illegally obtained covid credits. Anne van Heerden, in charge of forensics at KPMG, expects to see “more of this type of case in future editions of the fraud barometer due to a lag effect”. In second place are commercial companies, for damages of 134 million francs. Financial institutions accounted for only three cases, but more than half of the losses, with a single case weighing 300 million francs in losses.

Read also: Four years in prison for covid credit fraud

In Zurich rather than on the shores of Lake Geneva


Individuals were the most numerous fraudsters (23), with an average loss of around 700,000 francs. In second place are those occupying managerial positions (18) for an average loss of nearly 7 million francs, or ten times more. “Executives often have privileged information and are in a strong position to use this information for criminal purposes,” added Anne van Heerden. Insurance and social security fraud were the most numerous, with 20 cases tried compared to eight in 2020, followed by scams.

About a third of the cases were perpetrated in Zurich. In the Lake Geneva region, only six cases were recorded in 2021, after 19 in 2020. The cases with the heaviest damage went through the Federal Criminal Court of Bellinzona, such as that weighing 300 million francs. KPMG clarifies that these are only cases that have been tried, “the actual figures for white collar crime are probably several times higher”. In early April, the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (Finma) said it had closed 1,129 in-depth investigations last year, a figure up around 13% compared to 2020, according to its annual report.

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