Essay: Fraud, Academic Dishonesty and Cressey’s Fraud Triangle

Ideally, plagiarism is an aspect, which exhibits various definitions with regards to the context it exists in. Nevertheless, it is a wrongful act, which undermines intellectual property rights. In the ordinary sense, plagiarism basically involves stealing one’s thoughts, language, publications or expressions. But this is not all about plagiarism, individuals who plagiarize others people’s work have the tendency of taking part or whole of someone’s work, before presenting them as their own, which is a backward and regrettable act.

Owing to this fact, plagiarism is considered unethical, an aspect of academic fraud, and a threat to creativity and literary works. More often than not, students who engage in plagiarism are considered as academic demagogues and in most cases, they are subject to academic penalties which ranges from cancellation of the plagiarized works, deduction of marks, and in serious circumstances, they may be suspended or even expelled from school. Since plagiarism has posed serious challenges to academic integrity in the United States and elsewhere in the world, learning institutions have since developed stringent penalties to curb the same.

The most unfortunate thing is that despite these measures, extreme cases of plagiarism are still being witnessed not only in the universities in the United States alone, but also across the world. Even though other jurisdictions may not necessarily view plagiarism as an outright crime, they still associate it with infringement into intellectual property rights as well as copyright laws. However, plagiarism is an aspect, which should not be given any second thought in any way whatsoever, in fact, as far as the academic industry is concerned, it should be regarded as a serious offense, which affects the notion of originality as well as ethical standards.

Having seen how catastrophic plagiarism can be, it is therefore very clear that it should be avoided at all costs; otherwise, the academic industry would be taking a perilous route. It is due to this fact that students as well as scholars are continuously urged to avoid plagiarism at all costs. For instance, if found guilty of plagiarism, as defined within the parameters of copyright laws, a student might be subjected to hefty fines, jail term, or both, something which is completely undeserved.

Additionally, students are ever encouraged to learn and develop new concepts, but with plagiarism, this may ever remain a dream never come true. In cases where learning institutions may tolerate the vice, the actual meaning of education will be totally lost. Furthermore, it would seriously discourage the spirit of creativity as scholars may not see the meaning of developing publications, as they may not get value for their hard work, or at least some form of recognition. Therefore, students must expunge the idea of plagiarizing other people’s works and concentrate on coming up with their own original works.

Looking at the issue critically, students who plagiarize other people’s work may not get the much-needed academic respect; instead, they would forever remain a subject of public ridicule. In certain instances, a number of students have been deprived off their academic honors due to the vice, and this is something which does not only affect the student alone, it also affects the learning institutions and the society at a large. The university will lose respect as well as the student population while the society, which is the direct consumer of intellectual works will feel shortchanged and subjected to various intellectual atrocities.

Similarities between Fraud and Academic Dishonesty

Apparently, the two terms, fraud and academic dishonesty are closely interlinked. Both fraud and academic dishonesty constitute wrongful acts perpetrated by the student for academic gains, and in certain circumstances, academic dishonesty may also culminate to fraud. To be precise, fraud is a deliberate act which may deprive individuals of their legal rights as enshrined in the law. Nevertheless, academic dishonesty is a type of cheating which touches on various aspects, for instance, plagiarism.

The term academic dishonesty basically means to either pass off or steal someone’s words or ideas and make them your own, or to use someone else’s ideology without giving them the slightest accolade on the same. When this happens, the person using other people’s ideologies in the pretense of presenting new and original information commits a literary theft, and as such, his actions qualify to be fraudulent. Ideally, fraud is simply stealing an idea, which had been previously presented by someone in the past, and this is exactly what academic dishonesty entails.

One of the key components of academic dishonesty is plagiarism. Unfortunately, plagiarism is an aspect, which totally underscores the basics of truism, and it so since the perpetrators mascaraed as the original owners of the said ideas. Apart from originality, plagiarism also raises a serious question of integrity, just the same way as fraud. To prove that fraud and academic dishonesty are closely related, if a person is found guilty of either, the remedy is either rescission or paying hefty fines to the aggrieved party.

Additionally, professorial misconduct, deception, and fabrication all constitute acts of fraud. Principally, professorial misconduct is a form of academic fraud where a perpetrator commits acts which amount to grade fraud. Furthermore, deception is yet another form of academic misconduct where a learner intentionally provides a fallacious information in an official academic exercise. In the actual sense, this is an act of academic dishonesty and further amounts to fraud.

Lastly, there is the aspect of fabrication as an attribute of academic dishonesty. Fabrication involves the provision of false information, or intentionally falsifying citations, information or data relating to an official academic exercise. Just like fabrication, fraud is an activity, which primarily involves intentionally deceiving others for the purposes of personal gain. Besides, both academic dishonesty and fraud also involves damaging an individual’s reputation for personal gain, and this is one specific aspect, which makes the two similar.

Fraud Triangle

Cressey’s Fraud Triangle – Part I: Perceived Pressure.

There are certain factors, which motivate individuals to commit fraudulent acts, and these are the factors, which are referred to as perceived pressures. The pressures can come in the form of finance, vice, work or any other pressure that may confer an individual to commit a crime, just like the case of Mr. Y. In normal circumstances, individuals may view these pressures as unsolvable and therefore the only remedy is to commit fraudulent acts. Apart from the fact that these problems might seem unsolvable, they are further seen as sanctioned by individuals who may be better placed to offer remedy.

According to the fraud triangle, the pressures pose very serious challenges in an individual’s life in such a way that they may not know the next course of action to take in life. Another aspect which makes the pressures very catastrophic is the fact that people think that these pressures are unshareable, a fact which may further hinder any form assistance. Just like the given case, Mr. Y was literally striving to maintain his previous lifestyle, something that brought a serious financial pressure in his life.

Cressey’s Fraud Triangle – Part II: Perceived Opportunity.

Besides the pressure, fraud can only be committed if there is the opportunity to commit it. The perceived opportunity to commit a fraud is basically ingrained in the ways over which an individual may take to defraud another individual or an organization. During this stage, the offender may visualize a course of action that they may take in order to exploit the said opportunity, just like the case of Mr. Y. In so doing, they hold a belief that their unshareable problem would be fully solved, and once again, they would regain their previous financial positions.

It is at this stage where Mr. Y clearly visualized a course of action to take to get back to situation he was before the eventualities came. Just like any other person under pressure, Mr. Y held the opinion that the only way he could solve the problem is what he thought about any viable opportunity to take, unfortunately, his opportunity was a wrongful act that amounted to fraud. Regrettably, once an individual has reached this stage, it is very difficult to convince them otherwise, and the crime is as good as one, which has already been committed.

Cressey’s Fraud Triangle – Part III: Rationalization.

One’s ability to conceptualize how he or she can rationalize a crime marks the final stage of the Cressey’s Fraud Triangle. It is in this stage where cognitive conscience is required, without it, the fraudster may not be able to internalize or even provide a valid justification for his or her actions. The danger of lacking a cognitive conscience lies on the fact that the perpetrator may lose his or her moral compass. Over the years, first time perpetrators do not actually view themselves as offenders, but victims of circumstances. Coincidentally, rationalizations are just but external factors which strive to provide some sort of mitigation to the crimes perpetrated.

From fraud triangle, it emerges out quite conspicuously that both fraud and academic dishonesty are similar in various ways. First, both fraud and academic dishonesty are instigated by perceived pressures, and in most cases, these pressures originate from financial aspects, just as witnessed in the case of Mr. Y. Secondly, fraud and academic dishonesty which encompasses various aspects are enforceable in the court of law, in fact, they are closely touching on copyright laws. Over the past years, jurisdictions have been occupied with the idea of coming up with laws, which can curb both fraud and academic misconduct, and for sure, the laws are somehow interlinked.

But most importantly, fraud and academic misconduct have certain conditions, and if these conditions are promptly met, then such offences are perpetrated. Just as mentioned earlier, there must be certain pressures instigating an individual to engage in either fraud or academic misconduct. Besides, there must be an opportunity to commit the offenses, but the funny thing about the two is that in the end, the offenders often try to rationalize or find an acceptable justification for their course of action. Just as stipulated in the fraud triangle, it is therefore a clear fact that fraud and academic misconduct are similar.

Indeed, the opportunity aspect of fraud is what discourages or encourages fraud. In the case where the opportunity is good enough, students end up committing the crime or academic dishonesty. For instance, when the university has soft or no measures to end plagiarism, students will commit the offence without fear and extreme cases of plagiarism may be evitable. However, when strict measures are put in place, the vice will be minimal.

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