Traveling for work can be quite glamorous. After all, it's not every day that a person gets to jet set on their company's dime. That's especially true for university and college employees. Budgets are often tight, and travel opportunities are typically quite limited in academia. When a college employee does get a chance to travel for work, they must be careful to track their spending. While employees of Fortune 500 companies can often get away with charging expenses to their company card with little scrutiny, university employees don't have that luxury.
In some cases, university employees who fail to adequately track their travel expenses may be accused of fraud. Travel expense fraud is a kind of asset misappropriation. At the extreme end, a person may have outright fabricated expenses or inflated the actual cost of things like gas, lodging, and airfare. Allegations of this kind of fraud can jeopardize a college employee's career and future.
What Defines Travel Expense Fraud?
When university employees travel, they're often limited in what they can spend on their school's dime. While mileage, airfare, and lodging are often paid for, smaller costs are often forgotten about. A flustered employee may find themselves using their expense account or school credit card a little too frequently. In many cases, college employees don't realize they've done anything wrong until months later – the median discovery time for this kind of fraud is 24 months.
Of course, there are genuine instances of fraud that occur among college employees. A dishonest person may opt to charge for items used for personal reasons. They may bill for travel expenses that never actually materialized, like canceled flight tickets or registration fees for conventions. Falsifying receipts and inflating gas mileage totals are other forms of travel expense