From the editor's desk: A way to fail safely

Issue 4 2022 News & Events

This edition of Hi-Tech Security Solutions has a rather sad story (http://www.securitysa.com/16667r), but also one of courage. We interviewed Chris Bentley, who was what we would call an insider risk, in his own company. After a distinguished career in the US Marines, Chris went back to civilian life and eventually launched his own company, which did well for a while.


Andrew Seldon, Editor

When the market turned, however, the company was in a bad situation and Chris was caught in a bind. How was he to keep going when revenues could not support the company? The article tells the story of how he ‘made a plan’ and juggled investors’ money around to keep going until his conscience caught up with him.

The honesty Chris exhibits is quite refreshing in a country where fraud and crime is a daily norm, and he admits that while cooking the books, he was hoping for that one big deal that would sort things out. It did not arrive and Chris blew the whistle on himself.

The saddest part of Chris’ story is the people who lost along with him. In most instances, we hear about fraud and the sentence the perpetrator received, but we do not hear about the other people. In this story, the investors (who were all friends or acquaintances) lost money, but his wife and kids also bore the brunt as they lost everything without knowing what was happening.

An important comment he made during the interview, which is noted in the article, is that people can always get themselves stuck in a corner and feel there is no other way to move forward than to commit fraud. In their minds, they are simply keeping the wheels turning until things turn around or that big deal comes in (of course, there are also those who know they are criminals and make no excuses for it until they are caught).

Their fraud continues to grow until they are caught, or as in the case of Chris, turn themself in. In many cases, except with career criminals, these incidents can be avoided if people simply have a safe way to fail. This should obviously not be their first option, but when they are stuck and have no other options to try, companies must have a process allowing the individual to fail and find assistance. An honest approach like this may allow someone else to come up with a plan that can save the day; at the very least it will avoid criminal charges and a ruined reputation.

The story shows businesses, investors and entrepreneurs that the ‘win-at-all-cost’ approach is fine and a good motivator up to a point, but eventually there are no more options (legal ones anyway), and the decision to fail must be made. Nobody wants to fail, but there are worse outcomes.


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