How can a well-known board game, such as “Monopoly”, help prevent fraud and embezzlement?
Per the instructions: “The Banker. Choose a player to be the Banker who will look after the Bank and take charge of auctions. It is important that the banker keeps his (or her) personal funds and properties separate from the Bank’s.”
Great instructions. Also, great lessons for family play, teaching your children the importance of not co-mingling funds, and also the temptation of stealing from the bank.
Although I must have seen these instructions growing up and playing Monopoly years ago, it wasn’t until we recently purchased Monopoly for our family this holiday season that I noticed this section of the instructions. Simple, but clearly establishes that “The Banker” has a fiduciary duty to the other players and the bank.
I have investigated much embezzlement perpetrated by individuals with fiduciary duties and responsibilities, such as trustees, conservators, guardians, administrators of estates, and holders of power of attorney (also known as attorney in fact). It is all too common for fiduciaries to co-mingle their funds with the fiduciary’s funds, and also to inappropriately use either the co-mingled funds or the fiduciary’s funds for personal purposes.
What can be learned from Monopoly’s instructions? Perhaps a similar message should be added and emphasized whenever a fiduciary relationship is established, whether by choice (power of attorney) or by some legal process. Maybe if this is emphasized and also audited on a regular basis, the frequency of occurrence will decrease.
Here’s the URL to the official “Monopoly” game site: