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I found that out recently when I took
a look at the rules after being away
from the game for many years. The
section I found most interesting per-
tained to "The Banker." The instruc-
tions said that the banker should be
someone who "will look after the
Bank and take charge of auctions. It
is important that the Banker keeps
his personal funds and properties
separate from the Bank's."
Clearly the instructions establish a fidu-
ciary relationship between the individ-
ual chosen to be the Banker, the Bank,
and the other players. They also make
it clear that keeping the Bank's funds
separate from the Banker's personal
funds is a critical part of that relation-
ship. That's a good lesson for anyone
engaged in a fiduciary relationship such
as administrators of estates, trustees
managing assets on behalf of benefici-
aries, guardians, and conservators.
But the real lesson comes from what
the rules don't include and what that
says to anyone with a fiduciary rela-
tionship. The rules don't mention the
consequences to the Banker if he or
she co-mingles his or her personal
funds with the Bank's, or worse, if he
or she inappropriately "borrows" funds
from the Bank for his or her own use,
providing an unfair advantage over the
other players.
The directions also fall short of identify-
ing the consequences to any other
player found to be cheating at the
game. This would certainly be a great
deterrent if they were included. And
here's where the game and real life
mimic each other.
How about a few additions to the
Monopoly rules to make the game
much more realistic given today's soci-
ety and climate? For example, how
about something like: "Should the
banker be found to have co-mingled his
or her property and/or funds with those
of the Bank's, the Banker shall forfeit all
property and funds in his or her posses-
sion to the Bank, and a new player will
advocacy community education
20
paid advertisement
Embezzlement
Lessons from
Monopoly
By Stephen A. Pedneault, CPA/CFF, CFE, FCPA
T
here's a lot you can learn about
fiduciary relationships from a
game of Monopoly.