As the end of 2018 approaches, there are many reflections to make. There have been stories of hope and happiness, as well as despair and tragedy. However, regardless of what year it is, one unfortunate truth remains: Wherever there is money to be had, there is an opportunistic fraudster waiting to take advantage. And like every year before, this past year has been filled with stories of con artists, scammers, unscrupulous business people and corrupt heads of state.

According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), the typical case of occupational fraud costs $130,000 and lasts 16 months before being detected; however, some fraud incidents are staggeringly more costly and last many years. The scale and impact of these frauds capture the attention of people around the world — even leading to massive regulatory overhauls or perpetrators becoming ingrained in pop culture.

As the world’s largest anti-fraud organization and premier provider of anti-fraud training and education, the ACFE believes that large, noteworthy fraud cases like Enron or Bernie Madoff provide valuable lessons for fraud fighters and the public. That’s why the ACFE has named the following as the five most scandalous frauds on the year:

• The SEC charges Theranos Inc., and its Founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes, with fraud

• Danske Bank CEO resigns over $234 billion money laundering scandal

• Largest health care fraud takedown in U.S.

• $2 billion fraud discovered at Punjab National Bank

• Former Malaysian prime minister at center of 1MDB scandal arrested

“The stories were chosen based on the amount of money lost, the number of lives impacted and the relevance to the anti-fraud profession,” said ACFE President Bruce Dorris, J.D., CFE, CPA. “Although people may think of these stories as news headlines that don’t affect them, fraud affects everyone’s life more than most can imagine.”

To learn more about the stories, and to see which stories merited dishonorable mentions, visit