Ghost employee schemes are perpetrated by payroll employees who either create fake identities that are complete with fake SSN, address, phone number, etc., or who continue to issue payments to employees who have left the company and divert the payment to themselves. Whatever form a ghost employee takes, it is just a grand scheme to steal money from a company.
A ghost employee can also be a real person, such as a family member, who doesn’t work at the company but who collects pay and either shares it with the fraudster or keeps the whole payment to him or herself.
The ghost worker phenomenon is real in the plantation industry where you typically have a lot of people on the payroll at all times. Because of the many workers, full-time and ad-hoc staff to pay at all times in the plantation industry, it is typically difficult to track their payments. It has been observed that ghost workers are more prevalent in large organizations than smaller ones where they can be easily detected.