An insurance claims processor recruits friends and family members to submit false claims she approves for reimbursement, then splits the proceeds with them. A purchasing manager buys laptop computers on her company’s account and sells them on E-Bay. An executive submits false expense reports and his secretary, who handles the paperwork, discovers the scheme and begins to blackmail him. A marketing manager in charge of administering a retail chain’s highly popular prize sweepstakes recruits ringers to whom he steers winning game pieces worth tens of millions of dollars over a decade-long period.
These and many more are familiar stories to us, but typically less so to our clients, many of whom find themselves victims of such a crime for the first time and are not equipped to deal with it by themselves.
The case may come to us as a fraud that is suspected but not proven, or a known fraud of unknown extent. Our imperative as investigators is to “get our arms around” the fraud so we can answer a client’s pressing questions as to the size of losses and extent of exposure. To be addressed immediately: is the fraud ongoing? Other priority determinations to be made: What is the magnitude of the loss? Did a single person perpetrate the fraud, or a group of conspirators? Was the company alone defrauded, or were its clients and customers also made victims?
We field an expert interdisciplinary team in these matters. The investigations are led by former federal prosecutors and litigators with first-hand experience on what it takes to build a case for referral to law enforcement officials and/or to pursue a civil case and obtain restitution. Our attorneys also provide legal counsel as needed on issues that may arise in the course of the investigation, including data or personal privacy considerations. Our forensic accountants examine controls and carefully compute and document losses from the fraud, which can bolster insurance claims and recoveries. Our investigators interview suspects and witnesses, review documents, and in some cases track down and help recover stolen assets. Our computer forensics experts search company servers and devices for incriminating messages and recover deleted files, while adhering to chain of custody and other evidentiary protocols to ensure admissibility of evidence.
We work in close consultation with our client’s in-house counsel, board special committee or other designated point of contact to advance the client’s interests and meet their objectives. This includes scaling our work, and associated costs, so that it is commensurate with the size of the fraud, prospects for recovery, reporting requirements, the need to eliminate risk of recurrence and other common sense criteria.