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.
- Our clients, officials of a foreign state-owned oil company, were accused in press reports in a major U.S. newspaper of accepting millions of dollars of bribes and kickbacks from purported agents and intermediaries outside the company. IGI performed an internal investigation in the foreign country, located and interviewed the purported agents and intermediaries in the foreign country and in the United States, and gathered documentary evidence including sworn witness affidavits that conclusively refuted the allegations and proved that the U.S. press reports were riddled with errors. Furthermore, IGI traced the false accusations back to a propaganda campaign by political opponents of the president of the foreign country who were working in tandem with political exiles living in the United States.
- A major commercial real estate company received an anonymous tip alleging improper payments to contractors. IGI assisted the company by discreetly identifying and securing the cooperation of the tipster, then gathering information from him through interviews and analysis of documents and information he provided. We managed the ensuing internal investigation, including forensic accounting analysis to develop leads provided by the tipster, interviewing the employee involved in the suspected fraud and referring the matter to law enforcement.
- On behalf of a venture capital fund, IGI conducted due diligence on an executive who claimed a successful investment strategy for capturing large returns. IGI investigators uncovered and developed information related to the individual’s history of incurring losses after deviating from the investment strategy, as well as specific prior instances of deceit and possible fraud in recruiting potential investors and in his own biography.
- IGI has worked extensively on cases arising from alleged military contracting fraud in the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, including months of work on-the-ground in the Middle East. We have conducted internal investigations into allegations raised by whistleblowers and in other cases have obtained exculpatory evidence in client companies’ criminal defense. In certain criminal defense cases we have developed evidence impugning the credibility of government witnesses, including by demonstrating that witnesses and whistleblowers accusing our client are themselves involved in criminal conduct. We also have assisted military contractors in competitive bids for large contracts by obtaining potentially disqualifying information about rival bidders.
- IGI’s client was indicted in federal district court for his alleged role in a conspiracy to commit bank fraud orchestrated by principals of a loan brokerage company. Our client owned a title company that was involved in some of the fraudulent loans. IGI was retained to analyze documents related to the loans and to interview witnesses in anticipation of trial. Working with his defense team, IGI investigators reviewed a large quantity of loan documents, helped prepare for witness interviews and to give expert testimony. The case ended favorably for our client with the government’s lenient offer of a deferred prosecution agreement.
- IGI was retained by a large, publicly traded company to conduct an internal investigation related to a purchasing manager who had fraudulently misappropriated Company funds and equipment. As part of the investigation, IGI analyzed hundreds of thousands of pages of forensic data from multiple custodians, interviewed over a dozen witnesses, and reviewed company’s financial and internal purchasing records from the decade prior. IGI determined that the individual had misappropriated several millions of dollars over nearly a decade, which was nearly triple what had been previously suspected by the Company. In addition to determining the amount of loss incurred, and the methods by which the fraud was executed, IGI also: identified internal control weaknesses within the Company that allowed the misappropriation to occur; assisted in coordinating the Company’s communications and information sharing with the FBI and relevant US Attorney’s Office, and; assisted in the Company’s claim submission to its insurance provider, including by briefing the provider’s investigators on the investigation, and sharing and explaining relevant records and calculations.
- For the defendant in one of the biggest toxic tort cases on record, IGI conducted an investigation of the Special Master charged with distributing a multi-billion-dollar settlement fund. Through state open records law requests, interviews, and litigation and public records research, our team uncovered extensive personal, professional, and financial ties between the Special Master and key members of the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee representing claimants in the matter, which the Special Master had denied and failed to disclose in questioning in his vetting for the highly lucrative appointment. IGI also discovered that before his appointment, the Special Master had represented a major plaintiff/claimant to the case, a conflict of interest he had concealed from our client. Our client used the information we gathered to support a successful petition for court order provisions and safeguards that helped cut payment of fraudulent claims.