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Fraud Investigations and Seeing the Bigger Picture

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With our years of experience in investigating cases of occupational fraud, we’ve proven that it is often the case that a suspected perpetrator of fraud is indeed guilty. After all, there won’t be any smoke if there isn’t fire, right?

It’s not just that, but for a huge percentage of the cases we’ve handled at Haywood Hunt, fraud generally occurs in more than one aspect of a person’s life. Now, this is certainly a matter of concern in fraud investigations.

But why?

Smoke and Fire

If someone is proven to be have committed some form of fraud, it often extends to other work areas as well. For instance, do you think that your employee who got caught tinkering with his or her timecard is only stealing from the organization by fiddling with his or her recorded time? It could be much, much worse. In most cases, proving someone has committed some fraud is like hitting the tip of the iceberg and then unearthing a mammoth after a thorough investigation.

Seeing the Bigger Picture

As fraud investigators, we often treat our initial investigation as an opportunity to have a deeper understanding of the perpetrator for two main purposes, namely:

  1. The person’s motivating factor, and
  2. To see if the deviant behavior or fraud extends to other areas which may or may or may not be related to the case.

As we’ve touched upon on our blog about The Fraud Triangle and occupational fraud prevention, people who are considered ‘nice’ and ‘good’; are capable of committing fraud and excusing their actions in their heads as somewhat normal and acceptable. How so? When someone is pressured in such a way that they perceive doing something is the only way out of whatever predicament they are in, you’d be surprised at what things someone can do without batting an eyelash!

Desperate Times Calls for Desperate Measures

A person with some fraud red flags is more likely to be doing the same in other areas of his or her life. In one of the cases we’ve handled, we were asked to investigate an employee who was proven to be stealing small items from his employer. Now, this is just a petty thing, right? But look at what we’ve uncovered upon further investigation. We found out that this person is managing and running his own business while clocked in and being paid by the company. We’re not saying that an employee having his or her own business is wrong, but working on your business while clocked in at your job is considered to be a form of stealing and yes, it is fraud!

The example above is not that extreme, but if someone is abusing the company’s resources (by stealing company time), there is a possibility that person could be engaged in other forms of fraud such as stealing office supplies, diverting company funds, potential internet abuse, and even potential corporate espionage!

That’s where we come in at Haywood Hunt. We try to see the big picture for you so you need not worry about the small things. If you suspect someone in your organization is committing some form of fraud or that you’re a victim of white collar crime, contact us and we’ll take care of examining the bigger picture. That’s what we call effective and truly thorough fraud investigation!

 

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