Fraud Case Preparation

Know Your Goal, Know Your Role, Part Two


After you're prepared your report and you have law enforcement's attention, demonstrate that you're an asset to their process.

You may consider your fraud examination complete once your investigative report is issued and your supporting materials are compiled. However, the work has just begun for the law enforcement agent who reviews your examination for viability as a criminal case.

1. Prepare to cooperate with experts and novices. And on any given day, you might be one or the other.  

Law enforcement agencies often employ detectives or special agents who are schooled or otherwise experienced in investigating white-collar crimes. If such an officer is assigned to evaluate your case, he or she will recognize the strengths and the weaknesses of your investigative work and may even point out certain areas that may compromise a “slam-dunk” case. Be honest and humble when discussing those areas of your examination that, from the experienced agent or prosecutor's perspective, are weaker. And be willing to perform additional work such as interviewing more people or checking records that you initially considered irrelevant.

Rejoice in the fact that you have law enforcement's attention. Recognize that the extra cooperation and effort on your part will help solidify a good case and will demonstrate that you are an asset to their process. It will also provide the prosecution with a sense that you will be a witness with whom they can work.

In the Sharon example (from the first part of this article in the July/August issue), an experienced police detective and I met with the deputy district attorney in the major fraud division of the local district attorney's office. The deputy D.A. invited her boss, along with her boss's boss, who would decide whether this “slam-dunk” case would be filed in criminal court. At that first meeting, the three prosecutors peppered me with several questions that I hadn't believed were immediately relevant to the commission of the alleged crime but which they believed, because of their collective experience, would enter the minds of jurors and judges. I cooperated and later gathered what I thought was the “less relevant” data. Whether it really made the case better is moot; they accepted it, the charges were filed, and the case went forward.

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