Many businesses find themselves in an unfortunate position. They find that assets are missing, that the books have not been kept accurately or that bribes have been taken. Other businesses are learning from these mistakes and are electing to perform a fraud investigation on their own.
A fraud investigation might be conducted in order to determine:
- whether or not there has been a sale of assets that were either misrepresented or fictitious;
- whether or not improper payments – kickbacks, illegal political donations, bribes, or payoffs – have been made from within the company;
- whether or not there has been some sort of intentional misrepresentation or assets, liabilities, transactions or income;
- whether or not there have been intentional pricing changes created to benefit the business financially;
- whether or not items have been deliberately left off the books; or
- whether or not tax fraud has occurred.
In some cases, a fraud investigation is conducted by an auditor from within the company – an auditor who oversees the financial departments. In other cases, a fraud investigation may be conducted by external auditor, a financial analyst who is brought in for the purpose of reviewing the books.
In other cases, a fraud investigation may be handled by a private investigator. A private investigator may be brought in to conduct a fraud investigation to determine which asset was transferred improperly or to establish which employee may have defrauded the organization.
This can be done through deeper background checks to determine whether there are employees who had access to the assets who also have a criminal record. A private investigator can also conduct background checks into employees’ credit histories, judgments and liens, even federal and civil records to determine whether or not red flags are present.
Often, a private investigator is called in to perform a fraud investigation after fraud has been discovered. He or she will be hired by the business to conduct full background searches on all employees who may have been involved in misrepresenting assets, making improper payments, leaving items off the books or even embezzling.
In addition to a fraud investigation, a private investigator is likely to work with the business’ executives to determine a plan for preventing fraud in the future. This may involve examining the policies and procedures that are currently in place. It may also involve implementing surveillance through cameras or by tracking programs installed on office computers.
By creating a fraud prevention strategy and by conducting a fraud investigation, a private investigator can help to put your business back on the right track.
Perhaps your business has not always taken the time to conduct thorough background investigations of applicants before hiring. Perhaps you are hoping that your business still has the opportunity to prevent fraud. Maybe you’ve been unfortunate however and fraud has already taken place. Regardless of your situation, a fraud investigation can help to ensure that you are fully aware of what is taking place.
When that fraud investigation is conducted by a private investigator, you can also take measures to protect your business from future instances of fraud.