Quiz 8: Investigating Concealment

Business

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Identify the importance of the documents over witnesses in fraud examination: The case study involves concealment where after the fraud is committed, the perpetrators conceal their fraud by covering their tracks, obscuring evidence, and removing red flags wherever possible. Concealment is generally accomplished by manipulating documentary evidences as they can be modified or deleted from corporate database. Hence when faced with choice between eyewitness and good document as evidence, most fraud experts would choose documents. John Doe also chooses to examine the documents rather than pursuing eyewitnesses. As unlike witnesses documents cannot forget or get confused during cross-examination by attorneys, they cannot commit perjury, and can never tell inconsistent stories on two different occasions. Documents contain extremely important information, which is useful for conducting fraud examinations. Investigators must understand the following aspects of documentary evidence as they make up a significant amount of evidence in fraud cases. Investigators must understand the legal and administrative aspect of handling them. (1) There should be proper chain of custody of document, which means record must be kept of when the document is received, and what is the effect since its receipt. For computer-based evidence, Encase and The Forensic Toolkit, professional software can be used. (2) The documentary evidence as and when received must be uniquely marked so that it can be identified later. (3) Fraud cases can create many documentary evidences to input key words into computer so that the documents can be called up on demand during trial. In large cases where database is searched by key words, witness, topics and by other means, the hard copies are rarely used without having electronic copies as well. The FBI has one of the most sophisticated and advanced document examination laboratories in world. (4) Coordination with evidence becomes easy and simple in case of small and simple cases as investigators may decide to share evidence and plan activities through series of meetings and may use a shared network drive for coordination. Whereas in large cases where coordination is difficult, Investigation Analysis software like Analyst's Notebook from i2 Inc. and X analys Link Explorer can be used which helps to establish good coordination with evidences. (5) Usually original documents are preferred rather than the photocopies in court of law as only in four exception cases where photocopies are acceptable as secondary evidence. (a) The original document has been lost or destroyed without the intent of fraud. (b) The original document is in the possession of adverse party who fails to produce the document after a written notice or the party in possession is outside the jurisdiction of subpoena power of public office. (c) The original document is in custody of public office. (d) The original documents are too voluminous to permit careful examination and summary of their content is acceptable.

Ways to conceal fraud: • Documentary evidence manipulation • Modification and deletion of records Perpetrators usually hide their fraud by manipulating their records, by leaving the evidences in doubtful state and by eliminating the indications. Hiding job can be achieved by changing important documents which are related to the committed fraud, like receipts, purchase bill, checks, invoices, policies etc. Nowadays, there are different ways to investigate fraud by recording few acts of the suspect. Therefore, the perpetrators delete all those records in order to conceal their fraud.

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