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Contacting Law Enforcement Officials after Detecting Fraud

Let’s say your company has detected internal fraudulent activity, fired the employee involved and documented the findings. Now, you would like to pursue criminal charges and potentially receive restitution. How do you present the case to law enforcement? Consult with your attorney and consider taking these six steps:

After Detecting Internal Fraud …

… 58% of cases were referred to law enforcement.

Source: 2018 Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud and Abuse by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners

Organize Files

This may sound simple and obvious, but it is a common failure point. Your paper and electronic case files should be organized in such a way that a person with no previous knowledge of the industry or profession can easily follow the document trail. Remember: The law enforcement individual working on your case will need to present it to the prosecuting authorities. Make his or her job as easy as possible.

Prepare a Case Summary

In order to effectively present the case to law enforcement, you should boil down the facts to a short summary. Prepare a one-page memo that details the fraud scheme and include it with your case files. Do not use abbreviations or industry jargon. Instead, spell out the facts in simple English.

Have a Third Party Review the Case

Your company has undoubtedly spent a considerable amount of time working on the investigation. This may mean that the files are organized in a way that supports your position, but not in a way that is understandable or works for law enforcement. By having a third party with financial expertise review your case, you can gain insight into how to better compile the information for law enforcement officials. A forensic accountant can provide this service.

Pick the Best Agency to Accept the Case

For example, if your losses are less than $100,000 and your company is based in a large metropolitan area, it is unlikely that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) will be interested in your case. If the fraud and the activities supporting it took place in your local area, the local police authority may be willing to work with you. If the criminal activity involved the postal system, you might want to contact the U. S. Postal Inspection Service. It is a highly effective and underutilized agency that can investigate and pursue relevant fraud matters.

Take Time to Explain the Case

In order for law enforcement officials to be interested in accepting a case, they must understand it! Volunteer to get together with an officer at a location of his or her choosing. If you meet at your company’s office, make the environment inviting by providing refreshments. Take the time to explain the case in the most understandable fashion possible. Allow the officer to ask questions. Do not assume that he or she fully understands.

Follow Up, but Be Patient

Given the time that your company has spent investigating the fraudulent activity, you would naturally like to see immediate results from law enforcement. However, your case is not the only one being investigated. You want to be patient, yet persistent. Offer a primary point of contact for the officer to call with questions. Be responsive to the officer’s follow up calls and offer to participate in any meetings that may be held to present your case.