Handling initial allegations or indica for fraud. The receipt and allegation, suspicion, or ‘tip-off’ cause the initiation of fraud investigations. Initiation of investigations also takes place when related information is sourced from outside the organization. The companies and organizations give equal importance to both the internal and the external sources from which initial clues or evidence are obtained regarding the management, employees, customers, or outsiders frauds.
Handling Initial Allegations Or Indica For Fraud
In most cases, frauds are initially discovered because of routine audit, changes of employees’ jobs, internal transfers, or resignation by the employees. Very few of the frauds are discovered as part of a deliberate attempt to uncover the fraud because in most organizations the implementation of a proactive fraud detection process is missing.
Actions In Fraud Suspicion Or Complaint
The following actions should be taken where a fraud suspicion or complaint is received whether from inside or outside the company or organization:
- The fraud incident manager should be alerted that an allegation or suspicion exists.
- Appropriate information should be obtained about the allegation to the maximum possible extent.
The details about the initial fraud information should include the name of the person providing initial information (informant) and full details concerning the alleged fraud including suspects, timings, place, the amount involved, tools used, type of fraud, etc. A formal written statement from an informant should be taken which should prove to be the important piece of evidence in case any legal action is to be processed at a later stage. Such information is obtained through an interview process or series of interviews by the appropriate fraud expert.
Considerations By Fraud Investigation Experts
Some of the important considerations that must be ensured by fraud investigation experts at the time of initial assessment of fraud include the following.
- The suspect should not be alerted that an allegation has been made.
- A list of all the circumstances surrounding the fraud suspicion should be developed.
- A log should be maintained of all the actions taken to obtain initial information.
- Accurate file notes should be prepared for any conversations or correspondences that have occurred. These notes may be used for court proceedings at a later stage of the fraud investigation process.
- People should only be involved on a need-to-know basis.
Suspect In An Allegation Must:
It should also be noted whether:
- the suspect is aware of the suspicion or allegation;
- the suspect is an employee in the company or organization;
- the suspect works in the premises or location where the fraud occurs;
- whether the reported fraud activity is ongoing or was a one-time fraud activity; and
- if management is taking the allegation or suspicion seriously or not.
When The Suspect Is An Employee
If the suspect is an employee working in the company at the time of devising an investigation strategy, the full background searches and history of the employee should be checked. This may enable the fraud investigator in getting more useful insights about the case or may expose other related fraudsters. Because in many cases the at the level of initial investigations, it appears that there is only one employee involved in the fraud. However, there may be more interconnected persons, which are discovered through appropriate background and employment history searches of the suspect.
Many companies get their legal advisors involved to devise the investigation strategy. The purpose of the involvement of lawyers is to get information about possible and available legal options and other employment-related matters. Such legal advisers may be in-house or external lawyers. Legal advisors help the organizations in providing feedback on the relevant legal provisions applicable circumstances. Initial opinion from legal advisors also mitigates the risk of potential legal risks and disputes, which the suspect or related employees may file against the company.
After this initial stage of the investigation process, the competent authority or fraud expert should decide as to whether the suspicion or allegations warrants further investigation or not. If it is decided that an allegation or suspicion cannot be dismissed as false, further action should be taken to further investigate the case to find the real culprit and recover the amount of fraud.
Fraud Response Team
Some Fraud Response Plans only address situations in which an employee discovers a fraud and reports it to an investigation department for further investigation. However, some frauds have far-reaching consequences that go far beyond the investigation department’s purview (for example, when the
The organization’s liquidity is jeopardized). The Plan should also account for these possibilities.
Most large organizations have formed crisis management committees to respond to major incidents (such as a fire or explosion), so it is not uncommon for a Fraud Response Plan to take a similar approach. Typically, this entails forming a Fraud Incident Management Team, which includes both essential and co-opted members.
In some types of fraud, the victim may only have a few hours to act in order to freeze funds that have been transferred illegally. It is critical to establish contact information for critical service providers.
prior to the event, including internal support departments such as legal, corporate security, insurance, external lawyers, police and telecommunications agencies, forensic accountants, and investigators.
Receipt And Initial Assessment Of Suspicion, Allegation Or ‘Tip Off’
Fraud investigations are frequently launched in response to an allegation or a tip-off (often anonymous). This is usually sourced from within the organization, but external tips are not uncommon. Many
Fraud incidents are often discovered by chance, as a result of an audit, job change, or resignation. Because very few organizations implement a proactive fraud detection program, very few frauds are discovered as part of a deliberate attempt to uncover fraud.
Fraud Response Plan
A typical Fraud Response Plan includes the following components:
- the plan’s purpose,
- policy declaration,
- fraud definition,
- roles and responsibilities, such as
- fraud investigation team,
- civil and military objectives
- criminal repercussions
- suspicion reporting and collection
- as well as evidence preservation
It must be determined whether the allegation or suspicion warrants further investigation or is implausible or vexatious. This decision, however, must be made with caution. Further action should be taken if an allegation cannot be quickly dismissed as false.