Due Diligence in Corporate Mergers

Due Diligence in Corporate Mergers

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Corporate mergers are inherently a tricky business. Not unlike a marriage, it’s the assimilation of two different corporate bodies to form a stronger entity. However, with that marriage comes the tricky business of evaluating the assets, how well two business models will mesh with one another, and how the workforce will be impacted by the merger itself. In the months preceding the merger, however, there is a long fact-finding process in which one or both companies will have a reasonable interest in finding corporate intelligence on the new arm of their structure. That’s where a corporate investigator comes in.

Finding corporate intelligence can be an opaque business in the sense that discretion is highly valued in the hopes of getting the clearest, most comprehensive picture of the corporate entity in question. Parent companies, or companies with the most to lose in a merger, will typically be the type of client a corporate intelligence investigator will see weekly in their careers. The need for this type of information is why corporate intelligence firms exist, so clients can get the clarification they need on the people with whom they are going into business. However, depending on the needs of an investigation, the involvement of a large corporate intelligence firm could still fly above the radar and compromise the needs of the investigation. In these situations a smaller to medium firm may be more appropriate.

An independent private investigator can answer almost any question that an inquiring client would have about a business—beginning with what is in the record, both publicly and otherwise. Through licensure by the state, private investigators are given access to millions of records available on both corporate entities and private individuals. With only a few pieces of information, a private investigator can get background on a company. No doubt, there will be obvious areas of interest, particularly what—if any—forms of litigation the company has been involved in. In reality, the best information comes from the background checks on individuals who drive the company’s mission and operations. After all, a business is only as good as its workforce, and leadership is one of the most important components. Private investigators can get comprehensive background checks on any and all subjects involved in daily operations and big-picture conception. Certain items in an employee’s background, like criminal history or personal litigation history can bring important albeit troubling context to any given concern in a merger situation. Their level of judgement and decision-making will be paramount to ensuring the longevity of the company in the merger.

In addition to verified licensed databases, a corporate intelligence investigator can also provide any online intelligence available from forums, communities, and platforms that allow for feedback and ratings of the business’s products or practices. At the conclusion of the investigation, a corporate intelligence investigator can provide a comprehensive file including all relevant intelligence discovered as the result of an online scrape of the company.

When on-site field investigations are required, the corporate intelligence investigator you need will be adept in hiding in plain sight so as not to pique suspicion of the subjects of the investigation. This sort of corporate intelligence investigator can get the full picture on any internal problems the subject company may be experiencing, such as repeated instances of theft, patterns of internal misconduct, or any number of items of interest during the course of a merger.

When discretion is the highest priority, CEOs and other forms of leadership should consider the expertise of Lauth Investigations International. Lauth Investigations International has over 30 years of experience working with corporations both big and small to make sure they get the answers they need in times of corporate uncertainty. We carry a glowing A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and regularly receive 5-star reviews from grateful clients. Call 317-951-1100 for a free quote or visit us online at www.lauthinvestigations.com

Fox News Ordered to Pay $1 Million in Penalties Following Workplace Culture Investigation

Fox News Ordered to Pay $1 Million in Penalties Following Workplace Culture Investigation

The media and financial worlds saw the grueling impact of poor workplace culture this week as media giant Fox News has finally agreed to pay $1 million in penalties after a workplace culture investigation concluded following allegations of sexual misconduct within the network. The allegations ended in the departure of Fox’s co-founded Roger Ailes, and anchor, Billy O’Reilly. The chairperson and commission for the New York City Commission on Human Rights, Carmelyn P. Malalis, stated in an interview on Tuesday, “This is the largest civil penalty that has ever been levied by the City Commission on Human Rights. We need to send a message in order to deter future acts of harassment or retaliation.”

Part of the success of the settlement is the clause that prevents Fox News from requiring confidential arbitration in cases where an employee files a complaint under the Human Rights Law. This action prevents Fox News from privately hashing out the legalities of such complaints behind closed doors with little to no public accountability, giving the corporate culture little to no reason for change. Corporations, especially highly visible ones like those resembling Fox News, must have the oversight in place to ensure problems like sexual harassment allegations do not have the consequential chance to gut the company from within. With an appropriate structure in place, a workplace culture investigation can draw problems like employee misconduct out into the open as if drawing poison from a wound.

Stories like the one about Fox and their workplace culture investigation are a double-edged sword. On the one hand, seeking a workplace culture investigation in order to excise malignant sources of disruption from your company’s daily operations is an investment in the longevity of the company. Employers who are vigilant about their workplace culture can expect to see an increase in productivity as employees become more engaged in their jobs as the result of healthy corporate culture. However, it’s headlines like the ones associated with the Fox settlement that also have employers recoiling at the idea of a workplace culture investigation. After all, the investigation could very easily turn up problems that will continue to cost the company time and money in correcting. Employers may be expected to pay out large sums in court as the result of any subsequent legal action, and the bad press associated with workplace culture investigations are undesirable in the corporate world. However, the longer corporations and employers ignore the issues surrounding workplace culture, the more devastating they can expect the impact will be once the problem is forced into the open through circumstances such as whistle-blowing, criminal investigations, or involvement from another state or federal entity. In the case of Fox, the fallout from sexual harassment allegations should have come as no surprise to internal staff who have fielded these allegations over and over again. In any case however, the hope that the publicity of a workplace culture investigation will once and for all force the company to overhaul their culture and improve the lives of their employees and the longevity of their company.

If you have need of a workplace culture investigation, consider Lauth Investigations International for your needs. We are staffed by former military and law enforcement personnel with diverse experience in workplace culture investigations. We carry a glowing A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and regularly receive grateful reviews from out clients. Call 317-951-1100 for a free consultation or visit us online at www.lauthinvestigations.com

A Corporate Culture Audit Can Be the Difference Between Success and Failure in Your Business

A Corporate Culture Audit Can Be the Difference Between Success and Failure in Your Business

corporate culture

When it comes to your business, you don’t know what you don’t know. Successful corporations are more than their bottom line, and corporations must be conscious of all their internal operations to ensure they’re getting their maximum output or profit. Leadership must be vigilant in seeking problems out in their organization to ensure there are no leaks in the bottom line. That’s why more executives are opting for seasonal corporate culture audits to identify corporate weaknesses.

Weakness is a subjective word, but definitively, we’re talking about structural or personnel weaknesses that contribute to weekly disruptions within the corporations. These disruptions can come in many forms, including employee misconduct, theft of trade secrets, external theft, and worker’s compensation fraud. Whatever the problem, a comprehensive corporate culture audit can serve as a net to catch these unseen problems. Purveyors of corporate culture audits can range from corporate intelligence firms to independent private investigators, but regardless of the size of the operation, diverse experience in corporate investigations is key. After all, the investigator must know what they’re looking for in order to identify corporate weaknesses.

Think of a corporate culture audit like a medical checkup for your business or corporation. Just like a medical checkup, a private investigator proverbially acts as a physician routinely looking for problems. Just like a physical, a private investigator can identify corporate weaknesses that the “patient,” or client, did not previously know existed. In this way, leadership can stay on top of things and eliminate any internal problems. The most pervasive corporate crises are likely to fly under the radar, with the perpetrator(s) making competent attempts to cover their tracks. Unfortunately, this means that the problem can go undetected until irreversible damage is already done, not unlike a debilitating disease that has gone untreated.

One of the greatest examples of these undetected risks is white collar crime. When it comes to misconduct, any official action will inevitably cross an executive’s desk. Because of their level of access and oversight into all company matters, it’s frighteningly simple for an executive to cover their own tracks in an ongoing pattern of misconduct. In the case of an independent private investigator, they can easily infiltrate a business and place themselves in a strategic position where they can observe and document the behavior of all employees without being detected. This preserves the integrity of the investigation and ensures that the executive cannot suddenly destroy all of the evidence. One of the most common is embezzlement, or other forms of financial fraud within the corporate structure. Hiring an investigator to complete a corporate culture audit not only buys oversight, but objective intelligence-gathering. When an investigator attempts to identify corporate weaknesses, they do it with an independent an objective point of view. This ensure that no stone will remain unturned, and that all results of the investigation are subject to only the highest level of scrutiny in any subsequent legal action against the corporation.

If your corporate needs a corporate culture audit, call Lauth Investigations International today at 317-951-1100 for a free quote on our corporate culture audit services. Our team of investigators is staffed by former military and law enforcement personnel, and we carry a glowing A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. Call Lauth today to learn how we can identify corporate weaknesses with a corporate culture audit.

FMLA Abuse Investigations: Hiring the Right Investigator

FMLA Abuse Investigations: Hiring the Right Investigator

The Family and Medical Leave Act is supposed to give employees the ability to attend to personal or family matters like recovering from surgery or caring for an infirm family member without the fear of losing their job. However, the same legislation meant to protect employees can also be exploited by employee misconduct. Regardless of whether or not an employee is abusing FMLA, the employer’s burden of proof is dependent on establishing the quality of FMLA abuse investigations into the claim.

Because of the complex, contentious nature of an FMLA abuse investigations, some employers are shy or negligent about performing due-diligence. It’s true that hiring a professional to conduct a comprehensive FMLA abuse investigation can be a very expensive endeavor that many employers would rather skip and rely on their own investigating to determine whether or not there is cause to terminate the employee. However, this is incredibly short-sighted, and can result in very negative consequences for the employer.

For example, in one scenario, an employee submitted a request for FMLA leave in order to address their inability to meet hourly fulfillment quotas because of their bad knee. Choosing to skip the professional FMLA abuse investigation, the employer got online and found the employee’s social media pages—a source commonly used in FMLA abuse investigations. The employer observed the employee dancing in a video posted to their profile. The employer closes the case, determining that the employee’s FMLA claim was fraudulent. After all, if they’re able to dance, they should be able to make fulfillment requirements.

However, imagine the shock the employer received when the court upheld the employee’s FMLA claim in subsequent court action when the judge ruled that the employer was negligent in comprehensively investigating the claim. The employer was not able to provide proof that they had conducted a field investigation, nor had they consulted a medical expert regarding the employee’s injuries. Thus, the court ruled in the employee’s favor, and was awarded damages. This is why it’s always imperative to hire a professional for FMLA abuse investigations in order to ensure that no stone is left unturned and the employer can remain above reproach in any subsequent legal action.

Hiring a private investigator for FMLA abuse investigations also means you get the benefit of due-diligence in field investigations. In cases where the employee is suspected of faking an injury, you’ll need an investigator who knows how to hide in plain sight. Private investigators can conduct field surveillance in which they locate the employee at home or in the field and begin documenting their movements for the client. These surveillance operations can answer vital questions pertaining to the employee’s level of mobility, how much assistance they require with basic tasks, and whether or not they are behaving reasonably within the parameters of their alleged injury. Private investigators can take video, still shots, and write case narratives on what they observed during the field surveillance and compile this into a report for the employer. In another scenario, an employee who has submitted a request for FMLA leave claiming to need time to recover from surgery on his back. However, when the private investigator stakes out the home of the employee, they observe the employee carrying items to and from his pickup truck—items like lumber, power tools, and paint cans—too heavy to lift for someone who would be recovering from back surgery. The private investigator documents this with photographs and includes his observations in his final report.

Unlike employers, private investigators have access to a wealth of information through their licensure through the state. Employers are restricted to only the information in the employee’s personnel file and their application for hire. Using only a few key pieces of information, private investigators can have a subject’s entire history at their fingertips, including criminal history, job history, and address history. Private investigators also know how to comb local databases for any information pertaining to the subject. In one case, an employee claimed to need FMLA leave in order to care for his sick mother—approximately six weeks. The employer became suspicious when the employee never arrived to pick up the last check before the start of his leave. The employer hired a private investigator for an FMLA abuse investigation. The private investigator located the employee’s mother’s address, and after staking out the home for a period of days, determined that the employee was not assisting the mother in the home as they had claimed. Instead, after checking local jails, the private investigator was able to determine that a subject with the same name and birthday as they employee was serving a 6-week jail sentence and using FMLA to conceal this fact.

No matter what the specific circumstances of an FMLA abuse investigation, a private investigator is an ideal professional to carry out the operation. They are adept at hiding in plain sight and concealing their efforts to document fraudulent behavior by employees who have asserted their need for FMLA leave. Protect your business from this employee misconduct by calling Lauth Investigations International today for a free quote on our FMLA abuse investigation services at 317-951-1100, or visit us online at www.lauthinvestigations.com.

How to Avoid Romance Scams in 2021

How to Avoid Romance Scams in 2021

how to avoid online romance scams in 2021

During the 2020 pandemic, people throughout the globe were struggling with detachment from their family, friends, and coworkers. In search of a connection with another human being, it should be no surprise that more than a few people would fall victim to online romance scams. However, in a shocking report by the Federal Trade Commission, losses due to romance scams increased by 50%. Romance scams have dominated the top position on the FTC’s list of fraud scams. More money is lost annually to romance scams than any other type of fraud in the United States. Since 2016, reports of romance scams have tripled, and the total dollar amounts lost have quadrupled. Given this alarming spike in numbers, it’s worth refreshing your knowledge on how these romance scams work and who is at risk for being a target.

Most are familiar with the timeline of an online romance scam. News stories and talk show segments about lonely people being “catfished” by online scammers are everywhere, and the number of these incidents appears to be on the rise. The reason for this rise in romance scams can be two-fold. To begin, the isolation of the pandemic in efforts to flatting the proverbial curve left many individuals with a desire to reach out and connect with another human being online. The internet is where romance scams thrive, and users who are attempting to scrape the bottom of the barrel of human interaction can be easy targets for criminals. In the same vein, following the COVID-19 restrictions that kept many Americans completely isolated from the outside world initiated an increase in internet usage. Without routine, in-person interactions with friends, family, and coworkers, individuals who were not habitual internet or social media users—or even internet literate—flocked to the world wide web in search of some form of human connection.

This perfect storm of circumstances created a perfect hunting ground for internet scammers to hook promising marks who could fill their virtual pocketbooks with cash and other assets. In the days before Facebook, online romance scams typically started on internet forums or in chatrooms. Now, scammers have fully adapted to the ways and language of social media. With Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat dominating the way we communicate, it’s easier than ever to bilk someone out of their hard-earned money in an online romance scam.

It is not a matter of if, but when these criminals will ask for money, and the longer you look at case studies for these online romance scams, the more colorful the reasons get. Sometimes the scammer claims they need funds to keep their phone or internet service connected—and therefore keep them connected to their mark. Sometimes the scammer will claim they need money to get out of a perilous situation so they can allegedly return to the United States and finally meet up with the mark in person. Regardless of the reason, there are almost always suspicious methods of getting this money to the scammer, such as wiring the money to another person whose name does not match the scammer’s persona. Or perhaps the money must be sent to a bank account in an unexpected part of the world.

Even more staggering is that the FTC’s data on the rise in online romance scams indicates that no age group is immune to these operations. The number of online romance scams went up in all age brackets of potential victims. In fact, according to the FTC, people between the ages of 20 and 29 saw the biggest increase in being targeted, while people 70 and older were reporting the highest losses in the neighborhood of $10,000. With so much at stake in online dating, it’s imperative that you know how to protect yourself from these scammers. Here are the FTC’s tips for avoiding online romance scams:

  •  Never send money or gifts to someone you haven’t met in person – even if they send you money first.
  • Talk to someone you trust about this new love interest. It can be easy to miss things that don’t add up. So pay attention if your friends or family are concerned.
  • Take it slowly. Ask questions and look for inconsistent answers.
  • Try a reverse-image search of the profile pictures. If they’re associated with another name or with details that don’t match up, it’s a scam.
  • Learn more at ftc.gov/romancescams.