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

Step inside the hidden world of corporate undercover investigators

Step inside the hidden world of corporate undercover investigators

corporate undercover investigation

How can a corporate undercover investigation improve your workplace?

When it comes to your business, you don’t know what you don’t know. 75% of employees have admitted to stealing from their employer at least once, and 35% will steal at least twice. That’s to say nothing of misappropriation funds, theft of industry secrets, and various forms of fraud. Many employers do their best to foster a positive corporate culture landscape in which they can thrive. When employers do not engage in the health and happiness of their employees, they can fully expect a corporate crisis to arise as a direct or indirect result. Issues such as internal theft, workers’ compensation fraud, harassment, and discrimination are just some of the corporate crises that arise from the lack of oversight on part of leadership. However, once these problems develop, it can be difficult to document them in an overt investigation. This is where a corporate undercover investigation can provide the crucial clarity needed to preserve a corporation’s mission.  

Today’s corporate landscape is fast-paced and constantly in flux, but leadership must find time and budget to have their daily operations properly assessed. In order to conduct a successful corporate undercover investigation, leadership and human resources must first know when it’s time to hire an investigator, and what criteria to use when hiring them. Many executives and CEOs may not wait for a corporate crisis to occur, but rather invest in a corporate undercover investigation for auditing purposes. The average time it takes for frauds to be discovered is 2 years, and when the fraud is allowed to continue for 5 years or more, the financial losses can surpass $2 million. It’s not hard to understand why employers and human resource departments alike may wish to be more proactive when it comes to protecting the business and its assets from the ruins of corporate crisis.

In a corporate undercover investigation, investigators will insert themselves into the workplace or worksite, typically in a capacity where they will be easily ignored, such as custodial staff, messengers, or even security. By inconspicuously infiltrating the workplace, investigators can observe daily operations without disrupting the true nature of the corporate culture. They can document the unseen factors in any corporate crisis. Whether it’s as small as thefts from office supply closet, or major theft of product from a warehouse, investigators can place covert surveillance cameras in strategic locations to capture the theft on tape. The best and most seasoned investigators will have the ability to seamlessly enter the workplace and develop a rapport with employees. This allows them to break down the unseen interpersonal factors in the staff, develop leads, and get corroboration regarding aspects of the case. Corporate undercover investigations can also be the ideal way to handle high-stakes corporate crises in which upper management is suspected to be involved. The more elevated the position, the more devastating the impact of that employees misconduct will be.  At the conclusion of the investigation, investigators prepare a complete report of all their findings and return it to the client in order to ensure they have the full scope of the problems within their organization.

If you have need of a corporate undercover investigation, call Lauth Investigations International today at 317-951-1100 for a free consultation on all of our corporate investigation services.  We are staffed by former military and law enforcement and carry a glowing A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. Get the clarity your company needs today with Lauth. Call today or visit us online.  

This is how a corporate investigator can stop fraud, theft, and other problems in your company

This is how a corporate investigator can stop fraud, theft, and other problems in your company

internal investigation

In the interest of due-diligence with an internal investigation, thousands of documents must be reviewed, processed, and itemized. Internal processes must be reviewed and evaluated by an internal investigator. It may be necessary to interview employees regarding their knowledge of the matter—those accounts must be cataloged, transcribed, and placed in context within the investigation. In addition to the tangible resources that are expended during the investigation, there’s hundreds of hours of labor hours that must be invoiced and paid out. The Fulbright Litigation Trends Survey presented data that indicated internal investigation costs were already on the rise back in 2011. Excluding the cost of settlements and judgements, they reported a median spend with American corporations of $1.4 million. Almost a quarter of those businesses reporting spent an excess of $5 million or more regarding internal complaints. For large companies with a wealth of resources, $5 million may seem like a drop in the bucket, but there are many smaller businesses who could easily be bankrupted by such a price tag. Those same companies also do not have the budget to maintain a specialized internal investigations team to address internal complaints when they arise.

There is a wide variety of events that could trigger a corporate investigation. Perhaps an employee files a sexual harassment complaint against another. Perhaps a whistleblower brings attention to a pervasive internal problem. Whatever the cause, it’s up to leadership within the corporation or organization to ensure that the problem is addressed. While some entities have the budget for an internal investigation team, the investigation itself still places a strain on a business and its resources.

Private investigators are the perfect professionals to conduct your corporation’s culture audit for a number of reasons. Just to name a few, private investigators have similar skill sets to investigators who work in risk assessment, can conduct internal investigations without disruption, and can offer you a more customizable program that will fit your business.

Private investigators build successful practices because they have a detailed eye for human behavior. When it comes to private investigation, it’s not always just about what a subject is doing, but also why they’re doing it. Because they have a wealth of experience in rationalizing and predicting human behavior, private investigators might have an edge over traditional corporate culture audits performed by risk assessment investigators. What we know about the cycle of corporate culture indicates that there is a cause/effect relationship between an employee’s level of engagement and how successful the company or organization is in their internal operations. We also know that an organization’s structure can directly affect how engaged employees are. This is why private investigators are so invaluable. They can look at characteristics of the workforce on paper and in real life to assess how employees feed into the current cycle of corporate culture.

Risk assessment firms specialize in internal investigation, but too often, leadership will neglect undergoing an audit because they believe that it will be too much a daily disruption to internal operations. By virtue of their profession, private investigators excel at blending in to their environment, whether it’s in a busy street, or a quiet library. Whatever the nature of their investigation, private investigators know how to conduct their due-diligence without drawing attention to themselves or others. This skillset is especially valuable if leadership wishes to conduct a covert internal investigation. After all, people behave the most naturally when they believe they aren’t being watched. In this way, private investigators can infiltrate businesses and obtain necessary information without piquing the curiosity or suspicion of current employees.

Another hallmark of a private investigation’s profession is their flexibility and autonomy. Sometimes private investigators can very quickly pick up leads that other investigators cannot because they have autonomy other types of investigators do not. This flexibility gives private investigators the ability to customize any corporate culture audit program to fit your business’s needs. Some companies may be small, but do not have the traditional structure of a brick-and-mortar business. Other companies might be large, but have a workforce where millennials dominate the majority. This is where a private investigator’s diverse experience can allow them to identify the problems and prioritize the most prevalent problems to right the ship of corporate culture.

If your business or organization needs a corporate culture audit, call Lauth Investigations International today for a free quote on our corporate culture audit program. We have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, 5-star ratings with Google, and we are staffed by former military and law enforcement personnel. Call 317-951-1100, or find us online at www.lauthinvestigations.com

Top Corporate Investigation Issues: Knowing When to Hire a Private Investigator

Top Corporate Investigation Issues: Knowing When to Hire a Private Investigator

Independent corporate investigations are an investment in their companies. It’s not hard to understand why a corporation would want to minimize the impact of a corporate crisis. Corporate crises come in many forms, and all of them have undeniable effects on the workplace, corporate culture, and the bottom line. That’s why employers must be vigilant of problems within their workplaces, address those problems with independent corporate investigations, and foster an environment where there is an open dialogue to address pervasive issues within the workplace.

Ignoring a corporate crisis will not ensure the problem will go away. The idea of “letting it blow over,” does not guarantee the problem will not occur again. Pervasive, repeated patterns of corporate crises are indicative of a deeper error in the company’s operations. Only by addressing the root of these issues can a company hope to avoid these problems from repeating in the future. Many companies do have shareholders and other interests to protect, but ultimately, the issue must be addressed in order to avoid further losses. That’s why it’s crucial for employers to know when it’s time to hire a private investigator for their corporate investigation.

Bribery

There are many reasons bribery may occur within a business. Perhaps an employee is offering cash to an inspector to buy their silence on certain violations on their worksite. The same could be said of an employee who bribes a government representative in exchange for the same discretion. If not exposed, not only can this cause infinite negative ripple effects within the corporation, but if caught, the parties responsible can incur costly penalties, and possible prosecution. In order to prevent these losses, both financial and in public relations, employers must trigger a corporate investigation.

Security

A break-in, or other theft from the workplace should not be treated as an isolated incident. It’s imperative that a corporate investigation can be triggered so the void in security operations can be filled and prevent further losses. If the corporation’s security system requires and update, or if perimeter fences need to be reinforced, those items must be addressed. Thieves will continue to slip through the cracks if they’re not properly patched.

White Collar Crime

White collar crime specifically refers to when crimes like bribery and theft occur at an executive level, denoting the perpetrator’s level of access and perceived credibility within the company. They are elevated crimes and have some of the strongest potential to devastate a company or organization. White collar crime can be tricky to investigate, as most procedures for investigating misconduct would likely come across the executive’s desk. That’s why employers should consider the discretion of a private investigator for this type of corporate investigation.

Cybersecurity

When there is a breach in your company’s cybersecurity, there must be swift and competent intervention. Your company’s webmasters and I.T. professionals work hard, and there are going to be breaches that they do not know how to address, either due to the sophistication of the breach, or their limited experience with certain types of breaches. When a hacker can invade your company’s website or intranet, those are major patches that must take place as soon as possible. Think of a breach like a wound, and from that open wound, the corporation can continue to leak data, industry secrets, or actual profits. Your corporate investigation must include an investigator with a diverse discipline who can answer crucial questions about the breach—the who, why, and how of the breach, and whether or not the threat is still present and ongoing, or if there has been a proverbial “smash and grab” of the intranet. Skilled investigators will have the appropriate tools and methodology to address these issues and get employers the answers they need.

Harassment

Repeated instances of discrimination or sexual harassment are systemic issues that must be addressed in order to prevent costly turnover, training, and decline in corporate culture. Discrimination and harassment not only have internal costs, but can wind up costing the company thousands in legal fees and potentially millions in settlement money if patterns of abuse can be proven in civil court. Discrimination and harassment also have a disastrous effect on workplace culture as targets of the abuse become fearful or uncomfortable in their jobs and the perpetrators continue the same cycle of abuse that causes losses in turnover and loss of employee engagement. Patterns of abuse like this demand a corporate investigation, not only for the sake of the bottom line, but also for the individuals involved.

Knowledge of Imminent State or Federal Investigation

Upon receipt of a federal subpoena or other indication that there will be an investigation into your business by a government entity, many employers find it prudent to get out ahead of the bureaucratic red tape and get a comprehensive picture of what the government is likely to find. This can lead to prescient legal or public relations strategies that may go a long way in remedying the situation. A corporate investigation into the internal staff, operations, and policies can prepare you for what the investigating agency may find when they comb through the corporation.

Fraud

Fraud can occur at any level of the employment structure, from entry-level positions all the way up to executives. The strategy for approaching a corporate investigation concerning fraud should change depending on the scope of the fraud and the culprit. This means hiring a corporate investigator with a sophisticated understanding of fraud investigations and how to document the evidence in those cases. Without clear answers and professional solutions to fraud, employers simply don’t know what they don’t know. The act of contracting an independent third party to investigate also makes it more difficult for the perpetrator to cover up their actions.

Legal Action

When facing a civil, criminal, or commercial court case, corporations must apply the same methodology when reacting to an impending investigation by a government body. Independent internal corporate investigations not only provide a veneer of transparency by the corporation in question, but also provides them with an idea of what the plaintiff in the case could conceivably find and use against the defendant in court.  This prevents the corporation from being blindsided in an already litigious situation. The more information the corporation has, the better prepared it will be to defend itself.

Whistleblowers

Whistleblowers are every company’s worst nightmare, because not all corporations have operations in place for the contingency of a whistleblower. Thus, when an employee comes forward about misconduct or another internal matter to the press, the fallout can be embarrassing and devastating to the company. Corporate investigations into whistleblowing claims are good-faith efforts to address the concerns raised by the whistleblower in an objective manner. Hiring a private investigator for this corporate investigation can also be a sign of transparency on behalf of the corporation. Comprehensive corporate investigations can also shed light on other issues that might have otherwise been subjected to whistleblowing. Leadership can swiftly intervene and address any problems that might be occurring within their business or organization.

Knowing when to trigger a corporate investigation can be half the battle. Trust your instincts, and remember that it’s better to be prudent than proud when it comes to your corporate crisis. If you’re in need of a corporate investigation, call Lauth Investigations International today for a free consultation on our corporate investigation services. Call 317-951-1100 today or visit us online at www.lauthinvestigations.com.

How to Protect Your Employees From Mass Shooter Events

How to Protect Your Employees From Mass Shooter Events

mass shooting

There are many aspects of life that Americans miss from the pre-pandemic times. Activities we took for granted, like eating in a restaurant, watching a live sports event, or even our typical working lives. However, one of the most pervasive aspects of pre-pandemic life that was not missed is mass shooting events, like the tragic events that took place in Virginia Beach in 2019. Gun violence was so high in the United States in 2019, it might be difficult to remember just how high after a year in quarantine.

Recently, America was reminded of the tragic problem of gun violence in America with two active shooter events occuring within six days of each other. First, on March 16th, an active shooter went on a violent spree, shooting and killing eight people across three massage parlors in Atlanta, Georgia. Six of the eight victims were Asian, and the shooter reportedly blamed his actions on a sex addiction. Then, not even a week later, an active shooter event took place at a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado in which ten people were shot and killed, including a Boulder police officer.

According to the Gun Violence Archive, there were more mass shootings than days in 2019. That’s 417 mass shootings in one calendar year. The GVA defines mass shooting as an active shooter event in which “four people are shot, excluding the shooter.” Sites of these mass shootings ranged from the workplace to community festivals. It was a record-breaking year, surpassing the staggering 382 mass shootings that took place in 2016. As attempts to curb gun violence in the U.S. remain ineffective due to congressional stalls and public outcry, employers and employees alike cannot help but wonder if their workplace will be the next target of a mass shooter event.

According to the FBI, the vast majority of active shooter events take place in areas of commerce, meaning buildings that are home to businesses, typically open to pedestrian traffic. The second and third most common areas are education (as in schools), and open space areas such as parks or concert venues. This means that employers and business owners of all kinds may be anxious to find ways to prevent and protect their livelihoods and the lives of their employees from this type of workplace violence.

The approach to preventing active shooter events in the workplace has two prongs. The first step in protecting the workplace or worksite from potential active shooters is risk assessment. Leadership should opt into a full evaluation of their worksite. Security is the first step in preventing active shooters. What are the credentials needed to enter the worksite? How many points of access are there? What are the security measures in place to protect the employees? How many security cameras are there? Not every worksite needs to have a metal detector in order to enter, but part of the evaluation would include an assessment of how likely it is for an active shooter event to take place. At least in the case where an active shooter event is carried out by an employee of the business in question, there are at least one or two warning signs preceding the event. Maybe the shooter in question has had multiple disagreements with coworkers, or has recently been disciplined for some form of misconduct. While it’s difficult to anticipate who may or may not incite violence based on recent events, it may be possible to predict future behavior based on an employee’s past behavior.

The second prong of active shooter prevention is operational oversight, meaning there is due-diligence on the part of leadership to ensure they are hiring the best employees with no history of violence or menacing in any way. Often in cases of mass shooter events in the workplace, there are problems within the corporation with hiring protocol. Perhaps the company doesn’t perform exhaustive background checks on their potential hires, or maybe they have not defined enough disqualifying criteria for a candidate’s hire. While there are many companies that run background checks for corporations, not all have the diverse experience of a private investigator. Through their licensure by the state, private investigators have access to verified, comprehensive databases on par with that of law enforcement. This allows them to look at a candidate’s full criminal history, address history, litigation history, and other important factors to determine what a candidate’s propensity for violence or unpredictable behavior. Long-time private investigators have the professional experience needed to view a subject’s record and perform their own risk assessment on their history. Private investigators can also use their knowledge of the criminal element and their patterns to identify employees who pose a potential risk who are already embedded in the organization.

If you have concern that your workplace may be at risk for an active shooter event, call Lauth Investigations International today for a free quote on our risk assessment services, or our active shooter programs in which we help your organization develop an action plan should an active shooter event take place. Call 317-951-1100 or visit us online at www.lauthinvestigations.com

How to Select the Perfect Corporate Intelligence Firm

How to Select the Perfect Corporate Intelligence Firm

corporate intelligence firm

When it comes to your business, you deserve facts—not fiction. Pervasive internal or external problems in a corporation can run an otherwise solid operation into the ground. Problems between employees, theft of trade secrets, and public relations incidents are just some of the issues that can hamper a company for decades to come. That’s why knowing what qualities to look for when hiring a corporate intelligence firm is key.  Not all corporate intelligence firms are created equal and if leadership is not careful, they could just be throwing money down a hole.

Experience

When hiring a corporate intelligence firm, it’s important to remember that while the company itself should run like a well-oiled machine, it’s the quality of the investigators that are the most important. Corporate investigators are tasked with evidence gathering, interviewing witnesses, and deductive reasoning that could make or break your company. While the corporate intelligence firm may specialize in certain types of investigations, the available investigators may not have the background required to meet your needs. Corporate investigation firms typically hire someone with former investigation with law enforcement, often federal law enforcement. While there are highly qualified corporate investigators with no experience working for federal law enforcement, it is up to the client to exercise due-diligence and ask the right questions. When hiring a corporate intelligence firm, no consultant should ever be hesitant about answering questions regarding their history of civil service, or the specific qualifications of the individual investigator or team of investigators who will be addressing the company’s corporate intelligence needs.

When hiring a corporate intelligence firm, the client should never be afraid to get specific with the firm regarding questions about how they plan to meet their specific investigation needs. While many corporations experience similar disruptions to their daily operations—just like the firms themselves—not all investigation types are created equal. An internal employee theft investigation is much different from a sexual harassment investigation, and the right investigator with the right experience could be the difference between getting answers and getting jerked around. Otherwise important details might be missed and the problem continues unsolved.

Technology

Field investigations in which data is aggregated by the investigator is important, but it’s also imperative that companies hire a corporate intelligence firm that has the capabilities to gather data by means of examining and auditing company databases and searching verified background databases in order to develop leads in the investigation. These corporate intelligence firms should be literate in the IT systems your company utilizes and should be able to connect to them efficiently. This means the investigator will be able to follow any leads that develop in pursuit of answers. Most importantly, the firm should be able to use this information under the most rigid of confidentiality agreements. Otherwise, the firm could open your company up to further internal or external threats, thereby exacerbating the existing issue.

Preservation of Attorney-Client Privilege

Corporations can help improve their chances of maintaining confidentiality by having an in-house attorney to oversee the contracting of these investigators. When an investigator of any kind is contracted by in-house counsel, they can maintain confidentiality has the investigator does the fact-finding on the company’s behalf. Without these necessary steps, facts uncovered during the investigation can place the company in further jeopardy and be subject to other forms of investigation that might occur during any subsequent legal action.

If your company is in the process of hiring a corporate intelligence firm, please consider Lauth Investigations International for your corporate investigation needs. We are staffed by former military and law enforcement professionals and carry an outstanding A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. For more information on our services or to verify us, visit online at www.lauthinvestigations.com.