Keeping Leadership Honest by Preventing White Collar Crime

Keeping Leadership Honest by Preventing White Collar Crime

For many business owners, white collar theft seems like a pretty abstract concept until  faced with its fallout first hand. We tend to romanticize the idea of the white collar criminal, and how could we not? Over the years, cinema has glorified this kind of perpetrator—from Leonardo DiCaprio in the Wolf of Wall Street to Christian Bale in American Hustle. But as fascinating as the idea of a well-paid professional taking an insane risk for illicit gain may be, at the end of the day there are always victims left behind.

The FBI reports that white collar theft costs the United States upward of $300 billion per year. And while its true that 31% of this kind of illegal activity is undertaken by operations staff, the vast majority was ultimately traced to trusted leadership. Yes, some 34% of white collar theft was found to be committed by middle management and 26% by senior management. That means that if someone’s going to engage in this kind of behavior within your business, the chances are they’ll be doing so from somewhere within your core leadership team.

Delving Into the Mind of White-Collar Criminals 

A substantial part of mitigating white collar theft among your leadership lies in anticipating where the criminally inclined might find means and opportunity. This begins with conducting comprehensive background checks on managerial or high-responsibility candidates—or potentially leaders already in place if this step was overlooked during recruitment. 

Introducing security-centric procedures such as segregating and rotating certain duties can remove opportunity to some extent, as can using accounts-monitoring software and making timely audits. Launching an anonymous white collar theft tip line is also a powerful tool that shouldn’t be overlooked. In fact, the #1 way that occupational fraud is detected is via a tip, and companies with a hotline manage to detect white collar crime 33% faster than their counterparts.

Of course, the ill-intended are most likely to thrive in a working environment where many of their colleagues are already bending or breaking the rules. Team members suffering low morale due to work-related stress are also far less likely to feel motivated to report white collar theft if they witness it. These factors alone should be enough to inspire you to prioritize elevating your corporate culture if you aren’t already. 

It’s true that organizations with strong culture enjoy better employee performance and greater profits, and the flip-side of that is that those with an eroded culture can become a hotbed of white collar crime—right under the nose of oblivious executives. Fundamentally, your leadership staff are critical to setting the tone on corporate culture, so if you suspect that their example is anything but shining, a corporate culture audit is definitely in order.

Navigating White Collar Theft When It’s Rooted With Leadership

When employee misconduct is coming from lower-level team members, the process to deal with it—from investigation through to discipline or dismissal if required—can be uncomfortable, but is ultimately a part of being responsible for a functioning team. However, when the suspect of workplace criminality is a member of your most trusted inner-circle, and perhaps someone who has been by your side for years, the situation becomes a little more challenging.

While HR may usually take the lead on employee investigations, this can become problematic if the individual in question is senior to the HR team. Simultaneously, impartiality is critical to navigating a potentially criminal corporate investigation, and long-standing colleagues can hardly be expected to assess the facts without bias, making it tricky for fellow leaders to investigate a peer. The only logical option in dynamics such as these is to bring in an external corporate investigator to provide pivotal support.

The investigator’s work may begin with a corporate culture audit or a targeted investigation following an unexplained discrepancy. In instances where discretion is key, an undercover investigator can be placed within your team to covertly gather facts until a case is solid enough to bring it forward. Providing peace of mind to those seeking this support, the seasoned and specialized corporate investigator will be able to advise on how to navigate each unique situation in pursuit of the best possible outcome.

So, whether you wish to initiate a culture audit or risk assessment as a preventative measure against white collar theft, or want to know what truth lies concealed from your suspicions, the expert corporate team at Lauth Investigations International is ready to assist. Learn more about our approach to white collar crime or reach out to us today for a no-obligation consultation and we’ll help you explore your options.

How to Detect Embezzlement Within Your Company

How to Detect Embezzlement Within Your Company

Understandably, embezzlement is something of a specter—a ghost haunting the dreams of business owners across America. Why? Because embezzlers often go undetected for years, are usually in a long-standing position of trust, can leave a gaping financial hole that is discovered all too late. 

Alarmingly, the average company loss through embezzlement is a whopping $357,650, and over half of businesses recover less than one-third of what was lost. If you know that a crisis on that scale could cripple your enterprise, a timely embezzlement investigation is a proactive way to place yourself on the happier side of those numbers. In fact, many don’t realize that an embezzlement investigation can be both reactive or cautionary, depending on their sense of vulnerability. So, is it time to call in a corporate investigator to make sure you haven’t got a capital drain in free-flow right under your nose?

Knowing the Common Types of Embezzlement

When we talk about launching an embezzlement investigation, what kind of crimes might we be looking at? Well, embezzlement is an umbrella term for any type of fraud or capital theft engaged in by an employee and afforded by their position of trust. 

Common forms of embezzlement include chronic undercharging of friends and family in a customer-facing setting, or creating a phony ghost supplier to charge your company for transactions that never really existed. The embezzler may fabricate fake refunds or fictitious bad debt. Another common type is payroll fraud—although there are many ways in which an embezzler may cook the books so that their thefts go undetected.

Red Flags of an Embezzler In Your Midst

If the perpetrator covers their tracks well, even your CFO may not notice that a sinkhole is growing in the company’s financials. However, there are other factors to become attuned to that may indirectly let you know an embezzlement investigation is called for.

For example, someone neck-deep in a complex embezzlement scheme may be very reluctant to take their accrued vacation days while exhibiting enthusiasm to work overtime. As you can imagine, moments when honest employees and management are off the clock create a far easier setting for them to conduct their nefarious activities undisturbed. 

An employee overseeing an unmeasured expense such as office supplies or with access to petty cash that they can skim from should always be subject to scrutiny. So too should employees who start spending in a way that doesn’t reflect their salary, or those who dedicate a lot of time to whispered meetings with co-workers or vendors. Keep in mind that 79% of embezzlement cases involve more than one person collaborating to rip off their employer.

Launching an Embezzlement Investigation and Preventing Future Problems

As grim as these statistics might be, employers can reclaim their confidence by uncovering and stopping embezzlement in its tracks and taking steps to prevent it from happening again. Because of the complex nature of embezzlement crimes, a specialist corporate investigator is the ideal ally for tackling this challenge. They will be able to roll out digital forensics, surveillance, background checks, and even undercover investigations to bring the perpetrators and their methods to light.
A corporate investigator from Lauth Investigations International can also help you safeguard your future endeavors with comprehensive employee screening, risk assessments, procedural overhauls, and corporate culture assessments. A rise in employee misconduct often indicates a larger problem and a culture audit is a swift way to address the cause rather than only the symptoms. Would you like to know more about how we can help your business navigate an embezzlement investigation? Then connect with us today for a no-obligation consultation.

Investigating White Collar Crime Covertly

Investigating White Collar Crime Covertly

For any company with precious assets and interests to safeguard, fortifying the ramparts against external threats is a given—but what happens when the true dangers lurk within? White collar crime occurring under the radar often leaves a trail of devastation in its wake. Making matters worse, the greater the position of trust enjoyed by the perpetrators, the more substantial the damage is likely to be.

In truth, the extent of white collar crime across the US remains an unknown—loosely estimated to be anywhere between $426 billion and $1.7 trillion annually—because data suggests that as many as 90% of white-collar crimes go unreported. Simultaneously, prosecutions continue to drop, having plummeted by more than 50% since 2011. So, how can you ensure that your organization doesn’t simply become one of these sinister statistics?

Covert corporate investigations can help you identify the white collar criminal and stop them in their tracks. From stemming the flow of financial haemorrhaging to gathering enough evidence to take swift legal action, a corporate investigator from Lauth Investigations International will serve as your secret weapon against white collar crime.

What Constitutes White Collar Crime?

If you think that your leadership team doesn’t warrant scrutiny, think again. The types of white collar crime that our investigators regularly encounter are diverse in nature. Bad actors with data and assets at their fingertips can soon dip into nefarious activities such as securities fraud, insurance fraud, insider trading, money laundering, embezzlement, bribery, tax evasion, Ponzi schemes, identify theft, and more. 

What’s worse is that a company operating under a veil of naivety will not only be vulnerable to substantial financial losses, but also potential implication in illegal activity that may lead to a quagmire of investigations and litigation. The key to avoiding such an unwelcome destiny is constant evaluation of security protocols and taking deft action whenever the faintest aroma rises that something might be amiss.

Why You Might Call on Covert Corporate Investigations Services

Preventive measures to keep white collar crime at bay include conducting regular Corporate Culture Audits, threat assessments, and comprehensive employee background checks. These tactics can dramatically reduce the risk that a member—or members—of your team are about to go rogue. However, when warning signs begin to appear, covert corporate investigations become the best resource in your toolkit for nipping white collar criminality in the bud.

Examples of these raise-the-alarm indicators include finding evidence of losses but being unable to trace their cause, receiving a tip on criminal activity but lacking the detail to address it, becoming aware of worrying evolution of departmental team dynamics, or pervasive divergence from company policy within the behaviours of employees. At times, the signs that all is not well are obvious, but at others, following an instinctive hunch that something is amiss can mean the difference between taking swift disciplinary action and moving smoothly on, or being overwhelmed under the weight of an escalating legal fallout. 

Covert Corporate Investigations From Lauth Investigations International

Our seasoned and objective undercover operators are experts at quickly blending in within any corporate environment, adopting the role of a new recruit before tracking and evidencing all of the information required to identify a white collar crime perpetrator and mount an effective counter offensive. Their speciality is illuminating the unseen within your organization, drawing not only on covert corporate penetration tactics but also cutting-edge surveillance technology and licenced access to verified law enforcement-favored databases.

Covert corporate investigations are not only ideal for revealing the facts of a white collar crime as quickly as possible, but also ensuring that navigating this internal threat is done discreetly, protecting your organization’s operations from the substantial disruption that can occur when an unmitigated crisis takes hold. If you are concerned about white collar crime within your teams, we are ready to assist. Connect with our corporate investigations specialists today and protect your assets and integrity from internal dangers.

Revealing The Realities Of White Collar Crime In Construction

Revealing The Realities Of White Collar Crime In Construction

If you think that white collar crime is something only committed by manicured suit-wearing types in office buildings, it’s time to think again. If you work in construction and you’re shaking your head in disbelief, then consider this your wakeup call. Construction embezzlement happens every day in America, and safeguarding your business against the sly intentions of fraudsters and scam artists could save it from a derailing crisis.

Joy Wilde was the trusted bookkeeper of a Californian construction company. Her boss, Greg Weimann, had no idea that Wilde had been fraudulently siphoning funds out of his business for years. By the time he realized what was going on, she’s embezzled the staggering sum of $877,000 from the company. Last year, Wilde was sentenced to 10 years in jail for her crimes. A satisfying justice, perhaps, but you can bet that recovering from such a devastating loss and the upheaval of a law suit, media coverage, may take the victim just as long.

The tough truth of this tale is that Joy Wilde serves as only one example of endemic corporate fraud—criminality that carries a global annual price tag expected to rise to $1.5 trillion by 2025. So, if white collar crime has nothing to do with the kind of collar on a neck that sits behind a desk, what exactly does the term mean? Simply put, white collar crime describes the actions of anyone in business who illegally takes money from their employer or anyone else they do business with. That means customers, clients, suppliers, or subcontractors can be the target, and crucially, so can you.

Safeguard Your Company Against Construction Embezzlement

Denoting an equally unfriendly term, embezzlement is when someone steals or misappropriates of funds placed in their trust or belonging to their employer. If you run a construction company, then you won’t have any difficulty envisioning the ample opportunity for embezzlement that this industry affords. Payment applications and invoices can be falsified, labor and material costs inflated, change orders manipulated, and the Schedule of Values used to conceal substituted savings and divert funds. When the dangers of bid fixing and collusion are added to this equation, construction companies find themselves in murky waters indeed.

This raises the obvious question: how can such companies protect themselves against the possible impacts of construction embezzlement and other forms of white collar crime? Well, safeguarding can be conducted in a number of different ways. Enlisting a corporate investigations firm to carry out comprehensive background checks and periodic corporate culture audits can help you identify foxes in the hen house before they strike, so to speak. It is our experience that there are usually red flags to be found long before an employee makes off with the spoils.
For companies who find themselves having already fallen foul of an embezzler, gathering evidence and acting quickly is the best way to kick-start damage control. Our seasoned and specialist corporate investigators here at Lauth Investigations International help a diversity of companies navigate these kinds of crises every day. We can advise on how to immediately launch an impactive investigation, what other self-protective steps you can take moving forwards, and the moves that you can make in order to reclaim lost assets, bring justice to the criminal in question, and reduce your risk of liability for the fallout of their actions. Whenever the warning bell chimes for white collar crime in construction, don’t hesitate to act. Contact Lauth Investigations International today for preventative and curative assistance.

Uncovering White Collar Crime with Private Investigators

Uncovering White Collar Crime with Private Investigators

While white collar crime may not make the headlines in the same way that political scandal or violent crimes do, to anyone with experience of the damage that can be done, those three little words will certainly bring an unpleasant chill. Perhaps shockingly, the FBI reports that white collar crime costs the United States over $300 billion per year, and yet many companies are woefully unaware of the risks.

Today, a new era of white collar crime is flooding the business world with smart criminality and well-covered tracks. Just as new technologies have opened the door to exciting new services and products, so too is a path laid for those willing to break the law in order to line their own pockets—unless, of course, companies get savvy and leap ahead of their would-be attackers.

Criminal activity that falls under the umbrella of white collar crime is both diverse and hard-hitting. When the prospect of internal investigations has already been raised, there is a good chance that the victim organization is hemorrhaging and time is of the essence. There is no better ally in the race to uncover put a halt to this executive misconduct than a private investigator. But, before we learn how such an investigative specalist can help, let’s cover what constitutes white collar crime, so you can be better versed to mitigate its potentially disastrous consequences.

What is White Collar Crime?

It’s easy to guess that white collar crime earned its name because this type of law breaking commonly occurs within business settings. However, it is not limited to any particular industry or setting. Instead, it describes nonviolent crimes that fall into two categories. The first is occupational crime, committed by individuals for their own illicit gain, and the second is corporate crime, committed for the illegal benefit of the company or organization. Regardless of the classification, they share toxic traits that can destroy a business from within.

In both cases, this executive misconduct might involve fraud, embezzlement, bribery, or blackmail. It may extend to forgery, money laundering, or counterfeiting; insider trading, investment schemes, or identity theft. These crimes may be committed by an employee on the premises, or they may be carried out remotely via electronic means—no doubt with the aim of remaining undetected until the spoils have been looted and the criminals in question are high and dry, leaving you to pick up the pieces.

Protect Your Livelihood With the Assistance Of a Private Investigator

When it comes to tackling white collar crime, a private investigator is an essential collaborator. Protecting your business and assets begins with fully-supported internal investigations, and in this endeavor, a corporate-specialized private investigator offers a skill and resource set that is simply unparalleled. Whether digital forensics, uncovering asset trails, or carrying out surveillance—both in person and digitally—are required, an investigative firm is uniquely poised to help you resolve the situation quickly.

Here at Lauth Investigations International, we take great pride not only in supporting the swift internal investigations that companies across the nation require, but also in providing them with the means to prevent before it even takes root. Our seasoned private investigators tackle white collar crime whenever called to, while our talented auditors deliver innovative Corporate Culture Audits—helping businesses like yours foster an environment that is functionally secure, and culturally unwelcoming to those with bad intentions. Learn more about our innovative services, or if you prefer, contact our team for no-obligation advice on how to armor up against white collar crime and so much more.

Using Expert Private Investigators As Your Eyes In The Workplace

Using Expert Private Investigators As Your Eyes In The Workplace

When most people think about private investigators, they might imagine a shadow at the window as a cheating spouse is photographed in the act—the movies have a lot to answer for! However, in reality, the breadth of skills and specialties harnessed by investigators every day in America touches just about every area of modern life, including corproate and white-collar crime. Private investigators help individual citizens and businesses alike as they strive to safeguard wellbeing, assets, and integrity.

Among these professional truth-seekers, corporate investigators act within the niche of aiding organizations and businesses of every scale—providing services ranging from tackling corporate theft, to uncovering white-collar crime. Diligent lead development and fact-finding, complemented by resources such as high-tech surveillance equipment, expert training, and licensed access to verified databases, allow private investigators to help corporations sail through rocky waters unscathed.

What’s the Difference Between White-Collar Crime and Corporate Crime?

Before we go into what specialist corporate investigations bring to the table, it can help to get some of the key terminologies down. Many clients ask us about white collar crime vs corporate crime, wanting to understand the difference. The distinction is an important one, not least because knowing which you’re dealing with can help you understand how hot the water may be about to become.

White collar crime is a term that describes a range of crimes in a corporate setting, undertaken by a nefarious actor whose goal is personal gain. These might include fraud, espionage, corporate data theft, bribery, and many more. A white collar criminal will line their own pockets at the cost of their employers and clients, getting away with murder until corporate investigations bring them to justice.

In contrast, corporate crime—which some might class as a form of white collar crime—may seem somehow less insidious, but can leave a business in far greater peril. Corporate crime usually sees an employee acting illegally within their professional role. While their actions may be similar to those of the white collar criminal, ill-gotten gains land in the accounts of the business, and so it is far more likely that the corporate entity itself will be held accountable, and particularly so if they fail to act upon the first sign of suspicion.

Calling Upon a Private Investigator For Swift and Impartial Resolution

Where other types of corporate investigation may be handled internally, recruiting external support can be vital for any inquiry that may later fall under the magnifier of legal scrutiny. An independent private investigator will ensure the integrity of any investigative operation, protecting your business from potentially disastrous calls of unfair dismissal or—even more dangerously—accusations of an intentional crime or cover-up.

The role of private investigators in the workplace can sometimes be reactive, moving decisively to get to the bottom of an unfolding crisis. However, at other times, their services will come in the form of assessing the current risk landscape, and helping businesses build forwards with stronger corporate culture, better security, and a firmer footing for commercial success.

Investing In a Corporate Culture Audit Before Alarm Bells Ring

Thanks to contemporary corporate investigations services, organizations don’t need to wait for the cracks to show before taking action. A private investigator can be brought on board as a proactive measure, carrying out a business-wide audit that assesses the health of corporate culture—either giving you the peace of mind that everyone’s on board, or lighting the way towards making it so.

A skilled corporate-focused private investigator will also be able to provide in-depth security risk assessments, both in terms of physical space and data integrity. Within a world that sadly sees workplace violence on the rise, investment in a violence and threat assessment can provide for the safety of your employees, while in-depth background checks can help you ensure that prospective employees are exactly as they appear to be.

When it comes to the wellbeing of any corporation, it’s never too early to implement meaningful strategies that guard against potential threat. From petty time theft and misconduct through to far-reaching white-collar crime and corporate crime, mitigation is always a far friendlier option than dealing with the fallout. In this area, Lauth Investigations is proud to offer a spectrum of supportive corporate investigation services. Of course, if the worst happens, our team of dedicated investigators are ever-ready to quickly build evidence and support your businesses in court. As specialists in corporate security and investigations, trust us to be your eyes in the workplace and your allies on the ground. Contact us today to find out more.