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.
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.
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.
Many will be familiar with the recent news of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ high-profile divorce following allegations of infidelity, in which his ex-wife became the richest individual in history by virtue of divorce proceedings. The fallout from executive misconduct can leave a trail of legal fees, government sanctions, violations, and public relations-related crises that can devastate a company from the top down.
Thought to be coined in 1932, the phrase “white collar crime” now refers to a spectrum of frauds and other crimes committed by high-ranking executives and officials. The most common characteristics of white collar crime contain aspects of deceit, concealment, or violation of company policies and/or state and federal law. The motive is financial, with executives skimming off the top of a company’s profits for their own use. These crimes are sometimes thought of as “victimless crimes,” with no regard to how the fallout from a fraud or scheme can impact the company, and therefore the families of its employees. The types of fraud include, but are not limited to:
Cellular phone fraud
Credit card fraud
Health Care Fraud
Weights and measures
Corporate fraud and white collar crime of this nature remain one of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s top priorities when it comes to identifying and indicating perpetrators. While involvement by government agencies may seem like the end of the line, there are ways companies can get out in front of executive misconduct by hiring a private investigator to investigate these matters.
Private investigators have a unique reputation as slick operators who fly under the radar, but they are invaluable professionals to companies in the throes of a corporate crisis because they are independent and objective. Objectivity is the priority when dealing with executive misconduct and white collar crime, as any allegations or evidence presented against the executive must be presented by an individual with no stake in the outcome of the investigation. Private investigators are independently contacted by a business or corporation to investigate the alleged executive misconduct, and can gather evidence and collect witness statements without the air of bias. Because private investigators are independent contractors, there is no fear of reprisal on behalf of coworkers and other employees at the company. This leaves no lead discounted or ignored. They can investigate employees at all levels, and determine how (if at all) the executive is receiving assistance in their fraud from subordinates. One of the most attractive qualities in a private investigator is that their objectivity makes them crucial witnesses in any legal proceedings that may result from the investigation.
Businesses and corporations should never be beholden to CEOs, presidents, and other high-ranking executives who behave badly. Executive misconduct and corruption are like aggressive weeds that must be pulled from the root in order for businesses to flourish. When it comes to rooting out bad leadership, consider hiring a private investigator to navigate a tricky investigative path that can end in quality operations and peace of mind for businesses large and small.
If you have a corporate crisis like executive misconduct, we can help. Call Lauth Investigations International, a family-owned-and-operated investigative firm with over 30 years of providing successful solutions to clients in Indianapolis and throughout the nation. Call 317-951-1100 for a free consultation, or to learn more about our services, please visit our website.
Over the past weekend, many Americans participated in St. Patrick’s Day festivities in their community. With the 17th of March falling on a Sunday this year, many service industry establishments held events and promotions all weekend, which for many employed individuals meant three days of imbibing and socializing. After all of the excitement and green beer, it’s no wonder that March 18th is one of the most common days for employees to call off in the entire calendar. Consequently, there is a spike in employees who are suddenly experiencing “flu-like” symptoms, including sweating, headaches, and stomach upset—employees who are calling in sick who could very well just be hung over. This is what employee malingering looks like, and it can have disastrous impact on businesses and corporations throughout the country.
Employee malingering can be a difficult subject, as it usually falls under the umbrella of other sensitive topics, such as FMLA abuse. Some companies do not feel comfortable investigating possible abuses of FMLA, and do not probe into suspicions of malingering. Often, however, sometimes it’s just a matter of an employee who has a chronic case of the “sniffles.” Malingering employees have a pattern of faking sick in order to get out of working. This can be for a single day Malingerers cost companies across the country billions of dollars a year, with exponential costs of investigation and possible litigation, laying heavy blows to a company’s profits.
Malingering is preventable, but only if an employer provides consistent and accommodating policies concerning their employees’ physical and mental health needs. These enforced policies will leave no single employee feeling victimized by a vindictive supervisor or employer. If your company requires employees to document visits to the doctor, then there should be no exceptions in to that rule, barring extenuating circumstances. After all, asking for documentation is one of the best ways to prevent malingering, because employees who would simply rather stay home will be reluctant to spend their day in the doctor’s office as an alternative. This consistent enforcement of company standards also adds another veneer of integrity that becomes valuable in later stages of any investigation. It’s also important for an employer to remember that there must always be room to accommodate an employee’s needs. Unreasonable, aggressive policies with regards to sickness can make a work environment unhealthy, both in the physical and metaphysical sense. Employees who don’t feel free to take a sick day when they have an actual illness can spread it to the entire workforce. Employees who also feel as though their needs are not being accommodated can be resentful and their work performance may suffer as a result.
Just as the case with FMLA abuse, in order to have an objective investigation into any honest suspicions of malingering, it’s crucial to retain the services of a external, third-party, private investigator. Investigators appointed from within a company to investigate suspicions of malingering may know the ins and outs of a business intimately, but are objectively useless when it comes to investigate one of their own. For starters, if this employee is well-known to much of the workforce, they will be easily spotted when conducting any surveillance on an employee who is suspected of malingering. They will be recognized and the employee will immediately be on their guard. If an internal investigator is not licensed by the state, they may not know the legality of their methods and it can taint the investigation going forward. Private investigators—while having more autonomy than law enforcement—still must operate within state and federal law. Private investigators are trained to gather and document evidence and interview witnesses to corroborate their observations of a malingering employee’s movements. Any business owner knows that investigating employees for any reason has the potential to lead to litigation, and during those proceedings, an objective, third-party investigator is the one with the most integrity during deposition or testimony, as they do not have a stake in the outcome of the case.
If you suspect an employee of yours is malingering, then lay the groundwork for a solid investigation by retaining the services of a qualified licensed investigators. When it comes to taking the steps to investigate employee malingering, an employer must begin with what’s called “honest suspicion,” which is pretty self-explanatory. When an employer investigates a malingerer with honest suspicions, the decision to hire an external investigator to do so continues the transparent narrative in which the employer acts in the best interest of the company. Hiring private investigators to maintain objectivity not only make for a quality investigation, but also foster a culture of integrity and mutual respect within any company.