How Corporate Private Investigators Root Out Illegal Activity in the Workplace and Illegal Workers?

At Lauth Investigations International headquartered in Indiana, our Indianapolis private investigators work with national and global corporations and specialize in internal crisis management investigations and business intelligence.

In the corporate world, there is a lot of room for treachery, especially as companies continue to grow globally. Over the years, corporate private investigators have been commonly utilized to perform corporate due diligence such as running background checks on potential hires and business partners. However, in the expanding world of business with too little regulation, corporate private investigators more frequently perform business intelligence investigations in an effort to protect companies by discovering deceptive practices, and performing damage control. Essentially, a corporate private investigator is responsible for identifying risks and adds an additional layer of protection to a company’s financial assets, credibility, and legal integrity.

Along with potential fraud in the corporate arena, many companies are facing government scrutiny. Prior to any corporation responding to a government inquiry, senior executives must begin gathering relevant facts to assess potential liability. Promptly hiring an experienced private investigator can help alleviate the pressure on the leadership of the corporation while the private investigator works in cooperation with the corporate legal team to help expedite findings and develop information sharing agreements that can earn cooperation credits.

Management & executive leaders in the corporate world know prevention is worth its weight in gold. This list of risks is endless so corporations know being proactive and developing strategies that protect the company, involve developing their corporate intelligence programs. Corporate private investigators are highly skilled in internal crisis management investigations and discover everything from employee malingering, employee infidelity, fraud, embezzlement, improper billing, contract fraud, illegal hiring of immigrant workers, divulgence of trade secrets, slanderous employees and competitors, and drug detection and misuse. In addition, private investigators can help corporations prepare for domestic and international mergers, acquisitions, board appointments, and leveraged buyouts.

No Company is Immune

Well-known companies like 3M Company, Hewlett Packard, Walt Disney Company, Allied Defense Group, GlaxoSmithKline, Goldman Sachs Group, and even Halliburton Company can find themselves in the midst of a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigation that can result in administrative action or land them in federal court. The SEC is responsible for investigating evidence of violations brought about by tips, complaints, market surveillance activities, and whistleblowers. Typically, violations that can lead to an SEC investigation include:

  • Theft of funds or securities
  • Insider trading
  • Selling unregistered securities
  • Omissions or misrepresentation
  • Manipulating market prices

During 2010, the federal government brought more Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) enforcement actions than any other year. As with SEC investigations, there are many ways companies can take a proactive approach to reduce incidents that have long-lasting and costly effects. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) issued a 2012 Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud and Abuse. Compiled from a study of 1,388 cases of occupational fraud that occurred worldwide, the report provides a global view and insight as to the prevalence of fraud and abuse in the workplace.

The Undocumented

According to the Center for Immigration Studies, illegal immigration and high levels of identity theft go hand in hand. In Arizona, 33 percent of all identity theft is job-related. Eight of ten states having the highest incidence of illegal aliens in their total population are among the top ten states in identity theft (Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Texas, Nevada, New York, and Georgia).

When illegals come to the United States, they also look for employment and they will commit felonies to do so by using fraudulent documents obtained by identity theft.

The illegally employed send billions of dollars to their families still residing in their home countries instead of spending here in the U.S. and helping to stimulate the economy. For example, those residing in the U.S. transferred $2.8 billion to Mexico during 2008.

Bribery and corruption land U.S. corporations in the chicken coup

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is the primary and largest investigative agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. ICE is responsible for the criminal and civil enforcement of federal laws that govern border patrol, customs, trade, and immigration. Meat processing plants throughout the country have been frequent targets of immigration officials in an effort to track down undocumented workers. One of the most publicized Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids occurred during 2008 at Columbia Farms, a poultry processing plant located in Greenville, NC. Approximately 330 illegal workers were arrested during the raid. The U.S. Department of Labor was investigating the plant for possible child labor violations following the arrests of the illegal immigrants, including six juveniles.

Tyson Foods, an Arkansas corporation and one of the largest producers of poultry, pork and beef products, has been subject of several allegations of corruption over the years. In 2002, two Tyson executives and four former managers were indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiring to smuggle illegals from Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras to work at its U.S. poultry plants.

The 2002 indictment connected 15 plants in nine states throughout the country as part of a conspiracy to smuggle at least 140 immigrants to plants located in Tennessee, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Texas, Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky, and Virginia. In an effort to boost productivity and lower wage cost, Tyson paid $200 for each Mexican illegal delivered to their plants where they were provided false identification so they could work. Investigators presented audio and video surveillance that substantiated the allegations and fined $100 million, Tyson contended a few managers’ acted outside company policy at only 5 of its 57 poultry plants.

Again, in 2004, the SEC and the U.S. Department of Justice fined Tyson $5 million for violations under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act for bribery of meat packing plant inspectors. Tyson had paid two veterinarian’s wives 30,700 pesos or $2,700 a month for years in order to prevent the veterinary inspectors from creating problems.

More and more we hear stories of companies hiring Human Resources employees who then bribe potential new hires with a bribery fee for employment. For example, an illegal immigrant produces fake identification, such as a work visa or green card and pays the HR employee $300.00 for a job to clean chicken cages.

Weeding out illegal activities in the workplace – Prevention is worth a pound of cure

Incidents of corruption and bribery have become common in the corporate world and more and more companies are hiring private investigators to conduct uncover investigations of those participating in illegal workplace activity. While “companies” do not commit crimes, employees do.

Highly skilled corporate private investigators are joining corporations throughout the country to help prevent human trafficking (including child trafficking), bribery, employee infidelity, MS-13 gang activity, fraud, identity theft, and drug trafficking that has become all too commonplace in various industries.

Clearly, prevention should be a priority within any corporation. Teamwork between corporate executives and corporate private investigators acting as undercover operatives, weed out illegal workplace activities crucial to ensuring crimes are detected and prosecuted.

Indianapolis private investigator Thomas Lauth, owner of Lauth Investigations, specializes in business intelligence and corporate investigations. A twenty-year private detective, Lauth has worked with many corporate clients over the last twenty years to include, Aldi Foods, Sysco, Pepsi, and Dollar General Stores.

“If we respond to concerns immediately and investigate thoroughly, we are able to prevent huge financial losses early on,” says Lauth. “In addition, with due diligence and comprehensive corporate investigations, we are able to assist in strengthening internal controls helping corporations save in the long run.”

About the Author: Kym L. Pasqualini is founder of the National Missing Children Organization in 1994 and the National Center for Missing Adults in 2000. Kym is a consultant and expert in the field of missing persons and continues to advocate for crime victims utilizing 20 years’ experience working with government officials, law enforcement, advocates, private investigators, and national media.