FRAUD (FORENSIC) INVESTIGATIONS
Fraud is the deliberate deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain, or to deprive a victim of a legal right. Fraud itself can be a civil wrong (i.e. a fraud victim may sue the fraud perpetrator to avoid the fraud and/or recover monetary compensation), a criminal wrong (i.e. a fraud perpetrator may be prosecuted and imprisoned by governmental authorities) or it may cause no loss of money, property or legal right but still be an element of another civil or criminal wrong. The purpose of fraud may be the monetary gain or other benefits, by way of false statements.
To demonstrate that fraud has taken place, an investigator or prosecutor must establish the following:
- The facts have been misrepresented
- The misrepresented facts were material to the transaction
- It was intended to be relied upon
- The victim justifiably relied upon the misrepresentation, and
- Material harm resulted.
A fraud investigation determines whether a fraud or attempted fraud has taken place and gathers evidence to protect the victims involved. Investigators must act quickly to help prevent further victimisation in many cases. A fraudster can cause financial havoc for an individual or organisation where millions are involved.
Creating a plan is important and often overlooked part of the fraud investigation. It takes time, but it keeps investigations focused and organised with the numerous documents often involved in fraud cases. What gets measured gets done. The investigator and the fraud team must identify the chronological events leading up to the actual fraud.
Investigators must always stay focused, remain and act professional, no matter how frustrating the case may be.
Contact us for assistance with the following:
- Developing a fraud prevention, detection and response policy
- Investigation of suspected fraud and theft
- Re-assessment of controls after fraud has been committed
- Disciplinary procedures
- Recovery of losses
- Assistance in reporting the criminal case to the South African Police Service (SAPS)