Reputational Due Diligence

Senior executives charged with managing relationships and risk face the challenge of getting complete, accurate and actionable intelligence on the people, both internal and external to their organization, and businesses. Many rely on one of two avenues to develop this type of information; have someone inside conduct internet based searches, which is essentially “Googling” it or use a paid database, usually one that was sold to corporate counsel as a crystal ball for all things informational. They should strongly consider have a reputational due diligence investigation conducted by ASG.

Unfortunately, neither of these options is anywhere close to a professional, reputational due diligence investigation. Google will only take one so far, and most of the time, those who are conducting even these simple Google searches, are not properly trained in investigative search techniques or methodologies. They do their best, but important information is missed.  Paid databases offered by large data brokers are a great start, we use them as a launch point on every investigation, but the integrity of the data and limitations with these services are hidden. Further, the world of all records and relationships being one mouse click away is a fantasy. Perhaps 30 years from now that will be different, but for now, these databases are a very poor substitute for an actual investigation. Most importantly, both of these approaches lack the crucial element of human intelligence. In the majority of cases, meaningful, actionable information is not just sitting on the web, it comes from people. These limitations deny you access to the type of information you likely need most, particularly that which provides insight into the subject’s character.

Our Reputational Due Diligence Investigations

At ASG, we provide our clients with reputational due diligence that is complete, accurate, verified and cost effective. We have a large team of specialists who each focus on one specific element of an investigation, and who cross support one another and ensure that no avenues are left unexplored. We have one of the largest expert investigative staffs in the country and have the experience and depth of resources to provide reputational due diligence investigations that rival the industry’s leading firms.

Employee Theft a Part of Daily Life

In an effort to keep abreast of all the latest news within the corporate investigation and risk management space, our agency added a Google alert for the term “employee theft”. Of course we expected to see a number of stories of employee theft being uncovered. Lets face it, this is a big country with lots of media outlets and lots of employees. What we didn’t expect was a dozen or more stories every day. Even more surprising is that almost all of these article are about an arrest of some employee. When one takes the time to read some of these articles, another attribute becomes obvious: the victimized company was very open about the crime. One can only imagine how many arrests are made on a daily basis that do not garner media attention. When you consider all of this, it becomes clear that no company is immune from the threat of employee theft. ASG has been proactively helping employers to try and mitigate the potential for this type of behavior through our customized employee screening services and re actively  when trouble begins to surface, through our employee misconduct investigations, fraud and internal investigations and in the extreme, via an undercover investigation within the workplace.

FCRA Violations lead to 2.6 million dollar settlement

Consumer reporting agencies constantly face having to accurately reporting information to employers while keeping pace with the demand for quick results.  Too often, the answer is the use of repositories that are searched for public records pertaining to these applicants.  Repositories are not direct source data and therefore are not constantly maintained by the public entity responsible for the records.  This means that if an expungement takes place after the original record is sold to the repository, the record will exist within the repository until the next batch of records is purchased or updated whereas the direct source (state, local or federal entity) will (should) update those records immediately upon receipt of an expungement request.  Repositories may also have less detailed personal information available to the investigator that can be used to verify that  records exists uniquely for the applicant in question.  This is frequent for those applicants with common names who may be linked to records for others with the same name.
Although each state has its own requirements for consumer reports, we have found that going above and beyond the requirements is the best policy.  Consumer reports are always available to any applicant from any state who wishes to see what we as an agency have reported to their potential employer.  In the rare case of a dispute, the applicant can either be directed to the direct source of the information – usually a public entity – for correction of the data.  One such instance recently took place in which an applicant was very displeased that records were located within the State of Michigan’s criminal conviction database.  ASG worked with this applicant after being provided a copy of his consumer report.  As it turned out, the applicant was the victim of identity theft; the perpetrator being his younger brother who provided false information to police when arrested.  The applicant was very thankful for the information we provided and less than pleased with his brother.

Corporate Fraud

The Federal Bureau of Investigations released its latest financial crimes report and in this report they noted that corporate fraud is on of its “highest priorities” and it is on the rise. Key amongst these concerns was false accounting, fraudulently inflated assets, insider trading and kickbacks. If this has become an issue so large that the FBI has deemed it a high priority shouldn’t you be concerned that this may affect your business dealings or possible business acquisitions?

With the number of corporate fraud cases on the rise it is critical to identify risks before they become liabilities. At A.S.G. one of our specialties is conducting Business Background, Executive Background Checks, and Business Identification Investigations to assist you in better making an informed decision when either choosing to work for a business or choosing to purchase a business. When you have more at stake than just money, but also your reputation in the market space these intelligence investigations will assist you in having all of the information before making a decision.

An article in the Huffington Post from February of 2012 can be found at:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/27/corporate-fraud-2011_n_1305248.html

Even the President….

One would think that President of the United States would have multiple levels of support to keep his campaign protected from criminals and con artists. Unfortunately, based on the article below, it would appear that such characters have donated some of their ill gotten gains to his re-election campaign.

http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20120402/POLITICS03/204020359/Top-Obama-campaign-donor-accused-fraud

The lesson is quite simple; do not use “good judgment” or a recommendation alone when dealing with new people or businesses. The means of checking on background of a company or individual are available to everyone and at very affordable prices. The small cost and time required to uncover that these donors were trouble would have been well worth the prevention of this embarrassment.

Southeast Michigan Chapter of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners

http://www.semcacfe.org/calendar/event.jsp?id=81

The Southeast Michigan Chapter of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners is hosting their monthly meeting on April 5, 2012, featuring speaker Daniel Klimek of Advanced Surveillance Group, Inc. Dan is the director of operations at ASG Investigations, speaking frequently on the topics of Skip Tracing, Internet Profiling, Background Investigations, and Surveillance Techniques. Dan is delivering his presentation on Skip Tracing to a group of highly trained fraud examiners hoping to gain insight on the field and learn some techniques and tips on how to locate targets of any kind of investigation. As a professional who specialized in tracking down “skips” Dan will share some of his knowledge and experience with fraud investigators from a variety of different areas within the field of investigations. Of particular interest is Dan’s philosophical take on tracking people down as quickly and efficiently as possible. Those attending will receive the basic framework to assist them in these types of investigations.

Dan Klimek currently oversees all investigative operations for Advanced Surveillance Group, Inc., including all surveillance engagements throughout the country. He is a committed member of the MCPI and ASIS and a valued guest lecturer at ITT Technical College. Mr. Klimek received his undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement from Ferris State University and his graduate education in Intelligence Analysis at the University of Detroit Mercy. Dan is has also received specialized training from the Reid School if Interviewing and Interrogation.