Cases have ranged from individual to corporate to legal scenarios. However a few amusing case histories will indicate the extent of its use and the golden rule to follow – it is most often the person you least suspect who is the perpetrator.
Case 1 - Credit Card Fraud
To illustrate a company were having a great deal of credit card fraud with a petrol card being used to fill up personal vehicles and the business vehicle registration then being fraudulently inserted onto the printout which would then be claimed in addition to the company expenses.
The director of the company arrived with a large pile of handwritings of all staff members in his employ. The assessment revealed that none of the writings were a match and he was asked again: “Are these the writings of ALL the staff in your employ?” He replied: “Yes with the exception of one young guy who does not own a vehicle. He arrives at work everyday on a skate board – I didn’t think it necessary to include him in the assessment”. On insistence his writing was brought for assessment only to reveal that this young guy was in fact the fraudster!
He confessed to sneaking into the secretaries office drawer whilst she was away from her desk and taking the card. He would then phone his girlfriend who owned a car and she would collect him down the road. They would then go together to fill her car up with petrol. He confessed to their doing this all within a very short period of time so as not to arouse any suspicion, since he would ensure the card was placed back in the drawer as quickly as possible.
Other staff members had loads of opportunity and appeared far more likely in terms of their being suspects – so the moral of the story is “the person least suspected..” Hey he only owned a skateboard!!
Case 2 - Worker's Comp Fraud
At times the cases involve paperwork which appears to be valid and legal, until it is questioned by surviving family members who realize the will looks somewhat different to that as discussed by the belated family member before their death. These amounts vary and most times involve property and other assets which translate into millions of dollars.
Most cases are highly confidential and it is difficult to divulge too many details, however I will tell you about another case in which a contractor was working for a Bakery owner installing equipment. The bakery equipment fell over onto the contractor severely injuring him in the process. He approached the doctor who asked whether he had workman’s compensation to which he replied: “Yes, through the owner of the business” Unfortunately the owner had not employed him, but only used his services as a contractor and so he was liable for his own workman’s compensation costs. Since he was not registered, he approached the Director of the company with the form, given him by the Doctor and asked that he sign it “as the director of the business where he had sustained his injury”. He then used this signature to forge it onto the form given him by the Doctor to apply for workman’s compensation, using the registration number of the Bakery owner which he had also deviously got access to. The Doctor, unknowingly, then applied on his behalf for workman’s compensation. Only when the Director got questioned by workman’s comp as to the huge bill they faced for the pay out did the Owner suspect what had happened.
The contractor maintained his innocence and used the document to say the Owner had signed it and in this way had admitted his liability for the compensation claim, the contractor having been in his employ for such a lengthy period that it was no longer a contract. The Bakery Owner was awarded all costs and proved innocent, the Contractor losing all credibility on the strength of his having forged the signature.
Case 3 - Schoolyard Pranks
A headmistress contacted me. They had eight cases of graffiti, intimidating letters, threats and the final straw, initials carved out of the paint work on one of the teachers brand new vehicles, this over a period of about eight months. In desperation they called me in.
The analysis of hundreds of writings from school books of grades brought into question revealed some very interesting finds:
Of the eight letters, five had been penned by the very recipient of the intimidating letter, this being largely for the purpose of attracting attention and for various reasons. One was a particularly gifted child who was just so bored at school and sought a diversion. Two were letters of intimidation and threat and this child was also identified as being the culprit in carving letters into the vehicles paint work.
The two children who penned a series of two and three letters to themselves respectively were doing this for attention. In the first instance the child was big for his age and had been accused of being the class bully. In an effort to draw attention away from himself, he drafted letters which made him appear to be the one being “bullied” and so shifted the focus on his own “bullying”.
In the second instance the little girl had been a very sickly child, but within the last year had improved considerably due to new medication, her mother had also re-married and changed the little girls name to that of her adoptive father. The changing circumstances and perceived lack of personal interest in her, motivated the girl to resort to letters of threat and intimidation in a quest for her mothers undivided attention again.