Fraud Basics

Submitting case reports to prosecutors

Practical tips and a nifty outline

"...[T]o get the full attention of the prosecuting attorney, the examiner must have his case ready to present in an organized and clear package. A fraud examiner might have done a great job in developing evidence, but that information must be communicated effectively to the government, which must be convinced that the case is worth the time and effort necessary to pursue legal against the wrongdoer." (2015 ACFE Fraud Examiners Manual, page 3.1039)

Much of our days are consumed with the meat-and-potatoes, real-time components of fraud examinations: taking reports; interviewing suspects, victims and witnesses; obtaining financial records, other pertinent documents and media; analyzing all of the information; and developing conclusions of possible criminal offenses. However, the mechanics of case file organization and submission to a prosecuting authority is almost as important as the facts and evidence gathered during the fraud examination.

Financial crimes are very time-intensive to investigate, review for a charging decision, charge and litigate. And the CFE who takes the time to assemble and present a clear, comprehensive and logically structured package to a prosecutor on the front end saves enormous amounts of time for herself and for the prosecutor down the road.

I'm directing this column toward those who examine fraud cases for criminal prosecution or who hope to do so at some point. (I presume that the reader has already had training and experience in criminal investigation.)

The nifty outline

One of the cornerstones of a well-prepared case file submission is its organization and an index or table of contents that precedes the evidence in the submission. Following is a suggested table of contents "starter kit," which the fraud examiner can use not only for her submission to the prosecutor but also to keep her case file organized during the investigation. Please feel free to plagiarize this outline by any means up to and including copy-and-paste, and also add to or amend to taste.

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