Digital Forensics and Corporate Fraud
Corporate Fraud: Activities undertaken by an individual or company that are done in a dishonest or illegal manner, and are designed to give an advantage to the perpetrating individual or company.
A generation ago, company plans and assets were tangible. Filing cabinets could be found in many an office, overflowing with paper spreadsheets and ledger books full of information that made the business succeed or fail.
Today, computers, laptops, tablets, servers and cloud storage have become the repositories of company secrets and success. But like the early days of business, there have always been individuals within the company willing to cheat, steal and misrepresent to make themselves or their business come out on top.
Instead of white out and erasers used to change information on paper, files are deleted, digital spreadsheets are illegally altered and corporate fraud has become a digital battleground.
Many times, the investigation starts with a whistleblower sending an email or a phone call. Then the big guns are sent in. A Computer forensics investigator or team of investigators come in and start digging into the digital information.
Emails will be searched, digital activities mapped, information changes noted and when employees log on and off will be noted. All this data isn’t just gathered, it is organized and examined closely. Activity patterns are created and a digital footprint starts to appear for the person(s) being investigated.
Investigations don’t always need a whistleblower to start things off. Often, if upper management is suspicious of illicit activities or even quiet computer crime, a digital forensics team will be called in to investigate.
Once the information is gathered, examined and the guilty parties found, then the case can be created. Most digital forensic investigators, like the pro’s at Guardian Forensics, will give expert testimony supporting the evidence that has been found.
Litigation should be decisive with the evidence and the expert witnesses who found it testifying.
As long as there is something to be gained through fraud, there will continue to be dishonest business actions. With the help of the right computer forensic investigators, the truth will be found and the guilty punished.