Jeremy Clopton, CFE, CPA, ACDA
Director, Forensics and Valuation Services
In what seems to be a pattern in investigations, a deceased woman’s FitBit was used to help solve her alleged murder. In this situation, the data from the FitBit, as well as social media activity, was used to disprove an account of events provided by her husband.
This story illustrates how data beyond the obvious can be used in investigations of all types. The same mentality can be beneficial to fraud examiners as well. The key is to consider all the potential data points available to help in an examination.
Let’s consider a financial statement manipulation scheme. While you may know the user ID that posted the entry, it is important you look even further for evidence of who actually posted it. Other relevant data points may include:
- Date/time the entry was posted
- Workstation from which the entry was posted
- User ID typically associated with that workstation, compared to the user ID posting the entry
- Was the user signed in remotely or in the office?
- Who was in the office on the date/time the entry was posted (badge access records)?
- Was there email activity or other digital activity on the workstation?
- Who actually logged in to the workstation from which the entry was posted?
Clearly there is a lot more information than just the date, debit/credit, account number and amount. As you approach your next examination, consider the following:
- What is the alleged scheme?
- What other data can help me determine what happened or who was involved?
- Are there data sources to help corroborate or refute the allegations?
- Do the patterns of activity match our expectations?
I’m not saying a FitBit and social media will help solve your next investigation, though I am confident there is quite a bit more data out there you may find useful to your case.
You can hear Jeremy speak on how to effectively communicate complex data next week at the 28th Annual ACFE Global Fraud Conference, June 18-13 in Nashville.