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Faces of Fraud: Cases and Lessons from a Life Fighting Fraudsters by Martin T. Biegelman

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Chapter 3

Use Your Imagination

Of the many qualities that fraud investigators need, imagination is one of the most important. Fraud investigators, in fact all investigators, need to use their imagination when approaching an investigation. The most successful fraud examiners are creative and continually think outside the box. They come up with unique ideas and approaches to problems that result in the successful resolution of cases. In my career I have found imagination to be a powerful tool that I have employed in investigation after investigation. Imagination was especially helpful in tough cases where the need to obtain evidence of fraud was the most challenging.

The Mob Stings Fraudsters

In 1988, I conducted an investigation of a widespread fraud scheme that provided kickbacks to corporate purchasing agents for buying grossly inflated office cleaning products and computer supplies. I had isolated successes going after individual scam operations, but that did not stop other fraudsters from continuing their criminal enterprises. I decided to target the entire industry using a sting operation to obtain needed evidence. Imagination was the foundation of the operation.

I came up with a unique approach for the sting. The premise of the sting I developed was that organized crime would want to get in on the lucrative fraud racket and want to run a boiler room. The first thing I needed was a way to attract these fraudsters and then catch them in the act. The mob would operate behind ...

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