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Forensic Accounting and Fraud Investigation for Non-Experts, 3rd Edition by Michael Sheetz, Howard Silverstone, Frank Rudewicz, Stephen Pedneault

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CHAPTER 9

The Investigative Process

Introduction

All investigations share similarities. Whether the investigation centers around financial crimes, burglary, or even murder, each investigation must pass through the same general stages. All cases go from initiation, to planning, to execution, to prosecution, and finally to reflection. In some cases the stages overlap. In others they are abbreviated. However, in every case each stage plays a key role in how well, or poorly, the outcome matches the expectations.

Understanding these similarities and the roles each play in the overall investigation is crucial to success. In every investigation, there will be mistakes. Whether they are mistakes in planning, mistakes in execution, or simply errors in judgment, they will occur, and they will influence the outcome of the case. Failures in the planning stage can result in cost overruns, and mistakes in the execution stage can result in a nolle prosequi, or worse, an acquittal. By understanding what must occur during each stage of a case you can reduce the number of errors and minimize their impact.

Understanding these stages is more important in financial crime investigations than any other. In most nonfinancial crime investigations like burglary, robbery, and even murder, there are challenges. Each is unique in its own right, and all require tremendous skill and experience. Financial crime investigations, however, generally result in higher volumes of evidence and more complicated theories ...

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