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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 10

Interviewing Financially Sophisticated Witnesses

Introduction

During the course of practically every case, it will become necessary for the investigator to sit down and interview a living, breathing person. Whether that person is an eyewitness, a records custodian, or, ideally, the suspect himself, you will embark on the task of attempting to elicit information using an interrogatory method of some type. Methods of questioning vary in complexity—depending on the subject and purpose of the interrogation—from simple question and answer to a veritable game of psychological survivor.

In this chapter, we hope to provide a framework that the financial crime investigator can use to successfully build an effective interview process. Like all good models, it must be adapted to differing scenarios. However, it can help the investigator navigate the often choppy waters of interpersonal communication that is unique to this setting. In addition, we will offer some valuable tips for approaching interviews with the financially sophisticated witnesses you are likely to encounter in a financial crime investigation.

This chapter is divided into three sections. The first introduces the fundamentals of the interview process such as whom to interview and why. The second section addresses the dynamics of the interview process, including such problems as witness memory and maximizing the interview environment, and briefly discusses the theory of cognitive interviewing techniques that are ...

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