shutterstock_78829726Contractor Theft Ring

One of the manufacturing sites of a large, international petrochemical client came to us with concerns about the theft of scrap metal and other items from their plant. Hidden cameras installed in a warehouse identified a number of contractors engaged in theft. Although these contractors had access to the facility, they did not have access during the time of the theft. Investigation revealed that over a half dozen contractors, from at least three firms, were engaged in collusion to commit the thefts and share in the proceeds, including a member of the contract guard force who allowed the thieves entry to the facility after hours. Subject interviews conducted of the suspects in this case resulted in confessions and partial restitution to the client. The confessions revealed a timeline of the thefts (many thefts had been previously unknown to the client), the methodologies used to perfect the undetected thefts, and the identities of all involved. We made recommendations to help reduce the likelihood of this happening again at this plant and our client exported these concepts for security improvement to their other facilities.

Result: All parties involved with theft identified; Interviews produced full confessions; Security improvements implemented.

Attempted Fraud

A nationwide financial services client came to us when the borrower of a multi-million dollar commercial loan they had made had defaulted. Our client was engaged in a financial “workout” negotiation. The borrower claimed to have just under half the cash value that was owed as the deficiency on the note, and offered that amount to the client to accept as payment-in-full in exchange for an agreement to cease further collection action or a lawsuit. Our client asked us to determine the financial holdings of the defaulted borrower to see if this was a sound decision. Our investigation revealed that the borrower provided false and fraudulent information on their “workout” documents and that the borrower had many millions of dollars more in assets than they claimed – enough to pay the entire amount of the deficiency. Based upon our investigation, our client was able to negotiate a more favorable “workout” payoff. This client, along with a number of our other financial services firm clients, continues to use Frizell Group to help them determine the reliability of borrower-provided “workout” information.

Result: Previously undisclosed assets discovered; Client negotiates a more favorable loan payoff.

Corporate Mismanagement

A national personal services company received an anonymous Ethics Hotline allegation that the leadership of a specific office was engaged in a scheme to falsify customer survey information. Our client employed us to determine the veracity of this allegation. It was determined that customer survey information, collected by a third party, has a significant impact on the measurement of each office’s performance, which has a direct correlation to the performance bonuses provided to the office leadership at each location. The investigation confirmed through confession of the involved parties that collusion between a number of office managers existed to falsify the survey data and increase their bonuses and retention potential at a time of corporate layoffs. The scheme worked because, when the employees suspected that they would get a bad rating from a specific customer, they would circumvent (in a variety of ways) that customer’s receipt of the survey card from the third party. The employees would then give themselves a very favorable survey rating and return the survey card to the third party. They prevented spot checks conducted by the third party by providing erroneous telephone numbers for the customers who had not actually received the survey cards. Safeguards were improved to prevent this scheme from working again at any of our client’s facilities.

Result: Office managers confess to falsifying survey data; Safeguards improved to prevent further mismanagement.

Vendor Kickback Scheme

An international manufacturing company contacted us when a routine audit showed that they were paying above-market rates for a specific service. A detailed audit of the suspected department revealed many millions of dollars in overpayments to specific vendors in the past number of years, without engaging in the company-required vendor bidding process. Our investigation revealed that the manager of the department in question was living well beyond his means, having paid cash for multiple homes, making cash investments in business enterprises operated by his friends, and purchasing luxury vehicles. The manager provided a partial confession – enough for the client to refer the matter to federal law enforcement authorities and to determine the collusion of contract companies who may be liable to return the many millions of dollars in overpayments to our client.

Result: Audit reveals overpayments to vendors and circumvention of bidding process; Manager confesses; Federal Law enforcement contacted.

shutterstock_121506397Jury Research

Jury selection methodologies differ by jurisdiction. An international law firm had a civil lawsuit in a jurisdiction that provided the names and partial identifying information about the panel of prospective jurors a very short time before voir dire, the questioning and selection of the jury panel. Frizell Group assembled a team so that, immediately upon receipt of the juror data, we could check proprietary databases, criminal and civil records, and even social networking pages for information identifiable with the prospective jurors and return that data to our client in short order. This assisted our client in choosing the best possible jury and our client won the lawsuit at trial. A number of our law firm clients have retained us for similar research.

Result: Prospective jurors’ civil and criminal records and social networking pages checked; Client wins lawsuit at trial

Receivership Security Management

A court-appointed receiver of a government-seized financial firm suspected of defrauding their investors out of billions of dollars retained Frizell Group to handle the security logistics for seizing and providing security for approximately forty locations both inside and outside the continental United States. This required round-the-clock management of contract security officers, access control monitoring, and identity verification to allow authorized access but keep out current and former employees, members of the press, and disgruntled investors.

Result: Security logistics managed at forty locations.