When Brandon sat down with professionals at , he quickly shared that he was in a very frustrating situation. After watching company inventory slowly disappear with no explanation, Brandon was convinced that he was the victim of theft in the workplace; that an employee was stealing materials.
A few months earlier, Brandon and Tony, his business partner, installed video surveillance equipment cameras around the warehouse and also in the loading dock area. Their efforts caught no one doing anything wrong. Brandon believed that he and Tony had exhausted every possible effort they felt they could to remedy the problem and still it was there.
When accepted the case, we encouraged Brandon not to discuss the investigation with anyone. Unlike the very visible cameras Brandon and Tony installed, we added covert surveillance equipment that was impossible to see unless employees knew specifically where to look.
We reviewed employee background checks and noted that criminal background checks had not been done. Brandon agreed to make a criminal background search part of the ongoing hiring practice and updated the files of every existing employee, which revealed several issues.
With social media engineering, we reviewed the social media presence and activity, but found nothing out of the ordinary or any red flags.
That changed, however, as we were conducting computer forensics services on employee computers one at a time. Through computer data forensics recovery, every email, including those the user thought had been deleted, was accessible.
Some questionable emails led us in an entirely different direction. In fact, those emails changed the entire slant of investigation. Because we have so much experience in this field, we followed our own hunch. By the end of the investigation, we provided Brandon with video evidence that could be used in future court proceedings.
One thief in the workplace was the security guard. Once or twice a week, the security guard was caught on video, entering the building and stealing random tools and materials. He brazenly loaded these items in the back of his pick-up truck before the end of his shift. But the security guard had help with this endeavor.
Brandon’s trusted business partner was also seen on the video, helping the guard remove inventory – and he had been in on the investigation. Immediately his computer was sent to our computer forensics investigator because the business partner primarily focused on bookkeeping.
used data extraction software to complete forensic data recovery because the partner had tried to delete a great number of records and emails. Through the digital forensic analysis, investigators were able to locate a hidden bank account. Brandon’s business partner was not only stealing material, he was also stealing money.
Not every partnership has the problems Brandon experienced, but it still should make business owners pause to think. Ask these questions:
- How well do you know your business partner?
- How well are you investigating new hires?
- How closely are you monitoring every employee?
Remember, systems help keep your business safe, but if you have a feeling that something is off kilter, it usually is. Call on to help you be proactive with due diligence and to answer those pesky questions.
-Brenda McGinley, CEO, All in Investigations, All in Investigations