August, 2002

Construction

"On The Side" [Part Two]

There aren't many industries more likely to be victimized by employees, suppliers, and competitors than the Construction Industry.

Inventory accounting and control problems are almost a given.

Everything from copper wire to construction vehicles are at least occasionally exposed at job sites and vulnerable to everything from simple pilfering to outright theft.

Supposedly trusted employees, even supervisors,

may be taking on jobs of their own on your time, with your equipment, even with other employees who supposedly work for you.

We know of an instance where a partner in one company set up his own competing company

with a similar name and took business away from the first company.

We also know of instances in which a subcontractor tried to claim that thieves entered a construction site overnight and stole concrete forms that had been set in place for pouring the next morning – an apparent insurance scam.

The Bold & Ugly Truth:

The perpetrators of these kinds of schemes often are blatantly unconcerned.

One of the people we caught conducting his own business on the side drove to his personal work sites in vehicles marked with the business name of his actual employer.



His ill-gotten gain: In excess of $250,000 that should have gone to his employer but went instead into his own pocket.


When caught and confronted with the evidence we had compiled, the man was hardly apologetic. It was an all too typical reaction.

The Vulnerabilities:
  • Inadequately monitored construction sites are open invitations to thieves of all types, who sneak in after hours to haul away goods for resale to commodities dealers or for personal use.

    The thieves are likely to be employees, who know what's available and how to get at it.

    As long as the pilferers don't get too greedy, the scam can continue from one job site to another over many months.

  • Equipment that isn't adequately checked out, tracked, and checked back in easily can be diverted to an illicit job.

  • The mileage on over-the-road vehicles can be checked, and should be checked daily. This simple procedure often is ignored. And mileage is particularly difficult to challenge, when an employee is allowed to take a vehicle home.

  • At the same time, how can you know if a backhoe that's supposedly at one site isn't, in fact, diverted to another site – especially when the supervisor responsible for accounting for the machine is the one using it for his own purposes?



The Best Defense Is A Good Offense

All of these and other types of construction industry scams have a vulnerability in common - they go on in plain sight.

That vulnerability means that my investigative staff often has a clear opportunity to gather the visual and documentary evidence needed in order to drop the hammer on the culprits.



Gathering The Evidence

Illicit conduct often is so blatant that an employee doing business for himself on your time actually may formally file corporate, partnership, or trade name papers that we can obtain.

Even if that's not the case, there often may be a paper trail; for example, licenses and permits that we can tie to the employee and/or his illicit project locations.

If the employee is subbing on a job, there may be contracts and invoices – after all, the prime may have no idea of what's going on.

Dealer/Resellers of construction materials often don't pay by check or maintain detailed records, except for fairly large purchases; but, in our experience, they do recall and can identify repeat sellers of construction materials.



Surveillance:

Testimonial evidence can be useful, but surveillance is the ultimate key to exposing the perpetrators and the scope of their illegal activities on and off the job.



Locations

We can set up surveillance at construction locations, storage locations for supplies, and business offices where inventory is missing or equipment may be misappropriated.

Our effort would include photographic and videotape evidence of unauthorized activities at these locations, including persons who may be linked to those activities.

People

The key in any construction related theft is the principal person involved. We can establish surveillance beginning at an individual's residence, following that person throughout the day to identify contacts, locations, any activity that may verify the trail of misconduct.



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Our job, as investigators, is to use every tool at our disposal on your behalf to turn that vulnerability against those who would violate your trust for their own personal profit.



Discreet, Thorough,
Accurate & Creative


  • Former Investigator for the Denver and Jefferson District Attorney's Offices

  • Police misconduct and related investigations for Central City, Breckenridge, Fowler, and Fort Lupton. And Risk Assessment investigations for Denver.

  • The only private investigative agency in Colorado to be hired by the Denver Election Commission to investigate allegations of campaign fraud and kickbacks.

  • Broad knowledge of criminal & civil law, insurance regulations, and common sense acquired through 25 years of investigative experience.

  • One of the few investigative firms in Colorado to carry $1 million in liability insurance.

  • More than 22,000 civil and criminal cases investigated.

  • Member:
    • World Association of Detectives
    • World Investigators Network
    • Metropolitan Law Enforcement Agency
    • Intelnet
    • Professional Private Investigators Association of Colorado
    • National Council of Investigation and Security Services
    • California Association of Legal Investigators
    • Florida Association of Legal Investigators


  • Associate Member, Colorado and Denver Bar Associations.



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