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