New Tool From AIT Helps Law Enforcement Quickly and Accurately Investigate White-Collar Crime
While annual losses from white-collar crime are in the hundreds of billions of dollars, many cases go unsolved or even undetected. CFIS, a new software tool from Actionable Intelligence Technologies, helps law enforcement agencies and forensic accountants uncover and verify criminal activity with unprecedented speed and accuracy.
(Dulles, VA) April 30, 2015—White-collar crime—fraud, theft and embezzlement—is a major problem in the United States today. While total losses are unknown, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners give an estimated range of $300 to $600 billion in losses per year.1 Actionable Intelligence Technologies, a leading developer and supplier of advanced financial investigation systems, notes that even the low end of this range significantly overshadows the illicit drug trade, estimated at $100 billion per year2, not to mention relatively minor but well-publicized offenses such as auto theft ($5.2 billion)3 and burglary ($4.3 billion).4
The size and scope of white-collar crime, however, are not reflected in the nation’s indictment and conviction rates. A recent study in Illinois, for example, showed that the vast majority—81.5%—of inmates in the state prison system were doing time for property crimes (burglary, robbery), substance abuse (DUI, narcotics) and crimes against persons (assault, homicide).5 “White-collar crime is way down the list in terms of closed cases,” says Susan Deehan, AIT Chairwoman and CEO. “The reason for this is not inattention or indifference on the part of law enforcement, but rather the complexity of white-collar crime and the difficulty of making and proving a case.”
Investigations into white-collar crimes, per Deehan, are notoriously difficult for law enforcement to conduct, and law enforcement agencies frequently lack the resources or technology to keep up with the caseload. As a result, victims of these crimes can find it almost impossible to obtain justice. She cites a recent case in which a small company in central Texas, urgently in need of relief from business-threatening losses and frustrated with the pace of the criminal justice process, filed a civil suit against a former employee—an accountant who that had written nearly $65,000 in checks to herself, friends and family members.6
“Imagine what would have happened if instead of embezzling that amount of money, the accountant had gone behind the building and stolen the owner’s $65,000 automobile. Conviction, recovery and punishment would have been taken care of within a matter of weeks,” Deehan said.
In essence, white-collar crime involves the theft, misallocation or misrepresentation of money that has been placed into a financial system of some kind—a bank account, a stock brokerage account, an accounting/bookkeeping system, or any other such financial system or product. The primary method of investigating these crimes is by comparing hundreds or thousands of documents in search of falsifications: “finding the money.” This is inherently time-sensitive; the goal of the investigator is to seize the money before the perpetrator can transfer it or, failing that, to recover it before it is spent or otherwise becomes lost.
To expedite this process—all too often, even today, performed manually—AIT has developed the Comprehensive Financial Investigative Solution, or CFIS, a technology that allows an investigator to process and analyze financial records exponentially faster and more accurately than would be possible with manual methods. In a recent test, one of the Big 4 CPA firms used the system to process a set of records that they had initially entered by hand into Excel. The manual entry and reconciliation of the records had taken a total of 312 hours. CFIS completed the process in one hour and found errors that had been introduced during the manual entry.
CFIS also automatically analyzes the data as it is entered. A receiver on a Ponzi scheme, who had spent nine months with a set of bank records and had identified $2.5 million in assets, turned to AIT for help. Working from a partial set of records, CFIS found $19.5 million in assets within two weeks—increasing the recovery by nearly eight times.
“Speeding up the investigative process and reducing the enormous losses we suffer from financial fraud work not only to the benefit of the victims of these crimes, but also to the benefit of justice, society and the overall economy,” Deehan said.
AIT’s goal is to put the best investigative tools possible into the hands of law enforcement agencies, regulators and commercial forensic accounting firms, and to help them understand how to use it to their best advantage. Per AIT, case resolution and recovery in white-collar crime can and should be much more efficient.
For more information about AIT, visit aitcfis.com.
About Actionable Intelligence Technologies:
Headquartered in Dulles, Virginia, award-winning Actionable Intelligence Technologies is the nation’s leading supplier of solutions for financial investigations. AIT’s customers include the New York Attorney General’s Office, the United States Attorney’s Office, the Criminal Division of the Internal Revenue Service, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Department of Securities, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, and other important state agencies, as well as the Miami Dade Police Department, the United States Department of Agriculture, numerous commercial and international forensic accounting firms, and many others. Founded in 1998 by Susan M. Deehan and Tim Deehan, AIT is dedicated to helping financial investigators make our country a safer place in which to live. AIT’s mission is to fight against financial crime by delivering the technology and expert knowledge needed to detect, investigate and permanently dismantle criminal organizations. References are available on request. For more information, visit aitcfis.com.
1. Friedrichs, David O. (2009). Trusted Criminals: White Collar Crime In Contemporary Society (4 ed.). Wadsworth Publishing. p. 50. ISBN 978-0495600824. Citing Kane and Wall, 2006, p. 5.
2. “What America’s Users Spend on Illegal Drugs,” Office of National Drug Control Policy, the White House, 2012. whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/page/files/wausid_report_final_1.pdf.
3. “Motor Vehicle Theft,” U.S. Department of Justice, Crime in the United States, 2009. http://www2.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2009/offenses/property_crime/motor_vehicle_theft.html.
4. “Crime in the United States: Burglary,” Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2010. fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2010/crime-in-the-u.s.-2010/property-crime/burglarymain.
5. Wilson, Caitlin, “Top 10 Crimes Committed by Illinois Prisoners,” Reboot Illinois, April 5, 2015. rebootillinois.com/2015/04/05/editors-picks/caitlinwilson/top-10-crimes-committed-by-illinois-prisoners/35961/.
6. Lofton, Melanie, “White Collar Crime Victims Wait for Justice,” KEYE TV, February 17, 2015. keyetv.com/news/features/top-stories/stories/white-collar-crime-victims-wait-justice-24179.shtml.
Karla Jo Helms