1. Log all communications and events
a. Using a simple legal pad, keep track of events surrounding discovery of potential theft; conversations with suspect and key witnesses; notification of counsel, police and/or insurance company; and, actions taken.

2. Take a deep breath
a. Uncovering a fraud is a process, it won’t happen overnight
b. Emotions will run high, calm heads need to prevail

3. Secure computer and facility access
a. Ensure that the suspect does not have access to the computer system or the office/facilities
b. This includes access via remote log-ins, co-workers, etc.

4. Secure the following in a safe:
a. Original and 2 copies of the suspect’s computer hard drive
b. Backup copy of the company’s computer server

5. Secure key documents
a. Bank statements and cancelled checks are usually key documents
b. May also include financial statements, vendor invoices, deposit slips, or other intellectual property of the organization

6. Contact key individuals
a. Owners/Management/Board of Directors
b. Legal Counsel

7. Call the insurance company
a. What are the policy limits?
b. Will the policy cover the professional fees of a forensic accountant and/or legal counsel?

8. Understand the end game
a. Will termination of an employee or multiple employees occur?
b. Is prosecution a possibility?
c. Is an insurance claim to be filed?
Understanding the end game is imperative to properly scope and navigate the investigation and ensure that appropriate counsel and experts are retained.

9. Consult with a forensic accountant
a. They have specific knowledge to properly conduct an investigation; including knowledge of proper procedure, evidence collection, report writing, and expert witness testimony.

10. Mitigate risk going forward
a. Educate staff to understand risk, recognize key indicators, and how to report suspicious behavior.
b. Contact your bank to consider whether their products (e.g. positive pay or a lockbox) will provide additional protections
c. When in doubt, call Acuity Group at 360-573-5158!