Book Review: Anatomy of a Fraud Investigation
As the title Anatomy of a Fraud Investigation suggests, this book contains the detailed stages of the investigation process and an in-depth analysis of a real fraud case that has been handled by the author. These stages are divided into ten sections in this book, namely; First Indication, The Importance of Planning, Collecting the Evidence, Electronic Evidence Considerations, Interviewing, Importance of Documentation, Further Investigative Measures, Tracking Down Leads, and Drawing a Conclusion.
The book was written in the first person and contained lots of detail, such that reading it was similar to reading the author’s diary. As an expert in the field of public accounting for thirty years, Stephen Pedneault shared in detail the steps and measures taken during the investigation. He also emphasized valuable insights into the investigation process in the form of ‘Learning Points’ and ‘Fraud Facts’. One of the Learning Points emphasized that the safety of investigators and those involved in an investigation is very important:
“First and foremost, just as in working my weekend job driving ambulances, personal safety for yourself and the safety of all others involved in the investigation is the most important aspect to consider in any investigation.”
The author even emphasized the critical need for the fraud examiner’s skill in understanding the basics of handwriting:
“As a fraud examiner, it is important to obtain a basic understanding of handwriting, and how to identify basic patterns within handwriting. Much information is available to obtain such understanding without having to become an expert in the field. It is also important to identify a handwriting expert who can be brought into a case to expand upon your basic knowledge should the handwriting in question become a key element of the case, such as with forgeries.”
In addition to aspects of fraud investigation, the author also described the best practices of internal control to prevent fraud. One of them is in part five, where the author shared tips for controlling the use of corporate credit cards.
Anatomy of a Fraud Investigation is recommended for fraud examiners, investigators, and entrepreneurs who would like to gain a better understanding in handling and preventing fraud.