It’s that special time of year again! As we turn the page on the calendar from December 2015 to January 2016, New Years’ resolutions are made, encouraging us to act with goodwill towards humankind, to live life ethically.
Sadly, however, just because this time of year warrants promises to be the best we can be, doesn’t mean that the world gets a reprieve from greed and deception. The calls that Capsicum Group has answered to investigate cases of white-collar crime involving data theft, deceptive accounting, and similar misappropriations of data continue to increase. Despite the high-profile collapse of several fraudulent and corrupt businesses in recent years, these cases keep coming, spelling disastrous consequences for all involved. Although frequently painted as a “bloodless” crime, white-collar crime has far-reaching and devastating effects on a large network of individuals, including but not limited to investors who lose money (which sometimes prevents their early retirement and thus leads to economic stagnation) and the employees of these fraudulent ventures who stand to lose their livelihoods when their careers suddenly implode. The related digital forensic investigations may take place when the C-Suite begins to notice issues, or when the ink on the lawsuit paperwork has just dried. Still, even when most of the damage has already been done, these investigations are essential to convicting white-collar criminals and ensuring an evidentiary trail.
White-collar investigations necessitate a digital forensic investigative component, as the use of computer technology has become more deeply embedded in everyday life. More and more crucial evidence accumulates in the form of digital information, making the need for a team of expert digital investigators in these types of legal proceedings much more apparent. Any electronic device can potentially hold valuable information about criminal activity, from laptops to cell phones to tablets. The recovery, investigation, and analysis of data in electric devices and storage media are encompassed by the field of digital forensics – and it is an eternally evolving discipline.
A skilled computer forensic investigator may not always be your friend, however. In many investigations, a thorough analysis completed without proper communication, documentation, or neutrality has led to disaster. If your team has performed collections and analysis without working hand-in-glove with government investigators or constantly following agreed-upon evidence protocols – or if you uncover that they have limited capabilities to testify and no prior experience in law enforcement – an already complex situation can go from bad to worse very quickly. A poor choice in choosing a digital forensics team can result in expensive investigations, negative inferences, and extensive legal penalties.
Digital investigations in white-collar crime cases can be a difficult and delicate operation. For example, one major financial fraudster kept track of his victims’ accounts by using a computer that was nearly three decades old, which created complications for investigators who found that dated technology can be just as difficult to decipher as more sophisticated technological descendants. Electronic data must also be properly handled due to the risks of destruction and spoliation. Digital forensic specialists must be keenly skilled in order to sort through massive amounts of data to locate, retrieve and preserve relevant evidence. News headlines dictate that the rise in white collar crime is not slowing down (not even during the joyous start to a New Year). Capsicum’s team of experts remain a guiding force in the digital forensic investigations of white collar crime, combining a wealth of experience with a multitude of specially designed tools and techniques to remain abreast of constantly advancing technologies.