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Investigator and Fraud Fighter Guidebook: Operation War Stories

Investigator and Fraud Fighter Guidebook: Operation War Stories

Charles E. Piper

ISBN: 978-1-118-87850-7

Mar 2014

336 pages



Get federal investigative insight and guidance on conducting thorough investigations and case-building

The ability to conduct thorough and effective investigations is a skill that has become increasingly in-demand across many industries. At the same time, investigative resources are dwindling as markets recede. Regulation and financial hurdles impede traditional investigation processes. Even seasoned professionals are finding themselves overtasked or lacking the experience to pursue the types of cases that are accumulating.

In Investigator and Fraud Fighter Guidebook: Operation War Stories, author Charles E. Piper, CFE provides insight and guidance on how to conduct thorough and complete investigations while juggling a caseload. Piper served over 30 years in law enforcement-including 20 as an award-winning Federal Special Agent-Criminal Investigator. His wide array of experience allows him to lend a high-level perspective to the art and science of professional investigations of criminal, civil, and administrative cases. In the book, Piper provides guidance on conducting thorough and complete investigations (even with fewer resources) and spotting red flags that often indicate big-picture problems. Piper also shows how to:

  • Identify the suspect's other wrongful acts (similar and otherwise)
  • Identify similar wrongful acts committed by others, and predict future occurrences
  • Identify systemic weaknesses, waste, and abuse
  • Identify changes and corrections necessary to prevent future occurrences

The book includes Piper's real-life investigative examples to illustrate important concepts. Whether the matter is public, private, or military, the same basic investigative principles apply. Things that may seem totally unrelated may hold the keys that crack the cases. The Investigator and Fraud Fighter Guidebook: Operation War Stories provides the acumen and judgment required to pick up on these clues and successfully conclude investigations.

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Preface xiii

Acknowledgments xix

1. The Successful Investigator 1

The Basics 3

Investigators 3

If You Have the PIG, You Have It Made 4

Investigation 9

Success 10

2. Case Initiation 15

Jurisdiction, Venue, and Purview 17

Believable, Reliable, or Credible Source of Information 24

Dollar Loss 25

Seriousness/Harm 26

Caseload 27

Resources 28

Funding/Finances 30

Investigators’ Desire 32

Investigative Priorities 32

Projected Remedy 35

Prosecutor’s Prerogative 36

Media or Public Interest 38

Political Interests 44

3. Conducting Thorough Investigations 49

Questions to Answer 53

Seven Questions: Five Ws and Two Hs 54

Before, During, and After 54

4. Expanding Investigative Efforts 69

Comparisons 71



Resources 74

Seven Questions: Five Ws and Two Hs Plus “Else” 76

Currently, Previously, or in the Future 77

Thinking Like Others 79

Three Investigative Exploration Approaches 82

Follow the Same Blueprint 84

5. Fraud, Waste, Abuse, and Systemic Weaknesses 87

Fraud 88

Waste 88

Abuse 89

Systemic Weaknesses 89

Ten Simultanous Investigations 90

Suggestions for Improvement 104

6. Summary Reports 111

Types of Investigative Reports 112

Official Files and Working Files 113

Other Reports 114

Preparing to Write 115

Length of Reports 119

Attachments and Exhibits to Reports 119

Reports Should Stand Alone 121

Report Formats 121

Common Report-Writing Mistakes 123

7. The Investigator’s Toolbox: Resources, Tools, and Techniques 131

Investigative Resources 132

Investigative Tools and Techniques 146

Search Warrants 156

Subpoenas 157

Interceptions and Tracking Devices 159

NCIC 159

Mail Covers 160

Trash Covers 160

Undercover Assignments 161

Photography and Video, and Audio Recordings 164

Laboratory Analysis 167

Informants 169

Polygraphs and Deception Detectors 170

Analysis and Audits 170

Other Case Files and Police Reports 170

Ask 173

8. Interviewing 177

Interviews and Interrogation 178

Rapport 179

Listen and Then Talk 181

Note Taking 182

Corroboration 184

Word Choice 185

Planning 186

Body Language 188

Props 189

Finish the Job 193

Empathy 194

Statement Analysis 194

Think Plural 199

Interview Notes 200

Interview Room Sketches and Photographs 200

9. Case Planning 205

Plans Change 211

Murphy’s Law 213

Private Investigations 214

Administrative Responsibilities 215

Case Files 216

Electronic Case Folder 216

Working File 217

Official File 217

Investigative Plan 218

Summary 220

Juggling a Caseload and Time Management 221

10. Large-Scale Investigations 227

Communication 231

Planning 233

Interview Log 233

Re: Strategy 238

Final Summary Report 241

Attachments and Exhibits 241

Postdraft Report 243

Report Distribution 243

Investigative Notes and Evidence 243

11. Making Presentations 245

Graphics, Charts, Visual Aids, Photos, and Videos 249

Investigator’s Appearance and Voice 250

A Copy for the Prosecutor 251

Presentations to Supervisors 253

Indictments, Convictions, and Dollar Recoveries 256

12. Providing Testimony 263

Dealing with Opposing Counsel 265

Visual Aids in Court 269

Make Sure You Understand the Question 271

13. Closing the Case 275

Old Case Files 276

Evidence 277

Recommendations for Improvement 277

Suspensions, Debarment, and Improvement Plans 281

14. Personal and Professional Growth 283

Training 284

Networking 285

Physical Fitness 287

Morale 288

Insurance and Representation 290

Preparing for the Future 291

Teddy Roosevelt 292

Conclusion 293


Samples of Case Presentation Visual Aids 297

About the Author 305

Index 309