The unsophisticated, unorganized small business is all too familiar – paper records yellowing from age, the vanilla box computer that only reads a ﬁve-inch ﬂoppy disk (remember those?) and of course the green font tube monitor!
Think twice before you assume that an unsophisticated small business cannot possibly have any useful or accessible electronically stored information (ESI).
Consider this question: does the business have any printed documents? Most of the time the answer is yes and chances are those documents were created by some form of technology that potentially possesses valuable ESI.
The quest for relevant forensic evidence in determining damages, especially lost proﬁts, in a small business usually presents unique challenges in retrieving and utilizing ESI.
In fact, many small business owners and managers, as well as their attorneys are unaware of the types of ESI available that could be the key to their case. Persistence, creativity, and knowledge are necessary to unlock the potential of small business ESI.
Three primary challenges are often encountered with small business ESI:
Next week, we’ll blog about a true case example that demonstrates how these challenges can come into play with small business ESI.
Adapted from: “Unlocking the Potential of Electronically Stored Information in Damages Cases.” Dunn on Damages – The Economic Damages Report for Litigators and Experts 4 (2011): 20-21. For more information, visit http://www.valuationproducts.com/dunn.html
Kelly J. Todd
Kelly J. Todd is a managing member and the member in charge of forensic investigations at Forensic Strategic Solutions. Ms. Todd has a broad range of forensic experience including financial and white‐collar investigations, fraudulent financial reporting, accounting malpractice, and the calculation of economic damages.
False Claims Investigation
When a whistleblower sounded the alarm on their employer that had allegedly violated the Anti-Kickback Statute and submitted false claims to the government, FSS was hired by the whistleblower’s attorneys to pinpoint evidence and determine the value of any identified claims.READ FULL CASE STUDY
FSS was hired by the Board of Directors of a regional company to assist with an internal investigation amid questions of unexplained declines in cash flows and the lack of timely financial reporting.READ FULL CASE STUDY
The Power of Advanced Data Analytics | Lindsay H. Gill
Lindsay H. Gill, director of forensic technology, explains the benefits advanced data analytics bring to financial investigations Advanced data analytics can provide unparalleled insights when attorneys enlist forensic investigators, helping to ensure vital information does not go undetected.WATCH VIDEO
Analyzing the Variety of Data | Lindsay H. Gill
Lindsay H. Gill, director of forensic technology, discusses the differences between structured data – or “traditional” data – and unstructured data, which investigators use to help fill the holes or see the bigger picture within a case. Lindsay also explains how forensic investigators should use and compare structured and unstructured data.WATCH VIDEO
Using Data to Tell a Story & Find the Answers | Kelly J. Todd
Kelly J. Todd, managing member and member in charge of forensic investigations, discusses how FSS uses advanced data analytics to ferret out the truth in fraud investigations via data visualization. Kelly explains how electronic evidence and data can be leveraged in forensic investigations, from verifying or challenging a plaintiff’s testimony to identifying trends and patterns […]WATCH VIDEO
Leveraging Social Media in Fraud Investigations – II | Lindsay H. Gill
Lindsay Gill, director of forensic technology at Forensic Strategic Solutions, shares insight into the benefits associated with attorneys hiring forensic investigators to uncover evidence on suspects’ social media accounts. She also discusses how to authenticate the evidence gathered and the methods to do so.WATCH VIDEO
Leveraging Social Media in Fraud Investigations – I | Lindsay H. Gill
Lindsay Gill, director of forensic technology at Forensic Strategic Solutions, discusses social media and its role as a helpful tool to uncover fraudulent electronic evidence in an investigation. She also describes best practices for forensic investigators to collect, analyze and interpret findings to connect the dots.WATCH VIDEO
Data Analytics with a Focus on Technology | Lindsay H. Gill
Lindsay Gill, director of technology at Forensic Strategic Solutions, reviews the key areas in which technology has changed the landscape of fraud investigation and how data continues to become a growing risk for businesses.WATCH VIDEO
The Power (and Variety) of Data in Forensic Investigations | Lindsay H. Gill
Time and time again, we trumpet the incredible value of advanced data analytics in forensic investigations – often, it is the key to finding the needle in the haystack. Fortunately, our firm remains at the forefront of utilizing data to identify unexpected patterns when investigating financial fraud – that red flag that tells us something isn’t as it should be – whether for a qui tam case involving kickback schemes or a case of underreported revenue.READ FULL BLOG
Quickbooks Audit Trail: Fraudulent Behavior Detection | Lindsay H. Gill
The QuickBooks Audit Trail (or Audit Log, depending on the version) provides a log of each accounting transaction and denotes any additions, deletions or modifications affecting the integrity of the transaction. The tool captures every transaction from the time it is initially entered into QuickBooks, and tracks changes to the original entry, including transaction type, date, account, vendor/customer name, transaction amount, quantity, and price. The Audit Trail also reveals the User ID under which the entry, deletion or modification was made. The Audit Trail is a report built in the QuickBooks ReportCenter– all you have to do is click a button to generate the report.READ FULL BLOG
Social Media Evidence: Where to Look and Protocols to Follow | Lindsay H. Gill
As a digital technology expert, it is fascinating to observe how today’s technology-centric world obsesses over anything and everything digital – especially social media. From sharing locations on Instagram and Facebook to live tweeting events, people constantly update their friends – and strangers, if their account is public – on their every movement. Social media […]READ FULL BLOG
The Digital Footprint: Where to Look | Lindsay H. Gill
The world of technology offers the opportunity for fraud experts to trace the “untraceable.” With technology becoming more popular and present in our lives by the day, people are conducting their lives more digitally, whether through email, texting, social media or Internet browsing. Collecting, analyzing and interpreting the electronic evidence of fraudulent activity is becoming more widespread in the fraud examination world, and will most likely soon become the standard.READ FULL BLOG
Technology Talk: Active Data for Excel | Lindsay H. Gill
We all recognize budget is a constant concern for auditors and investigators. Oftentimes our technology budgets are just too tight. We find ourselves looking for powerful tools to add to our toolbox that do not break the bank. One of these tools is Active Data for Excel.READ FULL BLOG
Summation Shortcuts | Leslie P. Littrell
Rooting through and indexing large amounts of documents can be a complex and time-consuming task, placing undue burdens on investigators and clogging a case’s workload. This sort of complication can have negative effects on the timeline and outcome of a case. Enter Summation, an excellent multi-faceted software program used to keep documents organized so that […]READ FULL BLOG
Technology Talk: Excel Shortcuts | Lindsay H. Gill
I was recently surprised to learn at a team meeting that my peers were not as familiar with the many Excel shortcuts that I apparently take for granted. Urged by our team to share more, I decided I should share a few of the more frequently used Excel shortcuts with you:READ FULL BLOG
Cyber-security: Minimizing Internal Threats | Kelly J. Todd
Like a magician’s sleight of hand, the barrage of headline news related to hackers and cyber criminals may divert attention away from the equally dangerous, but perhaps less obvious, threat to your corporate assets: employees. While trusted employees are moving, sharing, and exposing corporate data just to do their jobs, the malicious employee may be deliberately taking confidential information for personal gain or other nefarious reasons.READ FULL BLOG
Let’s Get Digital: Putting Benford’s Law to Use in Fraud Examinations | Forensic Strategic Solutions
A man by the name of Frank Benford. In the 1930s, physicist Benford developed a theory of leading digits, now known as Benford’s Law. Benford’s Law tells us that in a variety of data sets, the probability of occurrence of each digit (0 through 9) as the first digit in a number follows a certain distribution. That is, the digit 1 will occur with about a 30% frequency, followed by the digit 2 at 17.6%, through the digit 9 at 4.6%. See Figure 1.READ FULL BLOG
B.Y.O.D. | Lindsay H. Gill
“Bring your own device,” or “B.Y.O.D,” is a concept that an increasing number of companies are implementing. B.Y.O.D allows employees to use their personally-owned devices in the work place. These devices can range from laptops and tablets to cell phones and flash drives. While B.Y.O.D may be a good plan in theory – employees can work with devices they are comfortable using – It is important for employers to thoroughly consider the implications and potential pitfalls before implementing a B.Y.O.D policy. Consider, for example, the following key areas regarding the security of corporate information and infrastructure:READ FULL BLOG
Social Media in Fraud Investigations | Lindsay H. Gill
There’s no denying it: social media has changed the way we interact with each other. People are tweeting live from events, “checking in” on Facebook, posting pictures to Instagram and commenting on, liking or sharing just about everything. The amount of personal information that social media users willingly put “out there” is staggering.READ FULL BLOG
QuickBooks Audit Trail: Leveraging This Tool to Expose the Footprints of a Fraudster | Forensic Strategic Solutions
Employers, if you use QuickBooks for your company’s accounting needs, you have a built-in tool for fraud prevention and detection at no additional cost to you: the QuickBooks Audit Trail.READ FULL BLOG
Computer Forensics v. E-Discovery: What Every Expert Should Know | Kelly J. Todd
Increasingly, the answers to the most fundamental litigation questions – the “who, what, where, when, and why” – are contained in electronically stored information (ESI), which can be retrieved through electronic discovery (e-discovery) and/or computer forensics.READ FULL BLOG
How to Find Electronically Stored Information | Kelly J. Todd
In our case study, gas station owner, Morris, has alleged that Green Fuel, a small gasoline distributor, overcharged him. Both parties had inadequate and unsophisticated documentation, making determining losses very difficult.READ FULL BLOG
Electronically Stored Information: The Case Study | Kelly J. Todd
You might not think that a small business would have useful or accessible electronically stored information (ESI). Consider this example of identifying and obtaining relevant forensic evidence to determine lost profit damages with this particular small business.READ FULL BLOG
Unlocking the Potential of Electronically Stored Information | Kelly J. Todd
Think twice before you assume that an unsophisticated small business cannot possibly have any useful or accessible electronically stored information (ESI).READ FULL BLOG