Interviewing & Investigation
As an employer, you need a solid basis for taking action and defending yourself against claims of inaction and unfair treatment. The objective of a workplace investigation is to procure reliable facts so you can make an informed decision.
We investigate misconduct such as theft, fraud, time abuse, alcohol / illegal substance abuse, and sexual harassment to determine the true nature and scope of the problem, should one be present. We tie all the various facts and documents together and show what it all represents.
- Report upon any forms of related employee misconduct, or crimes against the company and/or other employees.
- Gather all information concerning the alleged or suspected problem in a way that allows management to enforce its policies and carry out appropriate corrective action.
- Perform the fact-finding process without being disruptive to the company, its operations, or employee morale.
- Structure the process to reduce liability and improve morale.
After the information-gathering and fact-finding phase of the workplace investigation, we perform interviews of selected individuals. These are the individuals who may have firsthand knowledge about alleged misconduct.
Through the skillful application of interview techniques, our professionals have an unprecedented success rate in obtaining admissions without coercion, threats, or promises of leniency.
In most circumstances we obtain written statements from those interviewed. All information is cross-referenced with the information developed from other employee interviews, verifying and confirming results whenever possible. This method provides a complete picture of the employees and others involved so employers receive a complete, comprehensive workplace investigation.
This method also provides proof of loss on the basis of signed affidavits. Millions of dollars have been recovered as a result.
We make no recommendations regarding discipline. However, the results of the investigation and subsequent interviews are provided in a detailed summary and a final report in order to assist you and your counsel with your decision-making process.
Loss Control Surveys
Almost all businesses are susceptible to general inventory losses or cash shortages. Subsequently, Norman Jaspan Associates, Inc. is often called upon to conduct a “Loss Control Survey” at one or more of our client’s facilities. The purpose of the survey is to identify vulnerabilities that may contribute to losses and to recommend appropriate and cost-effective procedures, controls and corrective measures.
During the course of conducting a Loss Control Survey, we will:
- Examine the bookkeeping procedures.
- Examine the money handling procedures.
- Examine the shipping & receiving procedures.
- Examine the inventory procedures.
- Examine the compliance level to current policies and procedures.
- Interview employees to develop information on potential problem areas.
At the conclusion of the survey you will receive a comprehensive report detailing the vulnerabilities found, as well as recommendations for corrective measures.
Our undercover services have a wide range of objectives. Our unique method of operation involves placing members of our staff in your employ, through your normal employment channels. They go to you with experience suitable for the positions in which they are placed. In addition, they are trained observers and reporters, being the eyes and ears for our supervising engineers. To insure their complete anonymity, their identities are known only to the necessary principals of your organization. As they will be performing a full-time job like any typical employee, they are paid the prevailing salaries by your firm for the jobs they fill.
This procedure enables us to report factually to our clients, reflecting any deviation from systems, inefficiency, time and material waste, negative employee attitudes, manipulations, kickbacks, drug abuse and other forms of dishonesty, from the lowest to the highest employee levels, and all other information that should be brought to the attention of top management.
At the outset, our representatives familiarize themselves with the basic systems, operations and personnel in the areas under investigation. They then submit detailed reports to their account supervisors and these are evaluated by our senior industrial engineers. Approximately ten days after the end of the first month of investigative work, you will receive our comprehensive report-containing specific facts concerning the personnel and areas covered. At no time do we act independently without definite instructions from you.
During the course of the assignment, your account supervisor will visit you when necessary to consult, review the progress of the case and make interim recommendations, without charge, other than cost of transportation and out-of-pocket expenses, if required.
No contract is negotiated, per se, and services may be discontinued any time after the first month upon ten days advance notice to allow for the reassignment of our personnel.
Should interviews be advisable, based either on material developed by our staff or information provided by our clients, we have highly skilled specialists available to conduct them in a confidential and a sensitive manner.
These interviews, with which we have had outstanding success in converting information and insight into convincing fact, allow our clients to take appropriate action and also provide proof of loss on the basis of signed affidavits. Millions of dollars have been recovered as a result.
The use of background checks helps the prospective employer assess the stability and trustworthiness of an applicant. A check of an applicant’s background verifies the information provided in the application form or resume and may uncover information omitted on the resume or application by the applicant.
Norman Jaspan Associates provides the following types of background checks:
- Criminal History Search
Reveals the presence of felony convictions and, in some cases, misdemeanor convictions.
- Consumer Credit History
Reveals accounts, balances, monthly payments, delinquencies and judgment.
- Motor Vehicle Record
Reveals the validity of a driver’s license, violations, accidents and suspensions or revocation.
- Professional License Verification
Verifies the existence and length of licensure by a specific state agency (when available).
- Education Verification
Verifies the degrees earned and dates of attendance.
- Social Security Number Verification
Verifies that the number provided by the applicant was issued by the Social Security Administration to the applicant
- Previous Employment Verification
Verifies previous employment, dates of employment, rates of pay along with other pre-employment information. See C-TPAT Services for details.
- Asset Searches
Locating and verifying assets of an individual or company.
Dishonesty in business-thievery, kickbacks, other malpractices-is on the rise, adding billions to the cost of goods and services. Why do trusted employees turn to crime? What can businessmen do to prevent it?
Norman Jaspan, head of a firm specializing in detection and prevention of white-collar crime, came to the conference room of “U.S. News & World Report” for this Interview.
Q: Mr. Jaspan, how widespread is business crime in the United States?
A: In terms of dollars and number of people involved, it far exceeds crime in the streets. Employees steal more than 50 million dollars, a day in cash and merchandise – about 15 billions dollars a year.
When you add kickbacks, stealing of company secrets and other malpractices, the total is probably several times greater than that. Kickbacks payments alone, we estimate, amount to 8 billion dollars a year.
Q: What does this mean to the average consumer?
A: It means that 15 percent of the price you and I pay for goods and services goes to cover the cost of dishonesty.
Q: Is this sort of crime on the rise?
A: Yes. I think it may double in the next five years.
Q: Who is doing the stealing?
A: People at all levels of business. Our statistics show, however, that the greatest amount of dishonesty, dollar-wise, occurs among supervisory employees and executives. It is easier to sit behind a desk and manipulate, take kickbacks and pass out confidential information than to back a truck up to a plant once a week and steal merchandise.
Our firm uncovered more than 100 millions dollars’ worth of business dishonesty last year. Supervisors and executives were responsible for 60 percent of it. The trusted supervisor doesn’t have to jimmy his way into the office or blow the safe-he already has the key and the combination.
Q: Has the recession tended to intensify the problem?
A: Yes, in the respect: Prosperity breeds dishonesty and neglect; recession exposes some of the losses and creates new threats-particularly at the white-collar level.
Take the case of a man who devoted a lifetime to building up his business and then sold it to another company in return for stock. The market has gone down and his stock is selling at only a fraction of its former value. All the former owner has left is an employment contract, his wits, and a desperate desire to recoup his loss. Under the circumstances, it’s easy for him to rationalize that he has been unfairly treated. He may become an opportunist at the company’s expense.
Periods of recession also put an economic crunch on executives whose bonuses were suddenly eliminated, whose profit-sharing plans went sour, or whose stock options became valueless. Sometimes stock options were financed with bank loans that now must be met while the value of the stock is depressed.
All these things can lead to manipulations and malpractices.
Q: Do mergers contribute to the problem?
A: Yes. They are having a marked influence on business crime. Instead of making a contribution to corporate profits-as is usually the intent in a merger-they can create a drain. Sometimes they foster management disloyalty because of insecurity and unfulfilled expectations.
Let me cite a case our firm uncovered recently: It involved the vice president of a boat-manufacturing firm-a loyal employee for 35 years. His boss, the company’s president, sold out to another manufacturer because of illness. The vice president lost his office and the prestige he once enjoyed, although he remained with the company. After our investigation, the vice president admitted that he had embezzled $100,00 in the year after the merger. He rationalized: “I helped build the business. That money was due to me.”
Here is another case:
An executive spent 25 years with an electronics company that was taken over in a merger. This was the only business he knew. He had helped build it and now the company was sold. He was downgraded to line, became frustrated and turned opportunist.
What did this man do? He set up his own business. He sold many of the company’s dies and equipment for scrap and bought them up secretly. He contacted the corporation’s customers and wooed away its engineers and sales personnel. Subcontractors helped him get started. His friends in the front office gave him confidential information on contracts and bids. Your own employees often can be your strongest competitors.
Q: Why do employees steal from their companies?
A: First, there has to be an opportunity, and this usually occurs because of poor supervision or a bad example set by others, especially someone in management.
Second, an employee often steals to get over a difficult period. Slowly it becomes a built-in habit.
People tell themselves: “My boss does not appreciate my work; the other fellow is getting more money than I am. The company owes it to me. Everyone is stealing-why not me?”
The rationale comes very easily. The employee performs the act and justifies his behavior.
Most inside crimes are committed by trusted employees-those who have the greatest opportunity to steal and are the last to be suspected.
The most common characteristic of these people is an appearance of sincerity that lulls management into trusting them. The breakdown by age and tenure of service to a company doesn’t furnish a clue as to who is doing the stealing.
We are basically insecure, regardless of how expensive a suit we wear. Under given pressures, we are bound to bend.
Q: What sorts of pressures?
A: The best way that I can answer is to give an example. Our company uncovered a case of stealing by a top executive. He had just bought a $155,000 home on Long Island, with a heavy mortgage. His children were in private schools. He was distribution manager for a major organization and was earning $55,000 a year. The firm promised him unlimited possibilities. Everything was going great.
Then the roof fell in. He lost his high-paying job. He looked around for four months. He had to have work, so he took a job as head traffic manager for a smaller company. Now he was earning only $28,000 instead of $55,000.
Everything that he learned as distribution manager he brought to is job as traffic manager. He knew how to play around with bills and invoices. He knew how to put through duplicate shipments and work out details with trucking companies. He knew how to get kickbacks from public warehouses and to work out overage on goods. Until he was discovered, this fellow was pocketing $1,000 per week on the average. He started off easy and inched his way up. It was just an unbelievable situation.
This man felt that the world had cheated him. He was thrown out of a $55,000-a-year job, yet he still had his big home and children in private schools. Who was going to pay for that?