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What is a clandestine investigation and why is it critical in proving a crime?


Clandestine investigations are conducted in complete secrecy without anyone knowing. We approach each case in the same manner and use the same procedures & methodology used in our service to the Nation. Why is it imperative to conduct clandestine investigations? For one simple reason, to protect the company's interests. Fraud or accounting irregularities within a company can be disruptive and time-consuming to investigate. The majority of corporations lack the resources to carry out a comprehensive investigation. In order to completely substantiate an existing or suspected fraud, Apollo Limited deploys experienced, independent, and highly credentialed investigators. Untrained individuals are prone to misinterpreting events and making the wrong conclusions, which could result in the company being held liable.  Even the most seasoned accountant can easily see fraud where none exists and vice versa. Making that determination with any degree of certainty requires specialized training and experience. The worst thing an employer can do is accuse an employee of wrongdoing only to find out later they were mistaken.  It is impossible to undo the psychological damage that betrayal inflicts on loyal employees. The relationship will have ended at that point, and if the suspicion was shared prematurely, it could result in a defamation lawsuit.  By hiring a clandestine investigator, an employer will be given reasonable assurance a crime has indeed taken place and provided hard evidence that supports such allegations. Having such undeniable proof should be a prerequisite for confronting an employee and filing complaints with local and federal authorities.   Insurance carriers will not even consider paying a theft claim without such evidence.  It is not the time to act on a hunch when someone's reputation is at stake, and that of the company as well.  In the ideal scenario, our experts will pose as temporary employees, new employees "trainees" or regular auditors visiting for some other reason and may need to speak to the suspect.  In this way, the investigator is able to observe, interact, and gain first-hand knowledge in order to create a psychological profile that will support the allegations or disabuse the suspect.

Can ApolloLTD prove embezzlement and provide court-admissible evidence?


If a crime occurred, we can prove it. It is impossible to evade detection in the 21st century. All it takes is time and the knowledge of where to look and what to look for. Even when it involves cash, which is the most difficult financial theft to prove and document. Cash is rarely appropriated just to stuff in mattresses. It is spent, deposited, or otherwise circulated. When they do, it can be documented. Criminals often make the mistake of living beyond their means. It is common for people to believe that they have everyone fooled, that no one is paying attention, or perhaps they think that they can easily explain it away. By accessing IRS, FinCEN, and other federal databases, we can paint a clearer picture and establish a timeline of events. If John Doe shows up to work in a brand-new Corvette but hasn't earned a pay increase, won the lottery or found a diamond mine under his root cellar, something's wrong. With these databases, we can rule out all legitimate methods by which a person could have had a sudden windfall, which can occur for many different reasons.   Despite how many signs point to misappropriation, things aren't always what they seem. Snap judgments can cost a company dearly, so don't say anything until all the facts are in. 

"If it walks like a duck..."

A good example is the 50-Something Phenomenon. Your co-worker has continually complained about his job for as long as you can remember. On occasion, you may even agree that you are not paid enough for the amount of work you perform. Since you make the same salary, you can empathize with just how tough it can be to barely scrape by and forgive him for his frequent rants.

Almost overnight, Mr. Grumpy turned into Mr. Personality. He's smiling, laughing, and enjoying life. Even though you're happy to see this miraculous attitude change, you can't help but wonder what made it happen. Unintentionally, you overhear him talking about his new sporty convertible and how much more enjoyable his commute has become. How's he able to buy a new sports car when you can barely afford your used jalopy? It's getting a little annoying now, and beyond the jealousy, you feel something's off.  As the week goes on, you notice he's making online purchases and planning trips. As you peer over the cubicle wall, you see him moving funds...and it suddenly hits you...he's embezzling funds from the company!  Your need to burst his bubble and knock him back down to your level blinds you the fact that is his job as an asset manager to make bank transfers. At that moment, that's irrelevant to you. Who cares about facts at a time like this!? In fact, you believe that having access to bank accounts lends credibility to the plot since no one would question what he's doing with them.  The man certainly has the brains to pull this off, and he's been around long enough to have picked up a few tricks along the way. Your decision has been made. Clearly, he is an embezzler!


Perhaps you should tell your supervisor first, or perhaps go straight to the authorities because it is your duty to report him after all (and he shouldn't enjoy luxuries if you can't). Either way, in your mind you are a hero and will likely be promoted or at least get a nice raise.  Your guilt over ratting-out your coworker will subside eventually since you know you did the right thing. Right? 


No, not at all. Emotions have impaired your judgment. It's jealousy in this case. You want to rain on his parade simply because he's doing all the things you wish you could do. Your allegations have nothing to do with justice and you have no evidence to back it up. It is not a crime to buy a new car or to be happy. 


What was never considered in this case is that as employees reach their late 40s and 50s, they will inevitably lose a parent or another loved one.  A portion of the estate and insurance benefits often go to the children and usually without much public acknowledgement. Even though your coworker doesn't appear to be grieving, and truth be told, he wasn't too fond of his recently deceased father-in-law, but after learning that his wife was the only heir, he's starting to grow fonder of him. 


You made a critical mistake, and it could be irreversible if taken too far.   So, don't automatically assume the worst just because Joe drives a new Corvette or Jane carries a Gucci bag. When jealousy is involved, we tend to see the worst in others. You owe it to yourself and your coworker to discuss this. If you ask questions in a friendly, non-accusatory manner before voicing your suspicions, you might be surprised at what you find out.  It is often easier to assume the worst of people than to give them the benefit of the doubt. Sadly, it's human nature. 


Investigators interview dozens of sources, so why shouldn't you do the same? Be careful not to spread unsubstantiated rumors, no matter how juicy the gossip is. Try to put yourself in their shoes and detach yourself from any emotions you may have. You might lose your job if you aren't careful, and you could end up being sued for defamation if you take it too far. 


It is hard to believe, but sometimes when it walks like duck and quacks like a duck, it actually turns out to be a goose. Be careful not to jump to conclusions.  People are innocent until proven guilty, no matter how much they irritate you. 

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There are  more than a dozen classic scenarios an employee can use to defraud a company of its assets and new methods are devised every year. But the technology these thieves believe makes it so easy to get away with is the same technology used to bring them to justice. The bottom line: there is no sure way to get away with a financial crime in the 21st Century. Paper trails have been replaced with virtual ones, and they can't be shredded, burnt, or otherwise destroyed. It is saved in a database and one's belief that deleting something from a computer is all it takes, it's not. More cloud storage providers are implementing indefinite file retention, as are email providers and phone service providers. While deleted files may be lost to the owner forever, The Justice Department can still retrieve them. 

The nuances of Financial Crimes are often difficult to spot using standard detection techniques. Advanced practices and methodologies established by the United States Treasury's Financial Crime Enforcement Network (FinCEN), the  Secret Service, and FBI investigators, have enhanced and broadened the skill set of field agents. Apollo Limited's Specialized Skills Officers have that training and more important, years of practical experience.  Many of our contractors are still associated with their respective federal agencies and carry active credentials.  No investigator is more qualified in detecting financial fraud, outside the crime enforcement network, than Apollo Limited's investigators. 

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Forensic Accounting Skills and Techniques in Fraud Investigation in teh Nigerian Public Sector: white paper by D.O. Gbegi and Dr. J.F. Adebisi

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