Corporate fraud investigation and I have had a relationship for over thirty years. I have come to a sad but simple conclusion. When management uses the wrong kind of trust in a business environment all kinds of things go wrong. If you deal with employees, assets, cash and the rest you need to take a serious look at yourself. It usually starts this way. I have concluded an investigation, the employee has confessed and I am in the process of filing criminal charges. At this point the owner or manager says to me something like “I thought I could trust that person”.

The manager or owner feels guilty, is angry and then begins to question their skills. Believe me it is not their skills that they should be questioning. There are two kinds of trust in this world: personal trust and business trust.

Personal trust is the kind of trust that you have with your best friend. You are always there for each other. You can trust them with your car, house, spouse and dog (well maybe the dog). You know that no mater what happens they have your best interests in mind.

Business trust is defined with three words: Trust But Verify. That’s it! We do not have the luxury of anything else.

Most reasons that we end up in a corporate fraud investigation involve management using personal trust in a business environment. This is a business environment not a personal one and if your management style is to be “friends” with your employee then you should need to change careers.

We are responsible for an incredible amount of liability and assets. In many cases you’re not the owner of the business. We as a professionals realize that we must protect those assets to keep the company profitable, which in turn insures that; your employees have a job (and so do we).

Trust but verify! I am not saying that you should always be watching over employees shoulder. A healthy work environment gives employees the ability to grow and do express their own style. But that doesn’t mean that we just walk away and let them run loose either. People want a structured work environment. They want to know what they should and should not do and how to do it.

So what do you do? Here is an example; a cashier is checking their drawer in for the end of their shift. They count down the cash, checks, and charges. You need to verify it by recounting all or at least some of it, like the cash. When they say to you “I just did that” you reply, “ It looks like you did a great job to, it is accurate, thank you and good work”.

As a professional you cannot use personal trust in a business environment unless a frequent corporate fraud investigation is your favorite thing.

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