1. Industry
Send to a Friend via Email

Your suggestion is on its way!

An email with a link to:


was emailed to:

Thanks for sharing About.com with others!

Your First Steps Towards a Successful Investigation


You've discovered that someone is embezzling from your company? Do you call law enforcement? Fire the suspect?

In an article in Risk Management, G. Michael Bellinger recommended a three-step approach that may be more effective in recovering lost assets and protecting your company's image.

  • Immediately launch an internal investigation
  • Make it a goal to obtain a confession using proper, legal interrogation techniques
  • Develop a program for restitution

This measured, calculated response makes more sense than a forceful, knee-jerk reaction. You can read the complete Risk Management article here.

But what happens if, in the course of your investigation, you find two witnesses with conflicting testimony? This scenario can easily derail your investigation, unless you have a clear plan for getting to the truth.

In an article in Business Management Daily, Louis DiLorenzo offered three practical steps that you can use to free up the conflicting witness logjam and get your investigation moving again.

  • Recognize your own biases and try to maintain a calm, objective mindset.
  • Take down notes immediately after the witness has left the room. These notes should reflect observations - particularly non-verbal cues. At this stage, it's still way to early for conclusions.
  • Bring in another investigator. Not only will a second person be helpful in taking notes, but a second set of observations and impressions will help you evaluate your own.

In addition to these tips, DiLorenzo also offers four factors that you can use to assess witness credibility.

  • Demeanor
  • Consistency
  • Chronology
  • Past History and Motivations

When observing witness demeanor, notice indicators such as cooperativeness, hostility, and nervousness. Preparing charts that focus on the timing of events recounted by witnesses will help you to compare accounts given by others and evaluate consistency. Physical evidence such as expense reports and emails can become valuable tools for establishing a chronology of events. Finally, delving into the past history and possible motivations of your witnesses will help you determine if anyone had reason to lie during questioning.

You can read Louis DiLorenzo's full article here.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.