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Investigative Techniques in Complex Financial Crimes, 2nd ed.

Investigative Techniques in Complex Financial Crimes, Second Edition

Author: W. Michael Kramer

Publisher: National Institute on Economic Crime, 1785

Massachusetts AVenue, NW, Fourth Floor, Washington, DC 20036; 1989, 338 pages, softback: $29.95

Reviewer: Andrew B. Doppelt, CPP; National Director, Special Investigations Group, Laventhol & Horwath, Chicago, IL; Member of the ASIS Standing Committee on Investigations

The author intends this manual to "be a practical guide for financial

investigators and prosecutors in conducting complex white-collar investigations." In that goal he has succeeded.

This manual is a refernce text divided into three parts: interviewing, interrogation, and impeachment; tracing illicit financial transactions; and case strategy and tactics. Four appendices, which contain sample forms and document tracers, hypothetical case problems, an information index, and a reprint of an IRS document titled "Accounting for the Investigator," are also supplied.

Complex financial and white-collar investigations rarely uncover a smoking gun. Investigating financial and white-collar crimes is often painstaking and sometimes even boring. Such investigations have been likened to a gigantic jigsaw puzzle, where individual pieces of evidence are smaller and in larger quantity than in a typical nonfinancial investigation. The object for the investigator and prosecutor is to find and put together enough pieces of a puzzle so that a prosecutor, corporate executive, or jury can see enough to know what the entire picture looks like.

Kramer's text is thorough and detailed, but even he admits in his preface that "no single text can cover every conceivable situation that may arise in the financial investigation." Recognizing this limitation, Kramer stays on target within the boundaries of the three topics. Because of the uniqueness and difficulty of financial investigations, the experience, tenacity, and knowledge of the investigator is even more critical than in other situations.

Kramer's manual is written as a reinforcement reference for the experienced financial and white-collar crime investigator. Part I on interviewing, interrogation, and impeachment starts with the basics and progresses to more complex issues and techniques. It is an excellent reference for any investigator. A novice would probably find the material, particularly Part II on tracing illicit financial transactions and Part III on case strategy and tactics, too complex.

I disagree with the author's contention that the target of an investigation should always be interviewed last or near the end of the investigative process. Many financial investigators, including special agents in the IRS Criminal Investigation Division, believe that in most cases the target should be interviewed near teh beginning of an investigation so that the investigator can elicit investigative leads, admissions against interest, evidence of intent, and anticipated defenses, all of which are more likely to be obtained before the target becomes aware of the full scope of the investigation.

Kramer's manual is often not easy to read, as it continually refers to exhibits contained in the apendices in the back of the book. An experienced investigator with knowledge of the documents and information in the appendices would probably find the manual much easier to follow than an inexperienced investigator, who would probably have to refer continually to the exhibits.

The manual is comprehensive and up to date on financial transactions and is an excellent reference and training primer, particularly for investigators involved in tracing illicit transactions. It clearly explains the most common schemes used to hide illegally gained or illicit funds. The case examples also are interesting, current, and a good reference -- particularly for prosecutors.

Kramer has succeeded in his intention and put together a valuable reference text every financial and whitecollar crime investigator and prosecutor should use.
COPYRIGHT 1990 American Society for Industrial Security
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Doppelt, Andrew B.
Publication:Security Management
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Sep 1, 1990
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