An investigation is not always finished business after the collection and dissemination of findings to the client. Fraud investigators are frequently required to provide their discoveries in the court of law, in the pursuit of legal action against the fraudulent party. It is vital that investigators and their staff are proficient at preparing proper documentation for case files to be presented in the court of law.
The first step that is required in preparing a case file is to determine the evidence required to substantiate the investigator’s allegation. It is essential to scrutinise the evidence collected throughout the investigation, and to identify what is appropriate to bring to court. Fraud investigators must ensure that this material is pertinent, factual and supportive of the client’s case. Investigators need to identify every detail necessary to prove their case; just as importantly, they must analyse any potential discrepancies and be able disprove such claims as necessary. This may include re-interviewing any potential witnesses and establishing solid facts. The overall objective is to organise the investigation’s finding and prepare to organise them rationally.
The next step in preparing a case file is to compose an affidavit. The affidavit states the evidence you have gathered to support your case. This will include all relevant evidence that the investigator intends to present to the court. It is customary to partition the contents of the affidavit into paragraphs and number them according to subject matter. It is essential to be precise and succinct in this documentation.
Upon completion of the affidavit, fraud investigators need to address other court forms and other required legal documents. It is important to note that different litigations require different types of legal documents and court forms. Most forms are available through local court clerk offices. Diligence must be paid to these standardised forms, because each type of case contains instructions for filling them out correctly.
Legal proceedings rarely progress without some hiccups along the way. Investigators should work alongside attorneys to prepare a request for document discovery; this should be done in the event that the case becomes complex and protracted. Document discovery seeks to obtain evidence the opposing side intends to use in court so that you can better prepare the client’s case. Identify any material that is likely to be used against you. Note any errors that may be contained in this information. Similarly, investigators must be prepared to provide discovery information to the other side if called upon.
As with any formal documentation, investigators must verify that they are using correct terminology and composition styling. Perhaps obtain assistance from the court if this is a new area of investigation being pursued. Authenticate that the correct names of all parties involved are used in the case file. As always, check the grammar, punctuation and presentation of the documentation to make sure everything is in good order.
Finally, prepare a court bundle after all documents and evidence have been gathered. Create copies and present these to the court and the opposing side in advance of the hearing. Keep at least one copy for personal use.
Case files are likely to be the finishing touches to most fraud investigations. It is important for investigators to pay as much attention to detail to these final touches as they did with the actual investigative process. Working carefully alongside the appropriate legal representation, fraud investigators can validate the hard work and resources put into discovering the truth and enabling the legal system to take its course.