Expert Fraud Investigation: A Step-by-Step Guide / Edition 1

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Expert Fraud Investigation

A Step-by-Step Guide

A sharp, savvy examination of financial fraud, Expert Fraud Investigation: A Step-by-Step Guide is one of the few books to take the leap from theoretical discussion to the actual nuts and bolts of performing an investigation. Fraud expert Tracy Coenen offers an insider look at many of the most common types of fraud cases and points out some of the best methods for analyzing the books and records to search for proof of fraud.

An invaluable tool to help professionals understand how financial fraud occurs in an organization and what to do when it is found or suspected, all the guidance needed to uncover corporate fraud is here, from the point of opening an investigation, selecting a team, through the entire investigative process, including:

  • The most common fraud schemes
  • The difference between audits and investigations
  • Effectively managing the investigation
  • Looking for fraud in little things
  • Using public and private records in investigations
  • Getting creative as a fraud investigator
  • Uncovering asset misappropriation schemes, financial statement fraud, corruption schemes, and external fraud schemes
  • How to prevent fraud from happening in the first place

Does your organization need to conduct a fraud investigation? Who needs to be involved? Expert Fraud Investigation gives you access to all the necessary background on fraud, the various types of fraud investigations, as well as the legalities involved. Making a difficult undertaking more manageable, this essential book arms you with the tools to take your organization step by step through the process of an effective fraud investigation.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780470387962
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 2/9/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 1,304,665
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE is a fraud expert and President of Sequence Inc., a forensic accounting firm with offices in Milwaukee and Chicago. She conducts financial investigations for private and public companies, reports her findings to executives and boards of directors, and testifies in court as an expert witness. She has provided fraud-related commentary to television and print media. Her commentary has been featured on NBC news and on CNBC's personal finance show, On the Money, and her comments have been printed in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today,,, and, among others. Tracy writes articles on fraud for national business publications including Fraud Magazine.

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Table of Contents



Chapter 1: Finding Fraud.

Signs of Fraud.

Looking for Suspects.

Evaluating Fraud Tips.

Should You Investigate?

Confronting Suspects.

Skills of a Fraud Investigator.

Differences between Audits and Investigations.

Conducting a Fraud Investigation.


Chapter 2: Beginning the Investigation.

Assessing the Engagement.

Making Recommendations.

Budgeting and Cost Control.


Billing Practices.

Engagement Letters.

Chapter 3: Managing the Case.

Assembling the Team: Where to Start.

Assembling the Team: Company Insiders.

Assembling the Team: Key Participants.

Assembling the Team: Outside Consultants.

Importance of Credentials.

Management and Supervision of Staff.

Work Programs and Checklists.

Document Management.

Preserving Evidence.

File Maintenance.

Investigative Software.

Professional Standards.

When to Stop Investigating.

Chapter 4: Searching for Fraud.

Analytical Review.

Key Financial Ratios.

Write-offs, Adjustments, and Miscellaneous.

Manual Disbursements.

What about Financial Statement Audits?

Looking for Fraud in Little Things.

Chapter 5: Sources of Information.

Who Acquires Information.

Internal Records.

Private Records.

Public Records.

The Internet and Search Engines.

Chapter 6: Investigative Techniques.

Corporate Background Checks.

Individual Background Checks.

Searching for Friends, Family, and Associates.


Digital Data Analysis.

Computer Forensics.

Interviewing Witnesses and Suspects.

Confirmation with Customers and Vendors.

Creativity and the Fraud Investigator.

Chapter 7: Investigation of Asset Misappropriation Schemes.

Cash Receipts Schemes.

Disbursement Schemes.

Noncash Schemes.

Chapter 8: Investigation of Financial Statement Fraud.

Revenue Overstatement.

Channel Stuffing.


Asset Overstatement.

Liability and Expense Understatement.

Reserve Manipulation.

Misrepresentation or Omission of Information.

Improper Recording of Mergers and Acquisitions.

Off-Balance-Sheet Items.

Accounting Involves Judgment and Estimates.

Earnings Management.


Chapter 9: Investigation of Corruption Schemes.



Extortion and Conflict of Interest.

Related-Party Transactions.

Money Laundering.

Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

Prevention and Detection.


Chapter 10: Investigation of External Fraud Schemes.

Corporate Espionage.

Investment Schemes.

Pyramid or Ponzi Schemes.

Securities Fraud.

Hidden Income or Assets.

Insurance Fraud.

Bankruptcy Fraud.


Chapter 11: Reporting and Litigation.

Stick to the Facts.

Keep it Simple.

Background Information.

Investigation Procedures.



Draft Reports.

Unfavorable Opinions.

Follow-up to the Fraud Investigator's Work.

Being an Expert Witness.

Preparing for Testimony.

Deposition Testimony.

Trial Testimony.


Chapter 12: Other Issues.

Moving Forward as a Company.

Preventing Future Frauds.

Marketing a Fraud Investigation Practice.

Competing with Other Firms.

Conducting a Global Investigation.

Professional Liability Issues.

Reducing Fraud with Investigations.




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