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Books: Fraud-related interviewing

Co-authors Don Rabon and Tanya Chapman are both investigators-turned-educators at the North Carolina Justice Academy in Hendersonville, NC. Together or individually they have written a number of books on investigative interviewing, particularly from the fraud/law enforcement perspective. Their recent book, Fraud-Related Interviewing, from Carolina Academic Press, benefits greatly from this training and education background.


October 25, 2010
By Derek Knights

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Right from the start, the authors spell out the value of competent investigative interviewing by pointing out the following:

“Here is fraud reality 101: the investigation or audit can produce a preponderance of evidence but no admission of guilt; the prosecution may be unwilling to take the case… Conversely, the case may not have involved a great deal of evidence but an admission was obtained! … the prosecution would be much more receptive…”

How does this apply in the business world? Merely substitute human resources or line management for “prosecution” in the above quote — the principles are still the same. And is this a valuable, or at least helpful book, particularly in the business world?  A resounding yes. A confession is a big deal. And a confession is usually obtained through interviewing.

But this is not a book to read, it’s a book to experience. It’s laid out as a college-level course, and herein lay the challenges for anyone other than a dedicated and determined reader. Put simply, readers have to think — and think hard — engage themselves, and participate in the book as they would participate in a class.

The book has eight chapters, each with “Inquiry Questions”, “Application Questions,” chapter take-aways and skills-enhancement exercises, etc. Sure, there are some interesting case studies, and interviewing examples, but they form the basis for the lessons that the reader must develop and draw upon. This can be very difficult, in the absence of a teacher or instructor — if you already have a mentor or partner in this industry, make sure he or she reads this book with you.

These challenges also create a bit of a dilemma for the less-experienced interviewer, particularly if there is no partner or mentor. What if what one draws from the self-participation are bad habits or misinterpretations? The interviewer-student might not get all there is to glean from this book.
 
Chapter 8 is a little different from the others; basically, it is a little philosophical and context setting that’s very helpful. Most fraud investigators are familiar with Donald Cressey’s Fraud Triangle: Motive/Pressure — Opportunity — Rationalization. This chapter polishes this into a diamond — the Fraud Diamond, adding Capability to these other three. And this is an important addition, because it helps the investigator to look at why two people, with similar opportunities, pressures and sentiments toward the act, have different outcomes. We often think that Controls should be somehow in the triangle…diamond…dodecahedron (maybe, someday) but Capability might actually cover that, too  it’s a timely concept.

It’s probably best that this book be kept away from beginners, but for those of you out there with fraud investigation as a duty, for 20 bucks you really can’t go wrong.

Derek Knights, CPP, CISSP, CFE CIPP/C, PCI is a sub-committee member of the Physical Security Council, ASIS International.


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