When it's time to conduct a fraud investigation interview, it doesn't hurt to channel your inner detective. Solid, thorough investigation interviews can make or break an investigation. Interviews require a lot more than asking good questions. To get the most out of your fraud investigation interviews, remember these 5 important steps:
Before starting anything, put together a list of goals. Identifying goals helps shape investigation interviews and allows you to put things in perspective. Goals will vary with each interview, but should be based on these primary objectives:
Kick off the interview with some basic background questions to gauge the individual's reactions. The person you are interviewing is probably going to be uncomfortable regardless of how "welcome" you try to make the interview environment. By asking them questions related to their history at the company and the responsibilities of their position, you'll get a better idea of their reactions and natural demeanor. Some background questions worth asking in a fraud investigation interview:
*Probe deeper and ask specifics about how certain tasks are carried out- you should have gone over this information yourself before the interview, but hearing it from them adds to the investigation.
Documents, electronic files, expense reports and other evidence should be brought into the interview for reference. In the article "Anatomy of an Interview," by Jim Marasco of StoneBridge Business Partners, Marasco writes:
"The most efficient and productive interviews are accomplished by advanced preparation. Questions should be prepared ahead of time along with evidential material that will be introduced during the interview. Having documents at your fingertips will move things along more quickly and offer the impression that your case is organized and solid."
Do some digging to find out more about the people you're interviewing. Reviewing personnel history of the potential interviewees will help clarify relationships and potential biases. This might also help you piece together multiple person involvement in the fraud scheme.
Sometimes the facts involved in a fraud investigation can be a bit complicated. Always ask for clarification. Repeating statements and clarifying the facts are useful tips for making sure you've understood the interviewee's story. You can't afford to misinterpret or misunderstand what an interviewee is trying to say- it'll ruin your investigation. Re-confirm their statements throughout the investigation interview, and at the end, have them sign your notes, stating that the statements are true and understood.