Insight

In forensic investigations, follow the data first

May 2019
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It’s often said that the most effective way to conduct an investigation is to follow the money. When it comes to forensic investigations, we’d argue that the right approach in today’s world is to follow the data.

Forensic investigators are often the key to litigation and regulatory investigations as well as examining alleged wrongdoing, including money laundering issues, antitrust and competition disputes, financial reporting fraud and asset misappropriation. The traditional approach to forensic investigations typically involves independent teams reviewing separate data sets. Accountants examine financial records and databases, known as “structured data,” and look for evidence that will assist with legal review. Lawyers separately review “unstructured data” – emails, hard copy documents, chats, MS Word documents and PDFs – using the indicators defined on the forensic side to guide their investigation. Together, the unstructured and structured data provide the most complete picture of the events that have transpired. Unstructured data supplies qualitative insights and structured data uncovers quantitative evidence.

This article originally appeared in Corporate Counsel Business Journal.

 

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