Different people like attorneys, lawyers, corporate leaders, those seeking judgment debtors, those seeking collections, insurers, and bankers may hire private detectives and investigators. These investigators must cater to their clients’ varied needs in detective work. Continue reading Work of Private Detectives and Investigators Vital to Decision-Making
Bankruptcy is a chance for underwater debtors to start from scratch. However, hidden assets make it complicated.
The Department of Justice estimates that 1 in 10 bankruptcy filings involve at least one kind of fraud, like concealment of assets. There are plenty of ways to hide assets, from misidentifying the item (i.e. mislabeling a diamond as a “cubic zirconia,” says one trustee) to keeping mum about other assets. The thought is tempting, especially in a volatile economy.
Scruggs v. Carrier is an important Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) abuse case employers must study. It mainly tackles a key term in the FMLA: “honest suspicion.”
Darryl Scruggs, an employee of a Carrier plant in Indianapolis, filed leaves between 2004 and 2007, saying that he needed to assist his mother’s move to a nursing home. In 2006, Carrier stepped up its efforts to mitigate FMLA abuse by employees, and part of these efforts was to hire a private investigations company to conduct surveillance on nearly three dozen workers suspected of FMLA abuse, including Scruggs. Court documents showed that Scruggs never left the house when he filed for a leave supposedly to be with his mother at the nursing home.
According to the Global Retail Theft Barometer, employee theft and fraud in the form of inventory shrinkage and shoplifting cost U.S. shop owners a whopping $42 billion annually. The Department of Justice supports this statement by confirming that one-third of all employees commit a certain degree of employee theft.
No business is immune to “insider threats” so long as the temptation of money and entitlement exist. With proper employment theft and fraud solutions, however, they can be prevented, if not eliminated.
Employees who have taken ill or have been injured due to work-related causes deserve every recourse to their company’s workers’ compensation. Employers themselves also have the right to look into the veracity of the claims and obtain evidence. Nicole Fallon of Business News Daily said that, in many cases, employers are alerted that a worker compensation scam may be in the offing when there are inconsequential pieces of evidence that turn out to be telling after all.
An employee is entitled to a worker’s compensation when he or she has been injured on the job or has become ill from work-related issues. Being one of the more altruistic and fair provisions for employees as mandated by the law, it has, however, long been acknowledged as a plan susceptible to spurious claims. Citing a PBS Frontline report, the Daily Finance reiterated how, despite a drop in worker compensation claims in the past couple of decades, up to 2% of the claims filed have turned out “fraudulent.”
Private investigation firms such as Phenix Investigations, Inc. are called upon to conduct asset investigation for a wide variety of reasons such as an ongoing litigation between a creditor and debtor, as well as to build leverage during the negotiation stage of a case to see if it’s worth filing.
The Case of Caesars Entertainment
One particular case in which the services of an asset investigator were deemed necessary was the recent probe on Caesars Entertainment. On January 15, 2015, the casino giant filed for bankruptcy and declared itself $12 billion in debt. However, during what was supposed to be a routine license renewal hearing last March 27, it was discovered that the company cut off pension payments to 63 former Caesars employees.
Employees with serious medical conditions or are tending to indisposed family members are granted a work time-off through the Family and Medical Leave (FMLA) certification from their employers. The FMLA allows an employee to take an unpaid 12-week leave within a 12-month working year without prejudice or harm to the employee’s tenure.
Utilizing the FMLA leave usually suggests an urgent matter or sensitive situation that would most likely affect the employee’s work performance. Sometimes, however, it cannot be helped that questions from the employer arise, especially when there is a continued, intermittent FMLA leave. To confirm whether or not there is reasonable basis for the employee’s availing of the leave, employers may employ an experienced surveillance investigator to look at possible fraud cases. To protect the employer from retaliatory claims, an honest or valid suspicion has to be presented before the probe.