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Fraud Investigation Role Analysis

Info: 2017 words (8 pages) Essay
Published: 26th Jul 2018 in Criminology

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Discuss how your learning from the course can be applied to your current role within your organisation and how it may benefit both you and the effective investigation of fraud.

The essay would critically review the learning undertaken in the course and how it is applicable to my existing role as an officer within the counter fraud and money laundering team in a law enforcing agency in Middle East. The emphasis is on the way that learning would be beneficial for myself and the organisation through increased effectiveness in conducting the fraud, with a specific reference to the principles of ethical investigation, attaining and investigative mindset, achieving a knowledge base with respect to the relevant legislation and procedure, considerations for the golden hour and the usefulness of decision-making process as well as recording of decisions.

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According to the Code of Practice to the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996 (CPIA), a criminal investigation is an investigation undertaken by police officers with an attempt to establish if a person should be charged with an offence, or if the individual charged is guilty of it. Ethics and ethical investigation is increasingly important when investigating money laundering. Devery (2010) argues that criminal investigations attract considerable attention and interest from the public, which is attributed to the coverage given by the media to criminal behaviour and the crime committed but also as a result of the effect that crime has on those affected, as well as the wider communities and individuals impacted. The media and societal interest has increased over time, as technological advancements and proliferation of social media has led to heightened interest from the general public (Goldsmith, 2015).

This means that money laundering investigators have responsibility to ensure that they undertake the investigations in a professional and ethical manner, which would assist in developing and maintaining the public confidence. Therefore, there is a need to conduct an investigation with common sense whilst upholding integrity at all times and not engage in any discriminatory or disproportionate behaviour that could result in the risk of losing cooperation and support of the stakeholders involved. This is consistent with the conclusion of Verhage (2011) that an ethical and professional approach to investigation not only positively impacts the reputation of the organisation but the officer too, leading to a positive impact on the victim and the wider community.

When investigating the money laundering activity, it is important that I maintain an investigative mindset. The mindset refers to the attitude or state of mind, which is adopted by the investigators and subsequently could be developed over time through the experience and expertise developed in a profession. It takes into consideration a range of principles that should be applied during investigation, which include gaining an understanding of the sources underlying the material uncovered, adequate planning and preparation, appropriate examination of the resources, collection and collation of records and evaluation of the information and investigation.

In the context of money laundering investigations, whilst reviewing the various transactions and associated parties as well developing an assessment of the different transactions to discover potential money laundering, the investigative mindset would involve maintaining professional skepticism and applying judgment to the different transactions and their underlying rationale.

The professional services firm Ernst & Young states that in the anti-money laundering compliance investigation, the heightened level of judgment needed through the process becomes more pertinent, as it is only in a few situations that the investigation follows a straightforward procedure (Ernst & Young, 2016). Therefore, an investigative mindset is critical because it allows money laundering investigator to ascertain the nature of transactions reviewed, utilizing the judgment to assess the direction that the research should undertake and the relevant parties/ stakeholders that need additional review. Maintenance of investigative mindset also enables the researcher to make the most of the scarce available organisational resources and consequently maximise the efficiency and effectiveness of the money laundering investigation procedure.

An investigator should possess a detailed knowledge base in relation to the legislation and procedures that are relevant in their profession. This means that I need to have a detailed knowledge of anti-money laundering (AML) regulations that are applicable not only at the regional level in Gulf but also at the international level, given the presence of global financial institutions and corporations in the region. It would involve a comprehensive understanding of AML and combating terrorist financing (CTF) legal arrangements, as well as anti-money laundering framework applicable in the region. Besides a detailed understanding of the AML law in the region, as well as primary and secondary ML offences, I would also need a detailed understanding of the global regulations within ML. This is because the ML laws in Gulf in general are based on the OECD regulations, which would increase my winder understanding of the regulatory environment within money laundering and the potential changes to ML framework in the future.

The importance of knowledge base in ML when operating in Gulf is evident from a recent survey conducted by professional services firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC), which concluded that over 20% of financial service firms have not engaged in AML and CTF risk assessment in the region (PwC, 2016). This increases the importance of possessing a detailed understanding of the relevant regulations and laws when working within the ML team in a law enforcing agency. Moreover, possessing the knowledge and understanding becomes even more critical in the contemporary highly dynamic environment, whereby increasingly sophisticated techniques adopted by those engaging in criminal (money laundering) activities requires greater judgment and professional skepticism on the part of ML investigators such as myself, which would come through possessing and continuously improving the relevant knowledge base with respect to the legislation and procedure.

According to the College of Policing (2016), golden hour refers to the term for the period that is in the immediate aftermath of committing an offence. This is the time when the evidence and material is increasingly available to the investigatory team. This requires a proactive approach to maximising the ability to make the most of golden hour during the investigation, as a proactive approach and positive action during the golden hour minimises the chances that information or material would be lost or not utilised during the investigation. Furthermore, it also maximises the prospects that the material would be admissible in court and consequently facilitate in providing justice.

The key objectives of golden hour that I would serve in my ML role includes securing evidence, identifying those affected by the potential money laundering activity, identifying the suspects involved in such activity and preserving the evidence/scene. PwC (2016) argue that golden hour and undertaking a suitable action requires immediate thinking whereby an investigator needs to take control of the situation. Attending the course has provided me an ability to visualize the scenario and potential situation that I could be faced with in the future and how I could respond more effectively in dealing with such a situation.

For instance, I would take greater control of the situation through securing the relevant evidence, identification and allocation of the resources at my disposal. This exercise has also helped me to consider the different physical, technological, financial and human resources that I have at my disposal in the organisation, which would be useful when making the most of the golden hour considerations.

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As part of the golden hour considerations and in the context of ML investigations in general, the decision making process and the need to record the various decisions is critical. The essence of decision-making is with respect to deciding what needs to be done, deciding the way it should be done and finally rationalizing and recording the decisions. This is consistent with the National Decision Model (NDM) employed by College of Policing, which takes into consideration collection of information and relevant intelligence, assessment of potential threats and subsequent development of strategy to deal with the threats, consideration of power and policy options available, identifying and options and contingencies available and finally taking action as well as reviewing the past events. It is pertinent that Code of Ethics is complied with throughout the decision-making, which reinforces the importance of ethical investigation as discussed earlier in the essay.

By undertaking appropriate decision and recording them appropriately, I would be maximising the prospects of successfully investigating the potential ML activity. This would also assist me considering the different available resources and ultimately utilise them including the different option choices to undertake the best course of action to resolve the ML situation. Recording the decision would keep a clear track of the decision-making, which would be useful if presenting to the senior management or other stakeholders (internal or external).

In conclusion, the essay considered the range of topics covered during the course and their practical application in my workplace, as an officer within the counter fraud and money laundering team in a law enforcing agency in the Middle East. The course has greatly enhanced my knowledge when it comes to undertaking ethical investigation, keeping and maintaining an investigative mindset and the importance of gaining greater knowledge with respect to the legislations and procedures. Furthermore, heightened understanding of the golden hour considerations and decision-making process has meant that I am more confident and aware of the different relevant activities that I would need to undertake when investigating the money laundering activities in my organisation.

References

College of Policing (2016), Investigation process, available at: https://www.app.college.police.uk/app-content/investigations/investigation-process/ (accessed: 21/2/2017)

Devery, C. (2010). Criminal profiling and criminal investigation. Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, 26(4), 393-409.

Ernst & Young (2016), Anti-money laundering compliance, available at: http://www.ey.com/Publication/vwLUAssets/ey-anti-money-laundering-compliance/$FILE/ey-anti-money-laundering-compliance.pdf (accessed: 21/2/2017)

Goldsmith, A. (2015). Disgracebook policing: social media and the rise of police indiscretion. Policing and society, 25(3), 249-267.

PwC (2016), Anti-money laundering, available at: http://www.pwc.com/m1/en/publications/middle-east-economic-crime-survey/anti-money-laundering.html (accessed: 21/2/2017)

Verhage, A. (2011). The anti money laundering complex and the compliance industry. Taylor & Francis.

 

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