Tell Tale Signs of Deceit in Forensic Case Interviews

Forensic investigation interviews are an effective way to determine poor control systems in a business, identify employees who are in a position to act fraudulently and whom may be motivated to de-fraud a business, and ideally to produce a confession from a guilty party. Body language of the interviewee is important and can indicate “tell-tale” signs of deception.  The common perception is to look out for shifting of eyes, but scientific research does not support this as a means to determine truthfulness. Set out below are several indicators which do point to deception and evasiveness by an interviewee:
  • Countering the question with a statement that is true, but does not answer the question
  • Fidgeting either in the seat or with items such as hair or clothing
  • Slightly changing aspects of the statement or story each time it is told
  • Becoming angry with the person asking the question
  • Acting as if he/she does not understand the question
  • Avoiding the meeting and interview altogether because things keeping coming up or the individual is “too busy”
To be effective in the interview, the forensic accountant must first have researched and investigated the underlying data and then identify what their research is telling them.  The interviewer should be clear what questions are to be put to the interviewee and have evidence available to produce in the interview to challenge the interviewee if necessary. Understanding the indicators above combined with proper planning can make interviewing an effective investigation tool.

What questions do you have?

We are happy to help. Please post your comment below or call Paul Leonard, Partner at Cooney Carey, on 01 677 9000. Alternatively, send him an email: pleonard@cooneycarey.ie

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