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Faces of Fraud: Cases and Lessons from a Life Fighting Fraudsters by Martin T. Biegelman

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Chapter 6

Fraud Can Be Murder

Early in my career I was told that fraudsters are only interested in separating victims from their money and that violence is not something I needed to worry about. Fraudsters are supposedly too smart to ever rob a bank and face a life sentence in prison when they could steal far more from schemes and scams and only face a fraction of the jail time. Violence is left to blue collar criminals, drug dealers, and street thugs. The premise that fraud is a nonviolent crime made sense when I was young and inexperienced. But that premise was quickly proven wrong as I learned firsthand that even fraudsters can commit violent and harmful acts, including murder.

When you investigate fraudsters, you have a dramatic impact on their lives. Your investigation may result in their being sentenced to prison and losing their freedom, their families, and more. You just never know how a person will react under those life-changing circumstances. I have seen people so devastated by their involvement in fraud and subsequent discovery that they attempted suicide, and others who succeeded in committing suicide. A senior director at a global technology company ingested antifreeze after his $9 million software theft and fraud scheme were discovered and he was arrested; he died several days after drinking the lethal liquid.

Be prepared for the unexpected, because you never know what else that fraudster may be involved in. You may think you are just conducting an interview of a ...

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