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Investigator and Fraud Fighter Guidebook: Operation War Stories by Charles E. Piper

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Chapter 6

Summary Reports

“Which ‘he’ are you referring to?”

—Investigative supervisor to subordinate

One objective of this chapter is to provide useful information in a unique format that will assist investigators and fraud fighters write quality summary reports. This chapter should not serve as your sole source on how to write investigative reports. In fact, numerous books describe how to write reports, paragraphs, and basic sentences. Every investigative training academy emphasizes the importance of including answers to the Five Ws: (who, what, when, where, and why) in summary reports (I added how and how much). This chapter provides the author's insight and select tips to consider when writing these reports.

No matter how effective an investigator is at solving wrongdoing and crimes and perhaps getting voluntary truthful confessions from criminals, the case may fall apart if the investigator is unable to communicate investigative activity and findings effectively. Therefore, it is imperative that investigators continually strive to improve their written and oral communication skills.

NOTE: Chapters 11 and 12 provide more guidance for making case presentations and providing testimony.

War Story 6.1

While I was serving as a supervisory detective, an investigator on my team turned in a report for review that was covered with correction fluid and pen-and-ink changes. The investigator had a reputation as a go-getter and always volunteered for extra missions. He always displayed ...

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