We saw earlier in this Chapter that fraud investigations should be kept confidential, especially in their early stages. However, it is impossible in practice to maintain the pretence of “business as usual” internally once the suspect and any co-conspirators have been suspended from work and frog-marched off the premises. Questions will be asked, as a matter of course. Equally, the organisation will have no control over the publicity that any legal actions resulting from the investigation attract in either the local or the national press or any other media.
These are difficult areas for directors and managers. In practice it is often easier to handle the external communications than it is to deal with what is happening within the organisation in terms of rumours and gossip. Each case is different of course, but set out below are a number of essential pointers to be aware of if the communication issues are to be dealt with effectively.
Media Contingency Planning
Fraud is sexy. It has always attracted a lot of media attention and no doubt it always will. Directors and managers should recognise this and ensure that there is a media contingency plan in place in their organisation as soon as any large-scale fraud investigation is started. Large businesses will have their own public relations experts and press officers. The appropriate individuals need to be drafted in to help with this aspect of the investigation. For smaller organisations, the senior ...