Chapter 1

The lessons worth learning from past mistakes

By three methods, we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.

Confucius 559–471 BC


Any wisdom that I have around fraud investigation has come from a combination of reflection and experience. I’m hoping to spare you some of the more painful and bitter parts of experience by setting out case studies where reflection and imitation will be sufficient to digest the lessons to be learned.

I could almost have entitled this book ‘The successful fraudster’s casebook’, except that nearly every fraudster covered here was eventually unearthed. However, many of them got away with it for years and enjoyed a successful career until their eventual exposure. In the two major bribery cases I’ve covered, one corrupt individual did successfully get away with it throughout his employment. He was only brought to justice some five years after his retirement and even then, although he served a term in Ford Open Prison, he never did reveal where he had salted away most of his ill-gotten gains and has continued to live off the fruits of his corruption to this day.

For my own investigations covered in this book, I have deliberately picked several cases where matters were not as clear or as straightforward as I would have wished during the investigation. They are all cases ...

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