A few weeks ago, a leading property development company based in Melbourne came to Precise Investigation, asking us to follow up on a suspected case of fraud.
Harriet Kilmer, a qualified and highly-experienced bookkeeper from St. Kilda, Melbourne, was employed by Cemtex Construction Pty Ltd to handle the company finances and ensure that all accounts were up to date. Mrs Kilmer was hired in 2014, along with her husband who worked for the company as a plasterer.
Over the following 9 months, Cemtex Construction Pty Ltd saw a steady increase in profits, having pulled in a number of larger clients and successfully completing four high-profile projects in the city centre. However, it wasn’t until the annual review that Harriet’s actions became clear.
Mrs Kilmer was found to have duplicated invoices and transferred the funds directly to her and her husband’s bank accounts, in effect stealing over $180,000 from Cemtex Construction Pty Ltd. As such, Cemtex Construction immediately terminated the couple’s employment and went on to sue them for them for damages exceeding the $180,000 that they had stolen.
Pre-empting this, Harriet and her husband declared bankruptcy and went on to re-mortgage their house, which made it incredibly difficult for the company to reclaim their losses. It was at this point that Cemtex Construction came to Precise Investigation; we were tasked with locating the stolen funds and obtaining the evidence needed for Cemtex Construction to recover them.
After performing a rigorous background check on Mr and Mrs Kilmer, Precise Investigation was able to determine that the couple owned two heritage vehicles that were classified, “by the bank”, as being “nothing but bare shells.”
The two vehicles were stored at a mechanic’s workshop on the Western outskirts of the city and, as it turned out, the owner of the workshop was a longstanding friend of Mr Kilmer.
With this newfound information, Precise Investigation stationed an operative in the area, aware of the fact that Lawrence was, in essence, a bit of a “petrol head.” Little did Mr Kilmer know that his hobbies would lead us straight to the stolen money.
Our operative managed to take several photographs, along with a number of lengthy video clips, presenting Mr Kilmer taking his “shells” for a spin… thereby revealing that the cars were, in fact, far more than just scrap.
The operative at the scene, along with the help of our dedicated support team, was able to uncover enough evidence to prove that Mr and Mrs Kilmer had injected their last remaining funds into two custom-built hot rods, valued at $60,000 and $80,000 respectively.
After presenting the information to Cemtex Construction Pty Ltd, the company was able to recover more than 70% of their losses through the court and have since agreed to incorporate Precise Investigation’s professional background checks into their recruitment process.
Time and time again, Precise Investigation is called upon to investigate cases of potential fraud, corruption and embezzlement, along with a wide range of related employee misconduct and malpractice issues. In the vast majority of these cases, had the employers in question applied a professional background check in the early stages of their recruitment processes, the malicious employees would never have been able to work at the companies. As such, those businesses would not have lost the huge sums of money that were siphoned from their accounts, nor would they have had to spend the thousands of dollars on legal fees and recovery costs.
If you would like to give your company, and your employees or colleagues, an extra layer of protection against corporate fraud, workplace theft and the risk of gross misconduct, then get in touch with Precise Investigation.
Call Precise Investigation today on 1300 856 011 for a professional, Private Investigation Service
No matter where you are in Australia, Precise Investigation can provide the professional assistance you need. We have highly-trained, qualified and dually experienced operatives stationed across the country, regularly servicing the likes of Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Adelaide, Hobart, Brisbane and even the more remote areas of Australia. With a team of dedicated, industry experts behind the scenes, Precise Investigation is sure to provide you with the skill, discretion and integrity you need to run a successful investigation.
If you would like to explore our range of services in more detail, you can find a clear and concise list of our most frequently requested services on our homepage, or by clicking here. From there, you can easily navigate over to our background checks and discover exactly what it is that we do to ensure the most accurate results, each and every time.
Please note: All names, locations and assumed identities of the individuals, companies and third-parties described in this article have been changed to protect those involved.
Image credit – Thank you Viktor Hanacek