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Selections From Our Case Files

Corporate Espionage

 

A manufacturing company was wonderig why their sales numbers were dropping sharply for no apparent reason. They recently had their website hacked and were experiencing site outages and defacements of the pages. They had received a tip from a customer that something was not right.

 

Our investigation determined that a key executive had left just prior to the beginning of the downturn in orders. Further forensic examination of several computers of key people uncovered a spyware program which was capturing passwords, emails and other information. This was being forwarded automatically to an outside email. We traced this to the former executive who was now soliciting the company’s customers using stolen data for his new competing company.

Chips and Price Dips

 

A major semiconductor manufacturer in Asia and a principal distributor in the US were involved in a contract dispute concerning a component price protection agreement. The critical evidence related to recovering emails and shipping documents between the two organizations. The semiconductor company's line management claimed that there was never an agreement and sued for $26 million in damages for unpaid inventory.

 

Our investigation was able to uncover corroborating evidence from a variety of sources, which proved the client’s assertion of a prior price protection agreement.

 

The case was decided in favor of the Client/defendant. The claim for $26 million was set aside and punitive damages of $6.7 million were awarded to our client.

Can You Hear Me Now?

 

A manufacturer of high-end telephone switching equipment was concerned about “gray market” sales by a reseller in reconditioned systems.

 

They had discovered that the reseller was reverse engineering and reinstalling the manufacturer's copyrighted software on the systems they sold.

 

Forensic images were made of the hard drives in the computerized phone switches, which uncovered evidence of the software reverse engineering operation.

 

During our analysis we were able to use digital fingerprinting techniques to identify and prove that copyrighted intellectual property was being misappropriated and resold by this gray market operation. Our client was granted an injunction against the reseller and awarded damages.

Scam to the Beat

 

Music Distribution Company was defrauding their investors and bank on conditional line of credit. They devised an elaborate scheme of manipulating inventory and creating phony sales that would allow them to draw against their credit lines and defraud private investor funds.

 

They were planning to make off with the funds through bogus shell companies before declaring bankruptcy. Our investigation uncovered methods, individuals and companies involved in this scam.

No Good Deed Shall Go Unpunished

 

A young Medical Services Software Company had gotten themselves into a complex problem with a larger company in their market. The overzealous actions of an employee researching a potential win-win partnership opportunity were misinterpreted as hacking and Intellectual Property theft. Suddenly they were facing litigation with statutory per incident damages totaling over $20 million. This was well above their insurance coverage limits and threatened to put them out of business.

 

We worked with the legal defense team to help clarify the benign intent of the employee’s actions and to redefine the “incident count” to a fraction of the plaintiff’s claim. As a result, the potential damages exposure was reduced to a fraction of the original and a final settlement was agreed upon. The company was able to sruvive this incident and continue to grow.

Overseas Extortion Ring

 

Investigated allegations of kickbacks and bribery in the Asian division of an international electronics corporation.

 

As a result of the investigation, we identified several management level employees who were enjoying a lifestyle well beyond their means. We uncovered information showing that Distribution partners were being required to make cash payments and award contracts for promotional services that were never really performed in exchange for sales territory rights.

 

Payments meant for distribution companies were being redirected to shell companies controlled by several senior management officials. The fraud had gone unchecked for over 2 years and was damaging relationships in Asia, as well as, resulting in several million dollars illicit gain to the ringleaders.

 

The Client gained vital information needed to stop the misdirection of funds, dismantle the internal fraud ring and begin to repair damage done to its business presence in the region.

Ex-Employees Get Pay Raises

 

A packaging company had received a tip that something was wrong in payroll at one of its divisions. Forensic images of several computers were made discretely and examined. It was revealed that a number of ex-employees were not only still receiving paychecks, but had actually gotten raises since their apparent departure.

 

Our investigative work discovered that the HR director abused her ability to approve time cards and hand out payroll checks. She passed the checks on to accomplices who later cashed them. Bank account numbers and other information were found to enable the company to locate the stolen funds, prosecute the individuals, and rethink the restructuring of their payroll control systems.

Digital Forgery

 

The key element of proof in a business contract dispute revolved around the legitimacy of a document having been created before a certain date and time.

 

The defendants claimed that notices required by their contract had been sent on time but were been lost in transit. They offered proof in the form of a "copy" of the original document showing all the right dates and times printed on it.

 

However, our investigation was able to locate the original document on their computers that showed how they had manipulated an earlier document by adding new information after the due date and presented that as a copy of the original. Game Over.

Selling Empty Boxes For Millions and Banking Fraud

 

A multi-company fraud conspiracy was bilking millions of dollars from several of the largest banks in the country. At the center of the conspiracy was a computer products distributor who had decided that it was quicker and easier to get the money if they just pretended to sell the products.

 

So for a couple years they had been running an elaborate fraud scheme where products were purchased, removed from their boxes and resold. Later, the boxes were re-shrink-wrapped and “sold” amongst a small group of sales and distribution companies. Each one in turn sold to the next one in line.

 

Banks were then solicited by each for $10-20 million in lines of credit to finance their receivables. The group used each other to provide glowing trade references to the banks. Check kiting, blackmail and extortion were in the mix for good measure as money was transferred overseas to shell companies.

 

Our investigation helped unravel the schemes and helped the banks stop their losses and prosecute the fraudsters.

Digital Kung-Fu

 

Analysis uncovered evidence of attempts to conceal and mislead investigators as to the true usage and contents of several computers in an Intellectual Property rights case between an established manufacturer of sophisticated design and testing systems used by engineers.

 

When several former employees left and started a competing company it was suspected that they took trade secrets information with them to create their new product.

 

Our adversaries in this case were highly technically skilled and used a wide assortment of "hacker tricks" in an attempt to disguise and hide the true activities on their computer systems. However, in the end we were able to assemble the clues needed and uncover the true picture.