computer forensics

A Canadian national retail chain noticed something odd was going on, when someone contacted them about new shipping information. In the purchasing department, the regular contact person was not answering the phone for several weeks running. Later, it turned out that the employee left on a 2-week vacation, which is why management started asking questions.

by ( - September 2012)


A Canadian national retail chain noticed something odd was going on, when someone contacted them about new shipping information. In the purchasing department, the regular contact person was not answering the phone for several weeks running. Later, it turned out that the employee left on a 2-week vacation, which is why management started asking questions.

While still employed by this retail chain, an employee decided to start his own company. He built a very large website, selling all types of china and housewares. He made it look as though his headquarters was in China, where virtually all goods today are made today. And, this new company became a supplier to the national retail chain.

Digital Wyzdom was called to investigate. One of the tactics the investigative team used was a sting operation. It did not take the investigators long to learn that this “closet entrepreneur” had been running a side business for three years already. Not only was this a conflict of interest for the employee in the purchasing department, the bids for various contracts were fixed, locking out his competitors.

One of the keys to the puzzle was a former employee, a woman, who worked for this “closet entrepreneur” for several years while also carrying on an affair with him. When she discovered that her paramour was actually running an illegal purchasing operation, he fired her. This happened more than a year before Digital Wyzdom was called in to investigate. When contacted by Digital Wyzdom, she quite willingly cooperated with ample details.

“Malfeasance and sexual escapades frequently turn up together in our investigations,” says Daniel Tobok, president of Digital Wyzdom. Was this a relatively new employee? “No, he had been with the retail chain for 14 years,” says Tobok. Was this a disgruntled employee? “No, not really. He was actually the Vice President of Purchasing at the retail chain, he was 51 years old, and had an MBA,” says Tobok.

Was this Vice President in financial trouble? “No, not really. He just wanted to make money,” says Tobok. He added that the Vice President sold between $500,000 and $800,000 of goods annually, enjoying about a 50 per cent profit margin on the products he sold through his business to the national retail chain.

“He created an impressive website, pretended that he was based in China, and communicated solely over email. So, it was easy to look like a big player. No one ever met him in person and he was a very clever guy,” says Tobok. The Vice President was fired with cause. He and the national retail chain reached an agreement to pay back monies owed to the company.

For more information, or for reporters on deadline, please contact Jana Schilder, partner at First Principles Communication, at: Jana@JanaSchilder.com, mobile (416) 831-9154.
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