NY and Long Island Private Investigators | Radius Investigations, Inc. http://prvteye.com Long Island based Private Investigator firm and national agency of PI's and private detectives. Radius provides 100% confidential services and due diligence in personal, business, or legal investigations in the New York, Long Island, NYC / New York City area, and around the world. Fri, 23 Jun 2017 21:02:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8 http://prvteye.com/website/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/cropped-Radius178x178-50x50.png NY and Long Island Private Investigators | Radius Investigations, Inc. http://prvteye.com 32 32 Why Hiring a Private Investigator for to Verify Google and Social Media Background Checks is a Good Idea http://prvteye.com/why-hiring-a-pi-for-background-checks-is-a-good-idea/ http://prvteye.com/why-hiring-a-pi-for-background-checks-is-a-good-idea/#respond Fri, 23 Jun 2017 18:47:02 +0000 http://prvteye.com/?p=4585

Hiring can be a long and stressful process, but a necessary procedure. Many companies try to cut corners and make it as streamlined as possible, but lose vital details in the process, and set themselves up in a legal minefield.

Businesses need to use a professional background check service


As the internet has grown rapidly comes more accessible information. What once required a set of the Encyclopedia Britannica to answer inquiries, has now become cumbersome door stoppers, its original purpose replaced by Google and Wikipedia. There is an alarming amount of businesses who have deduced that using Google and checking social media accounts is sufficient enough methods in gathering background information on candidates. Only using internet searches to do a background check is like building a house with just a crowbar and a hammer. While these tools can gain some insight, they should be used as supplementary to a professional background check service such as Radius Investigations, who can verify the information you find online.

Why is checking Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google not a sufficient background check?


Privacy settings


While some candidates may be naive and freely post with no filter, many are becoming smarter to hiring agents. 70% of employers report using social media to screen candidates and those who are looking for employment are taking notice. With the right privacy settings, users can hide questionable material from their profile. On the flipside, those who have no privacy settings enabled on an account could be knowingly posting non-controversial content.


Lacks Vital Information


It is no common that someone will be posting about their recent arrest online, (although it does happen, we personally have come across it in our investigations) or their credit and financial information. Going back to the earlier point, candidates can easily fabricate their social media pages to appear desirable to recruiters or withhold information. A professional background check goes beyond the basics and can access criminal, legal records, and financial information.


Inaccurate and Incomplete

To extend on the last point about fabrication, social media pages are not going to necessarily tell you whether the prospect would be a good employee. For example, someone who posts about their pets and hobbies doesn’t tell you whether they are qualified for the position. More importantly, relying on internet searches could end up with you making a critical mistake by screen the wrong account due to similar names.


How a Professional Background Check Resolves these Issues



Professional background checks cover a wide range of facets that can be used in the hiring decision process. Professional background check can include:

  • Driving records
  • Court records
  • Education records
  • Drug test records
  • Criminal records
  • Military records
  • Past employers

These are just a few of the type of records a professional background check service can obtain.

Legal Protections and Liability

Using a professional service can prevent you from unknowingly discriminating someone from hiring or firing based on information gathered from social media or internet inquiries. It also protects you from violating any privacy laws, which are still vague in regards to information on the internet. Private investigators who provide professionals background checks services know how to identify potential legal issues and proceed between your company and themselves to remain in compliance with the law.


Confirmation of Employment History


Getting a professional background check ensures an accurate employment history. Private investigators can not only perform background check services, but have the ability to physically go to the sites or conduct interviews to confirm a candidates employment records.


Convenience and Confidence


Letting a professional service handle your background check procedures can ease a big legal and logistical responsibility. Even doing a basic internet search and social media screening can be time consuming, and the quality of the results are not worth the investment.


Using social media and internet research can be valuable in understanding more about your candidates, but come with the caveats of legalities and no guarantee of accuracy or insight. These methods should be used with caution and taken with a grain of salt in the overall hiring process. Social Media and Google should never be used as a replacement for a professional background check.







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Swipe Left the Fakes: Is an Internet Search Enough to Find the Truth? http://prvteye.com/avoid-online-dating-scammers/ http://prvteye.com/avoid-online-dating-scammers/#respond Mon, 19 Jun 2017 17:29:15 +0000 http://prvteye.com/?p=4455

Many of us have found ourselves on an online dating website, looking for the right match. After what feels like endless swipes or the millionth question answered from match quizzes, (you swear you seen the same questions a thousands times, just worded differently.) you finally found a great profile. You send a message, heart beating fast, hoping this person responds. After what feels like an eternity, they do, you both hit it off, and schedule a date. As the butterflies begin to settle, you realize that something seems a bit off with their profile and interactions. You find their name, do a quick online search, and everything seems fine. Their social media pages are set to private, so it’s hard to find more information. Yet this feeling isn’t going away. Despite feeling troubled, you give the benefit of the doubt, finally meet, and become disheartened as you realize once you’re face to face that they are not who they said they were online.

Unfortunately, this type of situation happens more frequently than you may think. The questions you should ask is “Could anything else have been done to sift out the fakes from the real matches?”

Online Dating: The Facts


Online dating is not going to go away, as over 38% of single adults in the US have tried online dating. With popular dating websites such as eHarmony and Match.com boasting over 17 million and 24.5 million members respectively, and 1 in 5 committed relationships that started online, finding a special someone online has become an ingrained part of our culture in courtship.

While online dating has become more accepted, (59% agree that online dating is a good way to meet someone) fits our digital age and provide convenience, there is a dark underbelly to online dating. People are taking advantage of the autonomy of the internet, at others’ expenses. You may have had that “gut feeling” of something not being right about a match, you are not alone: over half of those who use online dating sites felt that some were misrepresenting themselves online.


Some disturbing trends:


10% of sex offenders use online dating websites

1 in 10 dating profiles are fake (AKA Catfishing)

53% of users lie on their dating profile

These numbers are concerning and could be enough to turn you off from online dating, which is understandable. Whether you want to continue is a personal decision. However, the fact remains that online dating is one the rise and depending on your location, meeting people online may be the most accessible way to find the right match for you.


Are common search methods enough?


As explained in our earlier story, using common search methods, such as social media and Google, can work in finding out about your match, but not only can it miss key information not available to the public, it can become exhausting when you go at it alone. More than likely you are one of the 53% who have dated more than one person at the same time, which means you are conversing with multiple matches.


Is online dating worth it?


Online dating can be rewarding, but incredibly daunting. Fortunately, there are services that can help. Private investigators are moving into the digital realm to help people get peace of mind. Radius Investigations has a team of licensed private investigators that can provide professional and comprehensive background checks on your matches, as well as social media investigations. We have access to databases and resources that are not accessible to the public and won’t pop up through Google. Don’t let negative experiences prevent you from finding the right match: using a professional background check service can give you the peace of mind to move forward.

Don't Fall Victim to Online Dating Scams

Radius Investigations offers comprehensive background checks and social media investigations

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3 Tips to Detect Credit Card Skimmers http://prvteye.com/how-to-detect-credit-card-skimmers/ Tue, 16 May 2017 20:14:47 +0000 http://prvteye.com/?p=3820
ATM-skimming-deviceRecently a Suffolk County gas station found 2 card skimmers at the pumps. Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon case throughout the country. As technology continues to grow, scammers are getting more sophisticated in stealing your credit card information. 27% of adults have been victim to credit card theft in 2016 from using cards in stores. It is important to be informed on how to prevent and report these devices.

What is a card skimmer?

A card skimmer is a device or series of devices (including scanners and cameras) used to steal your card information. Skimming is when there is an additional discreet devices placed on a card reader and/or pinpad, so that when you swipe or insert your card, that device transmits your credit card information to their computer to use at their disposal. These devices usually are placed over the original card scanners and number pads.

Are RFID chips secure from card skimmers?

Just as credit card technology advances, card skimmers are getting smarter. Skimmers now can activate the RFID chip to gather information. With that said, obtaining the information from the RFID chip alone may not be enough. However, when using a card reader skimmer, like in an ATM, they can access the RFID chip, magnetic strip, and using a camera in the card reader to read the CVC code, scammers can get all the information they need to start making fraudulent purchases on your account.

If there is a card skimmer device, will my credit or debit card still be read by the original machine?

These skimmers are designed to sit just above or before the original manufacturer’s card scanner. So your transaction will still go through normally, which is ideal for scammers. By completing a transaction, a scammer can get the information from the magnetic strip, the RFID chip, the CVC security code on the back of your card, and the PIN number for your card.

How can I tell if there are skimming devices?

These devices are designed to appear as innocuous as possible, matching the design of a card reader or ATM, making it difficult to find at first glance. The good news is that there are ways to check if there are devices.
Here are some tips to follow the next time you need to use your card:

1. Check the area where you swipe or insert your card for any adhesive or extra plastic. You can do this by tugging and squeezing the card cover or swiper. The plastic should not be able to move, bend, or shift. A man at a 7-11 in Seaford, NY was able to identify a card skimming device using this method.

2. Check the number pad-does the pad feel flush the machine? Note any “layers” or appearance of an additional number pad on top of the original. Also look under the number pad covers for any cameras or devices facing the number pad. Look carefully-the camera lens can be as small as a screw. Always assume someone is watching you when you complete a transaction: cover your hands as you enter your pin number in case there is a camera.

3. Swipe or Insert the card yourself whenever possible. If an employee needs to swipe your card, watch them carefully for any suspicious behavior. Employees could potentially swipe your card on their own device, or have a skimmer on the register machine.

Most Importantly, if you are unsure about the integrity of a card reader or ATM, follow your gut: Do not use the reader and contact the police, even if you are not completely sure. If you live in NY, you can send a report autonomously through the See Something, Send Something App. If you find a card skimming device, contact the local police immediately. Do not use the card reader. 
Contact Radius Investigations today for a free consultation on how to protect yourself from identity theft at 1-888-698-0077

Have questions?

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Strategies for Identity Theft Protection http://prvteye.com/strategies-for-identity-theft-protection/ Wed, 16 Nov 2016 17:49:16 +0000 http://prvteye.com/?p=3539 As I discussed in my previous blog post, identity theft is one the fastest growing crimes in modern society, and can represent substantial ongoing challenges for individuals who have fallen prey to it.  Many cases of identity theft can start with minor, easily overlooked changes to bank accounts and credit charges. However, if these things are left unaddressed, they can rapidly escalate and ruin lives.


While the threat is widespread, there are steps you can take to reduce your vulnerability to identity theft.


Credit Protection and Personal Protection


A common misconception that many people have is that account-backed credit protection can be enough to counteract the tactics of identity thieves.  However, the truth is that while loan providers and the anti-fraud practices of credit card companies can help customers in credit protection for certain accounts and even regarding specific charges, this protection does not stop or uncover every activity that may occur as a result of an identity theft.


One of the tricks used by identity thieves involves making sporadic and small charges on an existing or new account that may be established in your name.  This can make it very easy to overlook initial suspicious activity, so that by the time more extensive or overt fraudulent activity is detected, the situation may have escalated, and the victim’s personal information, credit score, and finances may already be significantly damaged.


Other schemes used by identity thieves and hackers include the following:

  • Opening up new credit card accounts in their victims’ names, piggy-backing on the victims’ otherwise established credit, and using the new cards, while the victim is left with the bills.
  • Pilfering individuals tax information, filing fraudulent tax returns and claiming false refunds in their victims’ names.
  • “Free-riding” on victims’ health insurance, by stealing their insurance identification information, and receiving treatment under someone else’s coverage – often causing serious complications when the victims try to get treatment for their own health issues.



For this reason, it is always vitally important for individuals to:

  • Safely dispose of any documents with personal information. While identity theft is a crime, it is also important to remember that any trash left on the curb is considered public domain, which means that anyone can claim it.  The use of a personal shredder and the apartment building incinerator are wise choices for protection.
  • Monitor all account activity, no matter how small. Catching the smaller unauthorized charges can lead to the prevention of your alternate identity being fully established.  Any suspicious activity should be reported to the bank, as this can lead to a formal investigation.
  • File a police report. Some lenders will ask that clients do this in order to verify the authenticity of the theft claims.  However, victims are encouraged to file with the local precinct regardless, as this can also help to substantiate the theft claims should criminal charges against the perpetrator become a necessity.
  • Hire a Private Investigator. The use of a private investigator can often help to uncover how wide spread identity theft may range.  This can include exposing any false accounts that have been taken out in your name, where your personal information has been distributed, and can also aid in the recovery of assets that are not protected through credit lenders.
Recent Data Breaches in the News and the Threat of Identity Theft http://prvteye.com/recent-data-breaches-in-the-news-and-the-threat-of-identity-theft/ Mon, 07 Nov 2016 19:05:31 +0000 http://prvteye.com/?p=3534 In recent weeks, there have been news stories of high profile data breaches, in which innocent people’s personal information was made vulnerable, or deliberately accessed, by wrong-doers.  Aside from the Wikileaks issues, probably the most widespread of these data breaches occurred at Yahoo.  The online media company reported that in 2014, somewhere between 200 million and 500 million users had their accounts hacked, and the hackers obtained access to the users’ names, email addresses, addresses, telephone numbers, and hashed passwords.   The hackers attempted to sell a database with these users’ information and claimed that this information was derived from a data breach in 2012.

An article summarizing the Yahoo data beach can be found here:


On a much more local scale, but similarly troubling, the Village of Mastic Beach, in Suffolk County, Long Island, reported that they had been the victim of a different kind of data breach.  A former employee of the Village is alleged to have illegally accessed the personal data of hundreds of Mastic Beach residents, including local political figures and their extended families, for as yet unknown purposes.  This employee (allegedly) obtained this information by fraudulently claiming to have law enforcement credentials in order to access proprietary databases used by law enforcement, lawyers, and private investigators.

I am very proud to announce that a digital forensics’ team from Radius Investigations, led by my partner Matthew Seifer, uncovered the Mastic Beach data breach and have provided evidence of the former employee’s unlawful activity to the property authorities.

The press release from the Village of Mastic Beach disclosing the data breach, and Radius Investigations’ work in uncovering the breach, can be found here:


Although vastly different in scope, these two cases reflect the sad truth that we are all vulnerable to identity theft as a result of criminal activity, whether through weak points in our email systems, our use of credit cards, or the abuse of power by individuals whom we have entrusted with our information.  In fact, identity theft is one the fastest growing crimes in modern society, and can represent substantial ongoing challenges for individuals who have fallen prey to it. One of the larger concerns that people may have is the fact that many cases of identity theft can start with minor, easily overlooked changes to bank accounts and credit charges. However, if these things are left unaddressed, they can rapidly escalate and destroy lives.

In a future blog post, I will detail a number of steps that you can take to reduce your vulnerability to identity theft.  In the meantime, if you believe that you have been victimized by identity thieves, or would like more information about how to protect yourself, call either local law enforcement, or feel free to contact Radius Investigations toll free at 1-888-698-0077, or our office number, 631-351-6473, or email the author of this blog at s.megibow@RadiusInvestigations.com.


Radius Investigations Speaking Engagement – How to Protect Yourself from Computer Fraud http://prvteye.com/radius-investigations-speaking-engagement-how-to-protect-yourself-from-computer-fraud/ Mon, 31 Oct 2016 17:42:44 +0000 http://prvteye.com/?p=3530 We are pleased to announce that the founding partners of Radius Investigations, Matthew Seifer and Sinai Megibow, will be speaking at the next meeting of the Attorneys/Accountants Committee of the Nassau County Bar Association.  Our topic will be:  How to Protect Your Business and Your Clients from Computer Fraud, and How to Recover Forensic Data from Computers and Devices.  The presentation will take place on Wednesday, November 2, 2016 at 12:30 p.m. in the South Dining Room at the Nassau County Bar Association in Mineola.  We look forward to an interesting discussion!

For more information, please contact Radius Investigations at 1-888-698-0077, or email us at m.seifer@RadiusInvestigations.com

MASTIC BEACH VILLAGE – Press Release and Mayoral Statement http://prvteye.com/press-release-and-mayoral-statement/ Mon, 10 Oct 2016 20:24:01 +0000 http://prvteye.com/?p=3519 PRESS RELEASE

SEPTEMBER 27, 2016

More than 21 months ago, the Village Board and Village Attorney received a report alleging that a Village employee had utilized two background‑search firms (Transunion/TLO and Lexis Nexis) with one of the firms’ extensive, law-enforcement databases accessed under the pretense of the employee being the Village’s “Chief of Police”. In the latter case, this enabled the employee to undertake the most invasive searches of individuals’ backgrounds. The searches that were made were not for a legitimate governmental purpose or work-related in any way. Additionally, families, friends and associates of certain individuals were also searched without any lawful or legitimate purpose, including certain Village-Board candidates, sitting Village Trustees and Village employees.

At that time, the Village’s investigation of the searches was taken over by the then-Village Attorney. Approximately two weeks later, the employee in question was separated from service.

Not receiving any further information concerning the extent of these searches and being concerned about the Village’s legal obligations to address these matters, in April 2015, when Mayor Maura P. Spery’s administration took over, the Board engaged the services of two forensic‑investigation companies, one of which focused on computer and IT‑related matters and the other on finance-related matters. The two finance-related reports were completed by Cramer CPA, P.C. in December 2015 and January 2016, and the results of each have been forwarded to appropriate external agencies, including the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office and the New York State Comptroller’s Office. The determinations in these reports included a clear pattern of employees’ theft of services and other financial improprieties.

Due to the complexities of the IT-related information that was uncovered during the nearly 18-month inquiry, the IT-forensic report that was conducted by Radius Investigations was recently finalized. This latest report now enables the Village Board, with the advice and guidance of its attorney, to comply with both federal and state laws requiring the Village to notify in writing all individuals who may have been impacted by these illegal and impermissible searches.

Some of the targets of these illegal searches included elected Village officials, Village employees and Village residents. The former employee who conducted these searches did so using computers connected to both the Village of Mastic Beach and the Village of Northport. Consequently, the Village yesterday mailed out written notices to nearly 500 individuals in accord with the Village’s statutory obligations, including among others New York State Technology Law, Section 208 and New York State General Business Law, Section 899-aa.

Accordingly, the Mastic Beach Village Board, through its attorney, has turned over the IT-forensic investigation report and related information to various state agencies, including the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office and the New York State Attorney General’s Office.

Mayor Maura P. Spery stated, “There have been loud cries over the past 18 months about the nature of the Village’s IT investigation and whether it was even needed. It has been labeled by detractors as merely a ‘witch hunt’. Certainly, the results of the reports the Village has received prove otherwise and make unequivocally clear the serious transgressions that occurred, including the digital violation of individual privacy and confidentiality.” Mayor Spery concluded, “The residents of Mastic Beach Village need to know my administration continues to take very seriously our obligations to provide transparency and accountability to our constituents.”

# # # # #


SEPTEMBER 27, 2016

With the release of the Village’s IT-forensic investigation findings, and after more than 21 months of public vitriol leveled against former Deputy Mayor Bruce Summa and me, we have been fully vindicated.

During the past 21 months, Mr. Summa and I have been publicly accused of seeking to destroy families, committing heinous crimes and abusing our governmental power. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Make no mistake, this is an extremely dark day in the Village of Mastic Beach. Mine and Mr. Summa’s commitment to transparency and accountability has come at a tremendous personal cost not just to us but to our families and friends, many of whom were the subjects of these illegal and invasive searches. Nonetheless, we undertook our elected positions with an unyielding commitment that no individual should ever be afraid of her/his government or fear retribution for expressing one’s fundamental Constitutional right of free expression, even if that expression opposes the current political majority’s viewpoint. I continue to have faith in our system of government and now look to our law-enforcement agencies to hold accountable those who shredded the Constitutional rights of the hundreds and hundreds of innocent victims whose backgrounds were illegally searched and the digital invasion they suffered. Justice demands nothing less.

What is Fraud, and How Does It Appear in the Workplace? http://prvteye.com/what-is-fraud-and-how-does-it-appear-in-the-workplace/ Fri, 23 Sep 2016 18:59:59 +0000 http://prvteye.com/?p=3514 To combat fraud effectively, you first must understand what it is and how it occurs. For our purposes, the definition of fraud from Wikipedia is sufficient:
In law, fraud is deliberate deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain. Fraud is both a civil wrong (i.e., a fraud victim may sue the fraud perpetrator to avoid the fraud and/or recover monetary compensation) and a criminal wrong (i.e., a fraud perpetrator may be prosecuted and imprisoned by governmental authorities).


In other words, fraud requires the perpetrator to use trickery, deceit, or lies to obtain some form of benefit – often money directly, but it could be other benefits, such as health insurance, a job, merchandise, better stock value for the company, etc.

Now, there are as many different types of fraud as there are things to lie about. For now, I will focus on the types of fraud and related forms of theft that specifically target the business and the workplace. I’ll begin with the most common types of employee fraud: Asset misappropriation, embezzlement, and employee theft.

Asset Misappropriation, Embezzlement, and Employee Theft

Generally, these types of fraud/theft affect either the company’s cash or its inventory or physical assets. Frauds affecting the company’s cash or revenues include the following:

  • Larceny: stealing from cash on-hand or deposits
  • Skimming:
    • From Sales, by understating the value of goods sold, or not recording the sales of goods, and pocketing the cash
    • From Receivables, through write-off schemes, “lapping” schemes (pocketing payment from a customer, then using the next customer’s payment to cover the shortfall), etc.
    • From refunds
  • Fraudulent Disbursements:
    • Billing schemes – charging the company for non-existent work performed by shell companies, inflating the bills from vendors and pocketing the difference, etc.
    • Payroll Schemes – “ghost” employees (pocketing paychecks for employees that don’t really exist), falsified commission schemes, fraudulent workers’ compensation claims, falsifying or inflating wages owed, falsified vacation time
    • Expense reimbursement schemes – mischaracterized/overstated expenses, fictitious expenses, multiple reimbursements, billing the company for personal and not business expenses
  • Check Tampering
    • Forged maker
    • Forged Endorsements
    •  Altered Payee
    • Authorized maker
    • Concealed checks
  • Register Disbursements
    • False voids
    • False refunds

Frauds affecting the company’s inventory include the following:

  • Misuse – using the company’s equipment (vehicles, etc.) for unauthorized personal use.
  • Larceny – Stealing the company’s inventory or equipment, through falsified sales and shipping documents, purchasing and receiving documents, or simply stealing.

In a future blog post, I’ll summarize fraud in the form of falsified financial and business statements and corruption.

For more information on fraud schemes and how you can protect yourself, contact Radius Investigations at 1-888-698-0077, or the author of this blog at s.megibow@RadiusInvestigations.com.

The Frightening Impact of Fraud and Theft on Businesses http://prvteye.com/the-frightening-impact-of-fraud-and-theft-on-businesses/ Tue, 13 Sep 2016 18:26:24 +0000 http://prvteye.com/?p=3496 If you own or run a business or organization, then you need to be concerned about fraud or internal theft. Fraud is a major problem that can, and has, affected organizations of all kinds, from businesses to non-profits, from small mom-and-pop stores to multi-national corporations.

Every year, the most respected anti-fraud organization in the world, the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, releases its annual Report to the Nations. The Report is a comprehensive analysis of fraud – who is affected, how it occurs, and how much it costs. The 2016 Report revealed some frightening statistics:

• A typical victimized organization loses 5% of revenue in a given year due to fraud
• Median losses due to fraud are approximately $150,000
• 23% of cases caused losses of $1 million or more.
• For-profit organizations were targeted in two-thirds of reported cases, and had higher median losses.
• Median losses for small organizations (with less than 100 employees) were the same as those incurred by the largest organizations (with 10,000 or more employees) – but those losses have much greater impact on small entities.
• Most occupational fraudsters are first-time offenders – only 5.2% of reported offenders had previously been convicted, and only 8.3% had previously been fired for fraud-related conduct.

The bottom line, of course, is that the leaders of every organization need to take the risk of fraud seriously, learn how they may be vulnerable to fraud, and take steps to protect themselves.

In future blog posts, I will detail common fraud schemes, case studies of notable large and small frauds, and strategies for how you can fortify your organization against the threat of fraud or internal theft.

For more information, contact Sinai Megibow at s.megibow@RadiusInvestigations.com or call us at 888-698-0077.

Robust Due Diligence of Overseas Business Ventures is Key to Avoiding FCPA Sanctions http://prvteye.com/robust-due-diligence-of-overseas-business-ventures-is-key-to-avoiding-fcpa-sanctions/ Tue, 06 Sep 2016 17:30:55 +0000 http://prvteye.com/?p=3494 Reuters recently reported that the large pharmaceutical company, AstraZeneca, will pay $5.52 million to the U.S. Government to resolve a foreign bribery probe. The SEC and the DOJ investigated AstraZeneca for alleged improper payments made by its sales and marketing staff to state employees in China and Russia. The company denied any wrongdoing in the settlement.
AstraZeneca was investigated for violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (the FCPA), which basically prohibits companies that operate in the United States from bribing foreign government officials to gain access to those countries’ markets. As this settlement makes clear, the FCPA has sharp teeth. The payment of settlements, fines, sanctions, and the cost of conducting investigations and litigating FCPA violations can run well into the millions, even without any actual convictions or judgments.

So how can companies seeking to tap into lucrative foreign markets protect themselves from misconduct by their overseas employees or agents? Many companies hire local consulting firms or business agents to act as their representatives in foreign markets in order to keep their costs down. How can these companies be sure that their foreign representatives act in a way that complies with U.S.-based legal and ethical standards? And how can they do it in a cost-effective way?

As with many challenges, preparation is key. In this case, preparation involves conducting robust legal, practical, and reputational due diligence focusing on these prospective local agents and employees. For this type of due diligence investigation to be most effective, it must combine two parts. First, it must utilize local, “boots on the ground” resources that know the culture, systems, and policies of the country at issue. Second, it must have an objective, third-party perspective that blends the local know-how with an understanding of how those issues may affect U.S. companies’ risk exposure, liabilities, and reputation. The process is not a simple one, but a robust due diligence investigation, conducted by seasoned, objective professionals, can save businesses millions in legal fees, fines and penalties, and settlement costs – not to mention the potential damage to reputation and brand.

The article reporting AstraZeneca’s FCPA settlement can be found at:

For more information on conducting international due diligence and background investigations, contact Radius Investigations at 631-351-6473 or the author of this blog at s.megibow@RadiusInvestigations.com