Corporate Theft Investigation: “Working” To Pay Off A Cartel Debt E-newsletter Article
Our Subject – a late 20s Hispanic male – was working in a customer support call center in San Antonio, Texas. This Subject was responsible for processing claims that were filed through the sale of defective cell phones. Specifically, he had authority over transactions involving the shipping and receiving of a high volume of cell phone inventory for his employer, our client.
Having access to a customer database that contained volumes of confidential client profiles and credit card information, our Subject eventually began filing fraudulent claims for personal reimbursements from cell phone “purchases” that were shipped and delivered to a “friendly” 3rd party. The cell phones our Subject had acquired were in perfect working condition. A scheme to defraud our client of tens of thousands of dollars a month through recurring, unauthorized transactions was easily put in place by our Subject.
Our initial review and analysis of the relevant on-line activity, suspicious transactions and the criminal backgrounds for seven (7) key employees all netted “red flag” activity by our Subject and one (1) female. By all indications, this female was complicit, but to a much lesser degree than our Subject.
Our client agreed that it was time for TIN to initiate the “on-site interview” phase of this investigation. In our pre-interview preparation, HR described our male Subject as a “large, kind, teddy bear”. A Hispanic male standing about 5’9” and weighing right at 500 lbs. walked into the large conference/training room arranged for us to work in. Our Subject radiated a gentle smile and a quiet, cordial demeanor until it became clear to him why Investigators Pellerin and Smith were at his place of employment.
Corporate Theft Investigation Results
Over the next four (4) hours, our Subject became increasingly more receptive to cooperating with this investigation. Our Subject participated in a tedious review of each claim transaction and internal record/report which he was personally associated with. In time, the Subject answered virtually every relevant question from our investigation. In fact, our Subject eventually confessed to personally initiating and conducting every alleged fraudulent transaction – claim by claim, report by report and line entry by line entry.
At the end of the interview phase of this investigation, our Subject was asked the question, “Why”? Specifically, what was it that prompted him to consider initiating such a bold, illegal, drawn-out pattern of activity through his employer? Time stood still when our Subject replied next, “if y’all turn off all of the audio and video recordings, I’ll tell you the backstory”.
Our Subject described his childhood growing up poor in Laredo, TX. He didn’t realize until later years that he was really the son of a “mule”. His father was able to pay the family bills – and eventually make a decent living – by hauling large loads of drugs into the U.S. Two (2) years prior, a load that his father was transporting into the U.S. went missing. A police report was never filed and the truck with the drugs – valued at $ 4.5M – were never recovered. Eventually, the Mexican cartel caught up with our Subject’s father and killed him.
Shortly afterwards on a Saturday morning, two (2) dark colored SUVs unexpectedly arrived at his house in Laredo. He, his wife and their two (2) small children were all there at the time. Six (6) cartel members armed with automatic weapons quickly exited the vehicles, forced their way into his house, grabbed him and took him outside. Our Subject was then forced into the backseat of one (1) of the SUVs and blind-folded.
About three (3) hours later, he found himself in a face-to-face meeting with a Sinaloa Cartel drug lord. Now in Monterrey, MX, our Subject was advised that the cartel killed his father for his part in the load of drugs that went missing and from that day forward, his father’s debt had become his (our Subject’s). The drug lord let our Subject know that in the future, the cartel would know at all times exactly where he and his family lived, where he worked, where he banks and exactly how much money went into his bank account every time a deposit was made. Our Subject was further threatened that if he missed one (1) monthly payment toward his father’s debt, his wife and two (2) children would be killed.
Through this confession, our Subject acknowledged that staying current on his cartel debt that he had “inherited” from his father was his motivation for stealing phones – which were shipped to cartel members through a black-market entity – and money through the filing of fraudulent claims.
Upon conclusion of this investigation, our Subject was promptly terminated and his whereabouts today are unknown to our client.
About the Author:
Bill Pellerin is the founder and President of Texas Investigative Network, Inc., a Texas Corporation founded in 1994. The company employs licensed investigators in Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, Houston, Lubbock, McAllen, and San Antonio, Texas, and conducts investigations for several major Texas corporations, law firms, insurance companies, and financial institutions. Learn more