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The following is reposted from the FBI.gov website by Robert O’Block.

Crime Scene Documentation

General Information

We provide technical support for the following:

  • Crime scene survey
  • Crime scene documentation
  • Demonstrative court presentation
  • Three-dimensional physical models
  • Crime scene photography

We support FBI operations by providing accurate and timely technical, photographic, and structural services for counterterrorism, counterintelligence, criminal investigative, and forensic investigations and prosecutions.

Highly-trained visual information specialists and scientific and technical photographers from the FBI Laboratory’s Operational Projects Unit use high-end computer aided design (CAD), three-dimensional (3D) modeling, and computer animation functionality in their daily applications which enhance the unit’s field investigative support. Unit personnel can travel both domestically and internationally to provide crime scene support.

Survey, Documentation, and Photography

Unit personnel can provide detailed and accurate on site documentation for:

  • Crime scenes
  • Bullet trajectory
  • Accident reconstruction
  • Bombings
  • Plane crashes, and more

Types of Survey and Documentation

  • Traditional measuring methods
  • Total station survey
  • Tripod or roof mounted laser scanner with digital camera and GPS options

3D Laser scanning technology can also be utilized for on-going, “real time” operations such as hostage situations requiring immediate on-site measurements or for major planning.

Three-Dimensional Physical Models

The data collected from these methods, by OPU or any agency, will enable OPU to prepare concise (to scale) 2D or 3D demonstrative evidence. In addition, the scan system will also be used for the high resolution scanning and documentation of objects such as bomb components, bomb fragments, firearms, vehicle interiors, etc.

Operational Projects Unit personnel create two- and three-dimensional crime scene diagrams, three-dimensional digital and physical models, computer animation, digitally interactive scene, scenario reconstructions, and scientific and technical photography.

Contact Information

Operational Projects Unit
FBI Laboratory
(703) 632-8194

The Forensic Examiner publisher Robert O’Block reposts the following article:
VISITING SCIENTIST PROGRAM – from FBI.jobs.gov.

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The FBI Laboratory’s Counterterrorism and Forensic Science Research Unit sponsors a “Visiting Scientist Program” in order to bring outstanding students and faculty to the FBI Laboratory in Quantico, Virginia.

Program Overview

The FBI Laboratory is one of the largest and most comprehensive crime laboratories in the world and provides forensic and technical services to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies at no expense to these agencies. The Laboratory’s Counterterrorism and Forensic Science Research Unit (CFSRU) provides technical leadership and the advancement of forensic science for the FBI as well as state and local law enforcement agencies. Scientists in the CFSRU are leading experts in their respective fields and are responsible for research and development activities; validation studies; and the transition of new forensic techniques, procedures, and protocols to the case working units within the FBI Laboratory. The results and findings of completed research projects conducted by the CFSRU scientists are published in scientific journals and presented to the forensic science community at professional meetings. In addition, the scientists provide advanced technical training in specialized fields to federal, state, and local laboratory personnel.

Since 1982, the CFSRU has sponsored the Visiting Scientist Program. Visiting Scientists include university faculty, postdoctoral fellows, recent graduates, and both graduate and undergraduate students. Postgraduate appointments are typically for one year, renewable for up to four additional years upon the recommendation of the CFSRU staff. Student and faculty appointments are normally for three months during the summer, but appointments during the academic year are also available. Participants receive monthly stipends based on the level of their education.

The Visiting Scientist Program provides a valuable connection between the FBI Laboratory and academia. Participants are afforded a unique work experience to enhance their professional development and increase their research contributions in their chosen field of study by participating in forensic science research initiatives utilizing state-of-the-art equipment at the CFSRU. Participants in the Visiting Scientist Program conduct laboratory and/or computer research, primarily involving analytical chemistry, molecular biology, or the computation of large datasets. Research is guided by experienced FBI scientists who serve as mentors. The program also serves as a mechanism for the continual transfer of knowledge from the academic community to the FBI Laboratory.

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Program Status

The FBI Visiting Scientist Program is currently accepting applications. Applications are accepted throughout the year on a rolling basis. The Visiting Scientist Program is an educational opportunity provided in cooperation with Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) and administered by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE). For additional program information and instructions on how to apply, please see “How to Apply” below.

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Required Qualifications

Students, postgraduates, and faculty are eligible to apply for the FBI Visiting Scientist Program. Applicants should have an interest in forensic science and be adept at acquiring new laboratory skills. Individuals with a Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate, or Post-Doctorate credential in an appropriate science, engineering, or technology discipline are invited to apply. College and university faculty in the areas of science, mathematics, engineering, and other technically-related fields are also invited to apply. Preferred disciplines include Forensic Sciences and all Chemistry and Biology sub-disciplines.

Only individuals possessing strong academic credentials, outstanding character, and a high degree of motivation will be selected. In order to be considered, individuals must meet all of the following qualifications at the time that they apply:

  • Students must be attending a college or university that is accredited by one of the regional or national institutional associations recognized by the United States Secretary of Education.
  • Student applicants must have a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.5 or above on a 4.0 scale and be in good standing with their undergraduate or graduate degree program.
  • Postgraduate applicants still pursuing their degree must be on track to complete their degree prior to the starting date. Postgraduate applicants with degrees must have received their degree within five years of the desired starting date.
  • Faculty applicants must be full-time, permanent faculty members at an accredited U.S. college or university.
  • All candidates must be citizens of the United States.
  • Candidates must meet all FBI Employment Requirements, be able to pass an FBI Background Investigation, and receive a Secret Security Clearance.

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How to Apply

The FBI Visiting Scientist Program is administered by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE). All applications must be submitted directly to ORISE. For application materials and instructions on how to apply, please see the FBI Visiting Scientist page (“Research Participation Program at the FBI”) of the Oak Ridge Associated Universities web page. Due to the time required to process the application and complete the required FBI Background Investigation, applicants should apply a minimum of six months before their desired start date (earlier applications are strongly encouraged).

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Selection Process

Participants are selected based on academic records, recommendations, applied research interests, and compatibility of background with applied research programs and projects at the CFSRU. Selection is also dependent upon availability of funds, staff programs, and equipment. Final selection of participants is made by CFSRU. The initial offer to participate in the Visiting Scientist Program is conditional because candidates selected must undergo an extensive FBI Background Investigation and receive an FBI Secret Clearance in order to be eligible to participate in the program.

The program is open to U.S. citizens without regard to race, sex, religion, color, age, physical disability, national origin, or veteran status.

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Compensation

Participants receive monthly stipends based on the level of their education. Participants are responsible for providing their own transportation and lodging. It is important to note that participants in the Visiting Scientist Program are not FBI or government employees; are ineligible for benefits associated with government employment; and participation in the program conveys no special advantage when applying for FBI job vacancies.

The following information on Coverdell Grants

is reprinted from National Institute of Justice website, April 1, 2013 and posted by Robert O’Block.

Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program

Program Description and Purpose

The Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program (the Coverdell program) awards grants to states and units of local government to help improve the quality and timeliness of forensic science and medical examiner services. Among other things, funds may be used to eliminate a backlog in the analysis of forensic evidence and to train and employ forensic laboratory personnel, as needed, to eliminate such a backlog. State Administering Agencies (SAAs) may apply for both “base” (formula) and competitive funds. Units of local government may apply for competitive funds.

A state or unit of local government that receives a Coverdell grant must use the grant for one or more of these three purposes:

  1. To carry out all or a substantial part of a program intended to improve the quality and timeliness of forensic science or medical examiner services in the State, including those services provided by laboratories operated by the State and those operated by units of local government within the State.
  2. To eliminate a backlog in the analysis of forensic science evidence, [1] including, among other things, a backlog with respect to firearms examination, latent prints, toxicology, controlled substances, forensic pathology, questioned documents, and trace evidence.
  3. To train, assist and employ forensic laboratory personnel as needed to eliminate such a backlog.

 

Eligibility

States [2] and units of local government may apply for FY2012 Coverdell funds. States may be eligible for both “base” (formula) and competitive funds. Units of local government within States may be eligible for competitive funds and may apply directly to NIJ. State applications for funding MUST be submitted by the Coverdell State Administering Agency (SAA). (Other interested state agencies or departments must coordinate with their respective SAA.) Each applicant must satisfy the specific application requirements outlined in this announcement, the general requirements for NIJ and OJP grants and all other applicable legal requirements.

The Coverdell law (at 42 U.S.C. § 3797k(4)) requires that, to request a grant, an applicant for Coverdell funds must submit:

A certification and description regarding a plan for forensic science laboratories.

 

Applicants are expected to review the requirements of each certification carefully before determining whether the certification may be properly made. Any certification that is submitted must be executed by an official who is both familiar with the requirements of the certification and authorized to make the certification on behalf of the applicant agency (that is, the agency applying directly to NIJ). Certifications must be made by using the templates provided in the solicitation for that fiscal year.

 

Certifications made on behalf of subrecipients of award funds — rather than certifications made on behalf of the agency applying directly to the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) — are not acceptable to satisfy the certification requirements.
In connection with the certification regarding external investigations described above, applicants must provide, prior to receiving award funds, the name(s) of the existing “government entity” (or government entities). This information is to be provided as an attachment to the program narrative section of the application.

 

Please note that funds will not be made available to applicant agencies that fail to provide the necessary information.

 

Important Note on Referrals in Connection With Allegations of Serious Negligence or Serious Misconduct.

 

The highest standards of integrity in the practice of forensic science are critical to the enhancement of the administration of justice. We assume that recipients (and subrecipients) of Coverdell funds will make use of the process referenced in their certification as to external investigations and will refer allegations of serious negligence or misconduct substantially affecting the integrity of forensic results to government entities with an appropriate process in place to conduct independent external investigations, such as the government entities identified in the grant application.

 

For each fiscal year of an award, recipients will be required to report to the National Institute of Justice on an annual basis:

 

  1. The number and nature of any such allegations.
  2. Information on the referrals of such allegations (e.g., the government entity or entities to which referred, the date of referral).
  3. The outcome of such referrals (if known as of the date of the report).
  4. If any such allegations were not referred, the reason(s) for the non-referral.

 

Payments to recipients (including payments under future awards) may be withheld if the required information is not submitted on a timely basis.

 

Special Guidance on Certification Regarding External Investigations into Allegations of Serious Negligence or Misconduct

 

The certification regarding external investigations has a number of requirements, each of which must be satisfied before the certification may be made. The official authorized to make the certification on behalf of the applicant agency must review each of the statutory elements and this guidance carefully before determining whether a certification may be properly made. After reviewing the information and guidance provided here, the official, on behalf of the applicant agency, must determine whether:

 

  • A government entity exists
  • With an appropriate process in place
  • To conduct independent, external investigations
  • Into allegations of serious negligence or misconduct
  • Substantially affecting the integrity of the forensic results
  • Committed by employees or contractors
  • Of any forensic laboratory system, medical examiner’s office, coroner’s office, law enforcement storage facility, or medical facility in the State that will receive a portion of the grant amount.

 

Note: In making this certification, the certifying official is certifying that these requirements are satisfied not only with respect to the applicant itself but also with respect to each entity that will receive a portion of the grant amount. Certifying officials are advised that: (1) a false statement in the certification or in the grant application that it supports may be subject to criminal prosecution, including under 18 U.S.C. § 1001, and (2) Office of Justice Programs grants, including certifications provided in connection with such grants, are subject to review by the Office of Justice Programs and/or by the Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General.

 

See the 2013 solicitation document (pdf, 40 pages) for guidance, provided by way of examples, designed to illustrate elements of the external investigation certification that the official authorized to make the certification on behalf of the applicant agency must take into account in determining whether the certification may be properly made.

 

Expected Results and Outcomes

 

The result of Coverdell grants to applicant States should be a demonstrated improvement over current operations in the quality and/or timeliness of forensic science or medical examiner services provided in the State, including services provided by laboratories operated by the State and services provided by laboratories operated by units of local government within the State. Reduction of forensic analysis backlogs is considered an improvement in timeliness of services. The result of Coverdell grants directly to units of local government should be a demonstrated improvement over current operations in the quality and/or timeliness of forensic science or medical examiner services provided by the local jurisdiction.

 

Use of Funds

 

The types of expenses listed below generally may be paid with Coverdell funds:

 

  1. Personnel. Funds may be used for forensic science or medical examiner personnel, overtime, fellowships, visiting scientists, interns, consultants, or contracted staff.
  2. Computerization. Funds may be used to upgrade, replace, lease, or purchase computer hardware and software for forensic analyses and data management.
  3. Laboratory equipment. Funds may be used to upgrade, lease, or purchase forensic laboratory or medical examiner equipment and instrumentation.
  4. Supplies. Funds may be used to acquire forensic laboratory or medical examiner supplies.
  5. Accreditation. Funds may be used to prepare for laboratory accreditation by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board (ASCLD-LAB), Forensic Quality Services (FQS), the National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME), the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA), or other appropriate accrediting bodies. Funds also may be used for application and maintenance fees charged by appropriate accrediting bodies.
  6. Education, training and certification. Funds may be used for appropriate internal and external training of staff that are directly and substantially involved in providing forensic science or medical examiner services. In appropriate cases, funds also may be used for fees charged by appropriate certifying bodies for certification of staff in specific forensic discipline areas. All education, training, and certification activities must be designed to improve the quality and/or timeliness of forensic science or medical examiner services. The grant application should demonstrate that the proposed training or certification is directly related to the job position and duties of the individual(s) receiving the training or seeking certification.
  7. Facilities. Funds may be used for program expenses relating to facilities, provided the expenses are directly attributable to improving the quality and/or timeliness of forensic science or medical examiner services. Funds also may be used for renovation and/or construction undertaken as part of the applicant’s program to improve the quality and/or timeliness of forensic science or medical examiner services. See the specific year’s solicitation to which you are applying for detailed on limitations on use of funds for costs of new facility. .
  8. Administrative expenses. Not more than 10 percent of the total amount of a Coverdell grant may be used for administrative expenses.

 

The following expenses that are not permitted:

 

  1. Expenses other than those listed above (including expenses for general law enforcement functions or non-forensic investigatory functions).
  2. Costs for any new facility that exceed the limits described above.
  3. Administrative expenses that exceed 10 percent of the total grant amount.

 

Match requirement
There is no state or local match required under the Coverdell program.

 

Allocation of Funds

 

“Base” funds for States

 

Approximately 75 percent of the funds available for Coverdell grants will be allocated among eligible States based on population. See the specific solicitation to which you are applying for the approximate amount for each eligible State.

 

Competitive funds for States and units of local government

 

Twenty-five percent of the available funds will be allocated among States and units of local government through a competitive process. The average annual number of part 1 violent crimes reported by each State to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in prior years, existing resources, and current needs of the potential grant recipient will be considerations in award decisions.

 

Units of local government that provide forensic science or medical examiner services (whether through a forensic science laboratory, medical examiner’s office, or coroner’s office) may apply directly to NIJ for competitive funds. A State may apply through its SAA for competitive funds for forensic sciences improvements above and beyond those it can accomplish with its estimated amount of base funds.

 

Minimum awards to States

 

The Coverdell law sets a floor for the total amount an eligible applicant State will receive as its Coverdell grant. If the amount a State would otherwise receive as its total Coverdell grant (including both base funds and any competitive funds) is less than the minimum grant amount set by the Coverdell law, NIJ will increase that state’s total grant to the minimum grant amount.

 

All awards are subject to the availability of appropriated funds and to any modifications or additional requirements that may be imposed by law.

 

Authorizing Legislation

 

Public Law Number 106-561 (12/21/2000): An Act to improve the quality, timeliness, and credibility of forensic science services for criminal justice purposes, and for other purposes. Cited as Paul Coverdell National Forensic Sciences Improvement Act. S.3045, Text or PDF.

 

Public Law Number 107-273 (H.R. 2215): In 2002, this amendment made these funds available to units of local government as well as States.

 

Public Law Number 108-405 (H.R. 5107): In 2004, this Act expanded the Coverdell program to include a forensic science backlog reduction component and the requirement of a new certification regarding external investigations.

 

Program Contacts

 

If you would like to speak with someone at NIJ about this program, contact Alan Spanbauer, program manager at 202-305-2436 or alan.spanbauer@usdoj.gov.

 

Notes

[1] A backlog in the analysis of forensic science evidence exists if forensic evidence has been stored in a laboratory, medical examiner’s office, coroner’s office, law enforcement storage facility, or medical facility and has not been subjected to all appropriate forensic testing because of lack of resources or personnel.

[2] For purposes of the Coverdell program, the term “State” means each of the 50 States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. For certain purposes, American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands are treated as one State.

The Value of Risk Assessment:Evidence From Recent Surveys – by Barbara Apostolou, PhD, CPA, CGMA and Nicholas Apostolou, CBA, CPA, CrFA, DABFA, CGMA.  This article was first published in fall, 2012 issue of The Forensic Examiner, published by Robert O’Block.

 Lessons from Fraud Surveys

Financial fraud continues to plague both consumers and business firms; its detection and prevention is a serious concern for regulators and corporate managers. At the national level, President Obama established the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force in November 2009 to combat financial fraud related to mortgage lending, securities law, stimulus spending, and the federal bailout of the financial sector. The task force includes senior-level officials from more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices, and state and local partners; it is the broadest coalition of federal, state, and local partners ever assembled to combat financial fraud. On June 17, 2010, the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force announced the results of the largest collective enforcement effort ever conducted in confronting mortgage fraud. The nationwide takedown, Operation Stolen Dreams, has involved 1,215 criminal defendants nationwide, including 485 arrests allegedly responsible for more than $2.3 billion in losses.

    The new task force is the latest effort to bring to bear the resources of the government on a problem that defies easy solutions. In response to the dramatic collapse of Enron in 2001 and public outrage over the accounting scandals at prominent companies like WorldCom, Xerox, Merck, and Adelphia Communications, Congress passed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX), the most significant legislation affecting securities laws and corporate conduct since both the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. SOX made it a criminal act to falsify financial statements and established severe penalties for fraudulent financial activity. In addition, SOX created the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), which reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to regulate auditors and the nature of services they furnish to clients.

    The federal government also responded to the public demand to curtail corporate fraudulent activity by creating the interagency Corporate Fraud Task Force in July 2002. By 2007, this task force was responsible for 1,236 total corporate fraud convictions, including 214 CEOs and presidents, 53 CFOs, 23 corporate counsels or attorneys, and 129 vice presidents. In November 2009, the Corporate Fraud Task Force was replaced by the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force.

    Despite formal efforts from the public and private sectors, the incidence and extent of financial fraud continues to escalate. This article summarizes and compares the findings of five major surveys recently conducted on fraud by the Big Four accounting firms Deloitte (2011), Ernst & Young (2010), KPMG (2007, 2009), and PricewaterhouseCoopers (2009):

 

These five surveys offer insight into the consequences of fraud and present evidence on the effectiveness of programs and controls to reduce those fraud risks. Lessons can be learned because the surveys are based upon actual experiences with fraud internationally.

 

Asset Misappropriation

The term asset misappropriation describes any scheme that involves the theft or misuse of an organization’s assets. A salient example is the case of the United States v. United Technologies (1997), which involved false purchase orders and submitting false invoices, provides a real-world illustration of asset misappropriation. A division of United Technologies Corporation (UTC) paid the United States $14.8 million for conspiring to divert $10 million in United States military aid into a slush fund subject to the exclusive control of an Israeli Air Force officer.

    The settlement resolved a claim filed by the United States in U.S. District Court in Miami, Florida, against UTC. UTC and former Israeli Air Force officer, Rami Dotan, set up a $10 million fund with U.S. military aid that could be spent at Dotan’s discretion, without the required oversight of the Defense Security Assistance Agency or procurement authorities within Israel. In 1991, Dotan was sentenced to 13 years imprisonment by an Israeli military court for his role in related schemes.

    UTC acquired the $10 million in funds for Dotan through false billings under a contract with Israel to develop and manufacture a PW1120 turbojet engine for an Israeli LAVI fighter aircraft. UTC prepared false purchase orders and submitted false invoices to Israel between March and July 1987 to collect $10 million for engine improvement work that was never performed. UTC and Dotan unlawfully concealed a side-deal to use this $10 million as a “bank” for Dotan.

    At the direction of Dotan, the complaint said, UTC paid approximately 2.4 million of the $10 million to Yrretco Inc. and Airtech Inc., two New Jersey companies. The manager of Yrretco and Airtech deposited hundreds of thousands of dollars of the U.S. military aid into the personal bank accounts of Nehemia Oron, a former IAF Colonel, and Yoram Ingbir, the owner of Ingbir Engineering. In 1992, the United States recovered $2 million from Yrretco, Airtech, and Oron, a co-conspirator. Dotan confessed to the Israeli police that he and Ingbir planned to split Ingbir’s earnings.

Corruption

Corruption describes any scheme in which a person uses his or her influence in a business transaction to obtain an unauthorized benefit contrary to that person’s duty to his or her employer. The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 (FCPA) specifically prohibits bribery of foreign officials in an effort to win foreign government contracts. An example of the application of the FCPA was the $24,800,000 fine assessed to Lockheed Martin in 1995 (Amato, 1996). Lockheed agreed to pay criminal and civil fines after pleading guilty to violating the FCPA by paying a consultant from a funding source that disallowed it.

    The case resulted from the 1989 contract between Lockheed and Egypt calling for the sale of three C-130 aircraft for approximately $79 million. The investigation uncovered payments by Lockheed to its Egyptian consultant, Dr. Leila Takla, in exchange for her assistance in making the sale. The contract, which was funded by U.S. taxpayer money through the Defense Security Assistance Agency (DSAA) Foreign Military Financing (FMF) program, required Lockheed to certify that no consultant fees were being paid out of FMF grant money. The DCIS was alerted to a possible violation when DSAA, during a routine review, discovered Lockheed had an agreement to pay a $1.8 million commission to Dr. Tekla. Once DSAA discovered the agreement, Lockheed canceled its consultant arrangement, but subsequently wired $1 million to Dr. Takla’s Swiss account in consideration of the earlier agreement. Dr. Takla was a member of Parliament in Egypt and thus a foreign official as specified under the FCPA.

 

Financial Statement Deception

 

Financial statement fraud occurs when an organization’s financial statements are falsified to make it appear more or less profitable. Many of the famous cases like Enron and WorldCom illustrate this type of fraud. Another illustration of financial statement fraud is provided by a recent case in which the SEC charged Dell Inc. for accounting manipulations in violation of the Securities Acts (Securities and Exchange Commission, 2010).

       In March 2006, it was reported that Dell’s board uncovered evidence of misconduct, including accounting errors and “deficiencies in the financial control environment” while conducting an ongoing investigation of the company’s accounting.  The board’s investigation was prompted by an SEC inquiry that began in August 2005.  In August 2007, Dell announced it would restate four years of financial results (fiscal years 2003-2006 and the first fiscal quarter of 2007) after a separate internal audit found that senior executives sought accounting adjustments “motivated by the objective of attaining financial targets.”

    According to Dell, “a number of these adjustments were improper,” and “(t)he investigation found that sometimes business unit personnel did not provide complete information to corporate headquarters and, in a number of instances purposefully incorrect or incomplete information about these activities was provided to internal or external auditors.”  In July 2010, Dell agreed to pay $100 million to resolve the SEC investigation.  The settlement also resolved allegations that Dell misrepresented aspects of its commercial relationship with Intel Corp.

  The SEC’s complaint alleged that Dell’s senior accounting officials engaged in improper accounting by maintaining a series of cookie jar reserves that it used to cover shortfalls in operating results from 2002 to 2005.  Cookie jar accounting refers to the practice of using unrealistic estimates and strategic choices of accounting methods to smooth out its earnings.  Dell CEO Michael Dell and former CEO Kevin Rollins each agreed to pay a $4 million civil penalty; former CFO James Schneider agreed to pay a $3 million penalty plus over $121,000 in disgorgement and interest; and former regional vice president of finance Nicholas Dunning agreed to pay $50,000 penalty.  The company and the individual executives settled without admitting or denying SEC’s allegations.

 

 

 

 

Deloitte’s GCC Fraud Survey 2011

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) consists of six Arab states that have formed a political and economic union: (1) Bahrain, (2) Kuwait, (3) Oman, (4) Qatar, (5) Saudi Arabia, and (6) United Arab Emirates. The GCC reflects a significant concentration of economic activity with global impact. The purpose of Deloitte’s survey was to determine how organizations have been impacted by fraud in the face of the recent financial crisis. The confidential web-based survey of 1,100 corporate executives consisted of 28 questions related to the detection and prevention of fraud.

    Of those responding to the survey, 35% reported at least one instance of fraud during 2010. The most frequent types of fraud were asset misappropriation, theft of information, procurement fraud, and corruption or bribery. The survey requested information about fraud risk management programs in place. Most of the respondents report the presence of a corporate code of conduct and ethics policy, which are both widely regarded as effective deterrents. However, only 50% have a whistle blowing policy that would permit anonymous tips, which generally is believed to be the most effective means for detecting fraud. Only about half of the respondents had a fraud risk assessment or fraud prevention plan in place. In spite of the fact that fraud losses typically are in the millions, 40% of the respondents state that $50,000 or less was spent annually on fraud prevention. These findings suggest that resources should be invested in fraud detection and deterrence, especially since the economy is in decline.

E&Y’s Global Fraud Survey 2010

E&Y’s global fraud survey was conducted on behalf of its Fraud Investigation & Dispute Services practice and published in 2010. E&Y interviewed more than 1,400 chief financial officers, as well as heads of legal, compliance, and internal audit in 36 countries between November 2009 and February 2010 to obtain their views on how companies are managing the risks associated with fraud, bribery, and corruption. Consistent with the findings of the other surveys, companies are finding that fraud and corruption are on the rise. Almost one in six of all the respondents had experienced a significant fraud in the past two years.

Recent Experiences of Fraud

Fraud is still commonplace in virtually every country in the world. More than a quarter of the respondents were from Western Europe, which has experienced a significant upsurge in fraud since the previous survey, from 10 to 21 percent. The financial crisis of the last two years has increased the pressure on upper management to meet financial goals, which becomes particularly onerous when companies are operating in the recessionary phase of the business cycle.

 

Frequency of Fraud Risk Assessments

In spite of the widespread attention to the fraud problem, there exist executives who have never performed a fraud risk assessment. This step is essential if a company is attempting to preempt the possibility of fraud. The incentive for fraud increases when resources are scarce and budgets are tight as they are now in the current economic environment faced by business firms.

Well-Defined Investigative Roles

An organization should have well-defined responsibilities for the different groups who respond to the first indication that fraud, corruption, or other malfeasance has been detected. Roles for internal audit, legal, compliance, and finance should be clearly delineated. For example, the steps taken to respond to information provided by whistleblowers have to be specified. The CFO often plays a central role in the process of responding to indications of fraud. It is symptomatic of a company’s deficiency in its anti-fraud policies if the CFO’s role in conducting investigations is not well-defined. Many companies lack clear investigative roles for the key participants in the process.

   

Directors’ Concern about Potential Liability

Directors have become increasingly more concerned about potential liability. Worldwide economic doldrums leading to incentives to engage in fraud certainly are a dominant reason for this concern. However, companies are still not doing enough to educate directors in their role as safeguards against fraud and corrupt practices.

Factors Mitigating Fraud Risk

Internal controls are perceived as the most important factor to mitigate fraud risk (74% of those surveyed). SOX requires audits of the effectiveness of internal controls over financial reporting, which no doubt leads to heightened awareness of their significant role in reducing fraud risk. The internal audit department is viewed by many as a pivotal defense against fraud and corruption by the great majority of respondents. In an environment where budgets for internal audit departments have become constrained, internal audit department heads have to find the resources to properly train their employees to detect and respond to instances of fraud. Further, many internal audit departments find themselves pressured to focus less on risk and more on operating efficiency.

    Fraud risk increases when management has the ability to override internal controls, and it is an issue that receives considerable attention by both internal and external auditors. Respondents expressed confidence that a stronger internal audit department is the best line of defense to prevent management from overriding established internal controls. However, internal audit departments face a conundrum difficult to resolve: assessing the possibility of management committing fraud while not fostering management mistrust. Direct communication with the audit committee can ease this concern.

KPMG Profile of a Fraudster 2007

In 2007, KPMG analyzed hundreds of actual fraud investigations conducted by its forensic departments within the EMA region (Europe, India, Middle East, and Africa) to produce a profile of the individuals who commit fraud and what conditions permit fraud to occur. A total of 360 fraudulent acts were included in the analysis. A male finance department employee aged 36-55 acting independently was most likely to perpetrate asset misappropriation in the cases examined. Motivation for committing fraud was most often cited as greed for position, power, or influence. Weaknesses in internal control were noted as the most prevalent condition permitting a fraud to occur. Whistle blowing (i.e., anonymous tip) was the most common means of fraud detection (25%).

KPMG Fraud Survey 2009

KPMG sponsored a formal survey that involved telephone interviews of executives of U.S. organizations with annual revenues of $250 million about fraud risks and associated panned responses. Sixty-five percent of those responding stated that fraud continues to pose a significant risk. The top three types of fraud reported were (1) asset misappropriation (35%); (2) corruption (31%); and (3) financial statement fraud (14%). The number one concern facing the executives is the loss of public trust (71%) if a fraud were to occur, followed by legal fines/sanctions (54%). Most of those surveyed expected that fraud risks would increase in the future. A second part of the study was to identify fraud risk management plans.

    The executives were asked about the best means to detect fraud in their organizations. Internal audit (47%), employee tips (20%), line managers (13%), and external auditors (9%) were cited as the top four sources of information. Only 10% of those responding reported that no formal program was in place to deal with a fraud discovery. The areas that have the most room for improvement in terms of fraud risk mitigation are (1) employee communication and training and (2) technology-driven continuous auditing and monitoring techniques, with 67% and 65%, respectively, reporting the existence of a moderate to significant room for improvement.

 

PwC’s Global Economic Crime Survey 2009

PwC’s fifth biennial report is based upon a web-based survey of 3,037 senior representatives of organizations in 54 countries. The 2009 survey investigated the root causes of economic crime, and the way in which it affects businesses worldwide. Of those responding, 905 (30%) had experienced at least one incident of fraud in the previous 12 months. The backdrop of the global economic downturn has affected most of the companies, with 62% reporting a decline in financial performance. In addition, 40% of all respondents believed that the risk of economic crime had risen due to the recession.

Factors Contributing to Fraud

The economic downturn has made achieving financial targets more difficult, increased competitive pressure, and made employees concerned about job security. As a result, employers are increasingly tempted to artificially enhance revenues and/or reduce. The increasing pressure to achieve financial targets is accompanied by worries over bonus and fear of losing employment. When employees are terminated in cost-cutting efforts in a recession, the anxiety level among those remaining inevitably rises.

Types of Economic Crime

  The three most common types of crime are (1) asset misappropriation, (2) accounting fraud, and (3) bribery and corruption. Asset misappropriation, the theft or misuse of assets was experienced by two-thirds of the companies in the survey. Accounting fraud was the second most frequent type of economic crime, but has experienced the steepest upturn. The rise in accounting fraud could be a byproduct of intense pressure to meet financial goals caused by the economic downturn. The survey defines accounting fraud as including an assortment of acts that use financial data to perpetrate a deceit.

Fraud Risk Assessment

A fraud risk assessment is a crucial tool in preventing fraud because it can identify potential risks and weaknesses in internal controls that create the opportunity to commit fraud. In a period in which economic crime is on the increase, 28% of those responding do not even engage in a fraud risk assessment, and 12% do not even know if it is performed. Thus 40% are not benefiting from this very critical strategy. A company’s failure to perform this procedure is a serious deficiency in their effort to combat fraud. Going further, the survey correlated reported frauds and the frequency of fraud risk assessments. As expected, the more frequent the fraud risk assessment the more often that fraud is discovered in a timely manner.

Size as a Determinant of Fraud

A company’s likelihood of fraud is directly related to its size. Only 15% of the small companies surveyed experienced fraud, while 46% of organizations with more than 1,000 employees reported having experienced economic crime within the last 12 months. Several reasons account for the correlation of size of company and incidence of fraud, including:

Larger companies often engage in more complex transactions that can lead to more opportunities to engage in fraud;

Larger companies can implement a greater number of controls and risk management tools to increase their chances of detecting fraud; and

The larger and more complex the organization, the greater the anonymity of the employees.             

Fraud and Industry

The four most fraud-prone industries in the 2009 survey are (1) communications, (2) insurance, (3) financial services, and (4) hospitality and leisure. Insurance and financial services have reported consistently high levels of fraud over the ten years the survey has been conducted. In addition, financial services is the sector that has experienced the largest increase in fraud according to the survey, with 56% of respondents reporting an increase in the number of incidences in the last 12 months.

Actions against Fraudsters

Actions taken against internal fraudsters extend from doing nothing to dismissal and filing of criminal charges. When discovered, the majority of internal fraudsters were dismissed. Interestingly, 22% of respondents reported issuing warnings or reprimands as the only consequence. For external fraudsters, the majority of respondents chose to bring civil action and/or criminal charges and terminated the business relationship. Perhaps more serious consequences would serve as a stronger deterrent.

Profile of Fraudsters

Of the respondents who reported fraud by external fraudsters, 45% had experienced fraud by customers and 20% by agents/intermediaries. The survey highlights the increase in frauds committed by middle management. Economic crimes committed by middle managers now account for 42% of all internal frauds, up from 26% in 2007. Reasons cited for the rise in frauds committed by middle management include the need to maintain living standards and jealousy of higher earners whose compensation or bonuses were believed to be unfair.

Conclusion

Fraud and corruption are on the increase. The worldwide financial may account for a large part of this upsurge, but it will be interesting to see if the trend changes as the world economy recovers. Many companies still need to be more proactive in anticipating fraud and corruption. Internal controls cannot be depended upon alone to detect and discourage fraud. Fraud can be committed in many different ways; deterrence and detection requires companies to employ a range of tools. Each survey offers a different vantage point, yet the lessons are consistent: fraud is still a problem and efforts can be made to defeat it.

    The U.S. government has invested considerable resources into fighting the problem of fraud, which is a global problem. The importance of effective internal controls led to the SOX requirement for audits of the effectiveness of controls. However, the surveys reveal that weak controls persist as a condition that permits fraud to occur. Continued emphasis on the importance of controls by both regulators and managers is essential.

    Every organization should undertake a fraud risk assessment on a regular basis. It is startling how many companies fail to exercise due diligence to prevent fraud and/or corruption. For example, surprise audits have been found to be an important tool in the struggle against fraud but they are implemented by less than 30% of companies victimized by fraud. In addition, anonymous tips have been shown by various surveys to be a very effective method that can be used to detect fraud. The critical importance of tips in detecting fraud suggests that every organization should implement a fraud reporting system, which can be done with the assistance of vendors who will ensure anonymity to the whistleblower. Fraud hotlines should be a necessary part of a fraud reporting system because of their effectiveness in encouraging anonymous tips from employees.

    Fraud and corruption remain a worldwide problem. The global economic downturn has significantly increased pressure on organizations to maintain profitability, thereby creating incentives to engage in fraud. The results of these five surveys can provide management with information on how to direct scarce resources to deter fraud and/or detect it in a timely manner.

REFERENCES

Amato, C. (1996). Lockheed-Egypt: An investigation of foreign corrupt practices act violations. The Journal of Public Inquiry: Fall 1996 (29-30).

Deloitte (2011). GCC fraud survey 2011: Facing the challenge of fraud. Retrieved December 28, 2011 from http://www.deloitte.com/assets/Dcom-Lebanon/Local%20Assets/Documents/FAS/Deloitte%20%20GCC%20Fraud%20%20Survey%202011.pdf.

Ernst & Young (2010). Driving ethical growth—new markets, new challenges, 11th global fraud survey. Retrieved December 28, 2011 from http://www.ey.com/Publication/vwLUAssets/EY_11th_GLOBAL_FRAUD_Survey/$FILE/EY_11th_GLOBAL_FRAUD_Survey.pdf.

KPMG (2007). Profile of a fraudster survey. Retrieved December 28, 2011 from http://www.kpmg.co.uk/pubs/ProfileofaFraudsterSurvey%28web%29.pdf.

KPMG (2009). Fraud survey 2009. Retrieved December 28, 2011 from http://www.ethicspoint.com/Upload/Articles/21001NSS_Fraud_Survey_082409.pdf.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (2009). The global economic crime survey: Economic crime in a downturn. Retrieved December 28, 2011 from http://www.pwc.com/en_GX/gx/economic-crime-survey/pdf/global-economic-crime-survey-2009.pdf.

Securities and Exchange Commission (2010). SEC charges Dell and senior executives with disclosure and accounting fraud. Retrieved December 28, 2011 from http://www.sec.gov/news/press/2010/2010-131.htm.

United States v. United Technologies Corporation, No. 95-8251-CIV-MARCUS (1997).

 

The following book review was first published in Forensic Examiner, Spring 2012, a Robert O’Block publication.

Book Review of “Mr. Rhode Island:A Harrowing Courtroom Thriller” Author’s name: Seifer, Marc j. with Stephen Rosati

 

Reviewer: Richard Skaff

Edition/Binding: Hard cover-326 pages

Price: $27.99

ISBN: 978-1-931261-05-0

 

 

A Tale of Injustice: The Rosati’s Case

There are many questions regarding “justice” and the people allegedly tasked to carry it out, including the following:

   Per example, are human beings capable of being totally objective and just?

   Is it possible that alleged protectors of justice—such as law enforcement and judicial systems—could seek and defend the truth without bias or ulterior motives?

   Is it the protector who often ends up being the offender?

   Does law enforcement attract individuals with proclivity to sadism, power mongering, and corruption?

   Were the law enforcement and the judicial system intentionally designed to discriminate against ethnic and racial minorities?

   Does the desire for control and ultimate power constitute a natural human tendency and a need that festers deep into the human soul and psyche and is brought out by circumstances?

   “Mr. Rhode Island” seeks to answer some of these questions. This book is about a young man from a wealthy Italian family who lived an idyllic childhood and an exciting adulthood. All was supposedly rosy until he was arrested for a crime he did not commit. The true story of Stephen Rosati, who was caught in a trap, but his resilience and ability to survive, empowered him to remain alive in a corrupt prison system. It is also the story of his undaunted and loving parents who paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to a cornucopia of attorneys to save the life of their innocent son.

   The author’s skillful story-telling ability transforms this book from a heartwarming family tale to a courtroom drama filled with deceit, agony, and torment. It is a frightening account about the injustice of our justice system, as an innocent person could be indicted and convicted at any time to satisfy the self-serving needs and political agenda of the local police and other involved law enforcement agencies. The fact is that convictions reflect competence, and as a result this alleged competence impels the need for additional funding and positions, as well as resources and promotions leading to a massive expansion of the law enforcement-judicial complex. The presumption of innocence becomes insignificant, because the main goal would be to obtain convictions leading to political accolades. According to Seifer, the prosecutors, judges, FBI officials, and even a U.S. attorney general involved in Rosati’s case became willingful dupes and co-conspirators to make their case.

   In addition, Seifer’s book delves deeply into the world of co-optation and conspiration between drug dealers who will say anything to reduce their jail sentences and cops who will do anything to get a conviction. Seifer also addresses that perjured testimony was ignored by a governor and a board of state Supreme Court justices, and the word of a known lying drug dealer is believed over iron-clad documents and the testimony of a half-dozen law-abiding citizens.

   Seifer has written a thorough investigative volume that covers the actual 1,500-page police log, including the audio transcripts of witness depositions and author interviews of law enforcement participants and subjects in the case. The author attempts to elucidate that this story is not only about mistaken identity or lost truth, but it is about a justice system that has gone awry.

   The author has collected and shared a tremendous amount of information regarding this case. He has thoroughly and eloquently documented every moment, every aspect, every note, and every judgment with a fluent writing style and illustrations to make his book an impeccable record and an untainted research about a legal case that went askew.

   The book is intriguing, captivating, and entertaining; it will keep the reader flabbergasted and yearning for more.

   If you are interested in forensics, this book makes an excellent case study, as well as an edifying read about the intricacies and the obscurities of the legal and judicial processes. Mr. Rhode Island will also leave the reader wondering whether our legal system is about truth, or about revenge and politics. n

The Dixmoor Five: Exonerated after nearly 20 years -  This article was first published in Forensic Examiner, Spring 2012, published by Robert O’Block.

The Dixmoor Five: Exonerated after nearly 20 years

 

The rape and murder conviction of Robert Taylor, one of the men known as The Dixmoor Five, was vacated in November of 2011. “After spending almost two decades in jail for a rape and murder he didn’t commit, Robert Taylor, now 34, walked out of an Illinois prison a free man” (Tarren 2011). The reversal was brought to the forefront by a long struggle by the Innocence Project, the University of Chicago’s Exoneration Project, and the Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth. These groups all fought forcefully to convince Cook County prosecutors to reevaluate the case in light of the fact that a different individual, and convicted sex offender, was identified as the single-source of the DNA taken from the victim. 

 

   In 1991, middle school student Cateresa Matthews went missing from her grandmother’s house in Dixmoor, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. Her body was recovered three weeks after she was reported missing. Cook County investigators determined the victim had been raped and suffered a gunshot wound to the mouth (Tarren 2011). Investigators collected DNA evidence from the scene, which would prove to be the key to the exoneration of the five young men—each of whom either plead guilty or were convicted of the monstrous crime. The Dixmoor Five, as they were dubbed by the press at the time of the tragic crime, consisted of James Harden, Jonathan Barr, Robert Taylor, Robert Lee Veal, and Shainne Sharp.

 

   The case had gone cold, but “nearly a year after the murder, the Illinois State Police interrogated Veal, a 15-year-old. After five hours in police custody, Veal signed a written statement implicating himself, Taylor, 15; Barr, 15; Harden, 17; and Sharp, 17.” Shortly after, Taylor also signed a written confession, and after 21 hours in custody, Sharp did the same (Chicago News 2011).

 

   According to the Chicago News, “In June 1994, before any of the teenagers were tried, the Illinois State Police crime lab identified a lone male DNA profile from sperm recovered from the victim’s body. Even though all five defendants were excluded as the source of the semen, the prosecution pushed forward, rather than seeking the source of the semen recovered from this young victim.”  Veal and Sharp plead guilty and testified against the three other boys in exchange for a reduced 20-year sentence. They have both been released after serving approximately 10 years each. Meanwhile, their testimony was a critical factor leading to the convictions of Taylor, Harden, and Barr, all of whom remained incarcerated until Taylor’s release last November. Plans are being made to vacate the sentences of the remaining four men, which will lead to the release of Barr and Harden.

 

   The Dixmoor Five case is just one of dozens of wrongful conviction cases in Illinois that has been made public in recent years. All of these teens knew each other from school, including the victim. Defense attorneys claim the teens who confessed were questioned relentlessly, and at least one suspect was told that he could see his parents if he signed the confession (Tarren 2011). Last year, Veal informed his defense lawyers that he repeatedly told police he was not involved in the murder but signed the confession believing that it contained the details of his denials. Veal has been diagnosed with severe learning disabilities, according to his attorney (Grimm, Mills 2011).

 

   One month before Taylor’s release, a new round of DNA evidence testing was completed. When the profile was entered into the Illinois State database, it matched Willie Randolph, a 33-year-old man at the time of the 1991 rape and murder. In ’91, Randolph had already been convicted of a sexual assault and was paroled near the victim’s home. Still, state prosecutors argued against new trials for the men and stated in court that the DNA match to the convicted rapist did not amount to new evidence because the men were excluded by DNA at the trial (Grimm, Mills 2011).

 

   Craig Cooley, a staff attorney with the Innocence Project, stated, “After months of offering up disingenuous arguments to delay justice, we’re relieved the State’s Attorney’s Office has finally seen the light. This case is a classic example of tunnel vision…facts should have sent up a red flag 20 years ago” (Chicago News 2011). Randolph is currently under investigation for the 1991 rape and murder of the young girl. n

 

References

 

Chicago News. Adapted from Adapted from a joint news release by the University of Chicago’s Exoneration Project, the Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth, and the Innocence Project. Law School’s Exoneration Project helps free wrongly convicted man. Retrived December 24, 2011, from http://news.uchicago.edu/article/2011/11/04/law-school039s-exoneration-project-helps-free-wrongly-convicted-man.

 

Mills, S., Grimm, A. Convictions vacated in ’91 rape, slaying of Dixmoor girl. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved December 28, 2011, from http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-11-03/news/chi-prosecutors-vacate-convictions-in-91-rape-slaying-of-dixmoor-girl-20111103_1_dna-tests-cateresa-matthews-murder-convictions.

 

Tareen, Sophia. Convictions Vacated Against 3 In 1991 Dixmoor Rape, Murder. Associated Press Retrieved December 28, 2011, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/03/convictions-vacated-again_0_n_1074763.html.

 

 

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Robert O’Block reports:

The George Zimmerman trial began this morning, June 24th, 2013. Zimmerman, 29  is on trial for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, 17. Zimmerman was a member of his Neighborhood Watch Group and, while doing his duty, was involved in a confrontation in February 2012 with Trayvon Martin in which he shot and killed him. Martin was unarmed.

A jury of 6 female jurors must now decide whether or not Zimmerman acted in self-defense. This case has proven to be one of the most divisive cases in recent history, especially due to Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law.

 

The case started today with Zimmerman’s family being removed from the courtroom. The tape of the 911 call between Zimmerman and police was played. In the call either Zimmerman or Martin is calling for help, though it has not yet been determined who. Finding out the answer to this could prove pivotal in determining Zimmerman’s state of mind, and whether or not he was genuinely acting out in self-defense. Two audio experts’ testimonies have been deemed inadmissible at court, so the jury will have to make the ultimate decision.

 

Robert O’Block, PhD, is the founder of the Center for National Threat Assessment, CNTA.

 

Source: http://gma.yahoo.com/george-zimmermans-family-ordered-leave-courtroom-start-trial-123348738–abc-news-topstories.html

Learn more about Robert O’Block here.

Robert O’Block reports that for almost nine months 16-year-old Skylar Neese of  Star City, West Virgnia, was missing.  She had vanished without a trace.  Friends and family posted fliers all over town, at gas stations, on utility poles, and even in tattoo parlors.  There was nowhere you could go in this small town without seeing Skylar’s face.

One night last summer she sneaked out of her bedroom window, and was spotted by a security camera getting into a car, willingly, at the end of the block.  While there were some in this town of fewer than 2,000 people who thought she ran away, others never believed that theory.

The police investigated many leads, but to no avail.  Finally, nearly nine months after she disappeared, one of Skylar’s friends came forward and confessed that she and another girl had plotted to kill her.  This confession stunned everyone, including the investigators who had spent many hours working on the case.

Based on court documents, the two girls were charged with luring Skylar out of her family’s apartment in the middle of the night, stabbing her to death at a moment that was previously agreed upon by the two girls, and then concealing her body under some branches in a Pennsylvania township approximately 30 miles away from her own home.

The pair not only spent time with Skylar’s mother after the murder, but they even assisted in the search.  One of the two assailants, now identified as 16-year-old Rachel Shoaf, has now pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, and is currently in a juvenile detention center waiting for her sentencing.

The other girl’s name has not yet been released due to the confidentiality of juvenile court.  At this time, they are unsure whether the second girl will be tried as an adult, as Shoaf was, or as a minor.

In the court file on Shoaf, prosecutors advise that they plan to request a 20-year prison sentence, but it’s possible that she could get as many as 40 years under the law.

Local barber BJ McClead is astonished that two teen girls could keep up this type of deception from July to January.  McClead went on to say that “some of the criminals that are locked up for life aren’t that hard.”

Brought to you by Robert O’Block

Source:  http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/05/25/wva-town-transfixed-by-teen-girls-plot-to-kill-friend-but-biggest-question/?test=latestnews

Brought to you by Robert O’Block.

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The image above is one of Robert O’Block’s groundbreaking Whodunit? posts. Robert O’Block, PhD, is the founder of the American College of Forensic Examiners Institute.

The following story is brought to you by Robert O’Block.

UPDATE: JODI ARIAS HAS BEEN FOUND GUILTY OF MURDER IN THE 1st DEGREE

Robert O’Block has found a link with live updates on the trial for Jodi Arias. This case is currently on a verdict watch as the Jury is supposed to release their verdict at 3:30pm ET.

Jodi Arias is accused of killing her former lover Travis Alexander. Arias has admitted that she slit his throat, stabbed him over 27 times, and shot him in the head. Arias has told multiple stories, including in an interview with Inside Edition where she stated that she was at the crime scene but that he was murdered by home invaders. Arias claims she was able to escape but never called the police as she wanted to pretend it never happened. Arias has also previously said she was not at the crime scene, though her DNA was found. Later on, Arias admitted that she did kill Travis, but says it was in self defense and she did not originally tell police because she wanted people to have positive memories of Travis. The prosecution claims that the murder was pre-planned, as Arias had rented a car and a gun from her grandparents’ home had gone missing just weeks before. The gun, a .25 caliber, is the same type of gun that was used to kill Travis.

This case has gained the most notoriety since the trial of Casey Anthony. Part of the reason for the allure is the relationship between the two. Travis was Mormon, and Jodi became Mormon shortly after meeting him. However, based on the evidence of photos, texts, and e-mails, it appears that their relationship was far from innocent. A camera with explicit photos was found at the crime scene in the washing machine, the washer having ran through a cycle with the camera inside. The camera also contained pictures of Travis in the shower posing for photos, and then of his body on the ground in blood just a short time later.

The country anxiously awaits as the jury decides the fate of Jodi Arias. For more information and to view the main source of the story, click here.

Brought to you by Robert O’Block

Robert O’Block, PhD, is the founder of The American College of Forensic Examiners Institute.