Risk Management

Risk-based approach to employment screening rates high on value chain

In today’s world just about every company knows that an effective employment screening program is invaluable for hiring qualified individuals, reducing turnover, deterring fraud and other criminal actions, and avoiding or mitigating litigation.

Recognizing that a “bad” hire is a threat to the bottom line, many companies, from investment bankers to law firms, are taking a risk-focused approach to background investigations and deciding what is appropriate or how much should be done to ensure organizational success. For example, obtaining a credit report or checking civil records for an entry-level applicant with low risk responsibilities may be of limited use, while reviewing such record histories for someone who will handle money or have access to sensitive information may be imperative in assessing his/her suitability for a position of trust.

Best practices in both the government and in the private sector indicate that a risk designation should be determined for every position, based on its description of duties and responsibilities. The risk grade should be commensurate with the employee’s assigned trust level, financial accountability, access to sensitive and confidential information and critical data systems, autonomy, discretionary authority, and potential opportunity for misconduct.

To be effective and non-discriminatory, employment screening policies need to specify a uniform set of background investigation elements for all position/assignment levels, including new hires, temporary workers, interns, transferred and promoted employees, contractors and volunteers.

SI has a full suite of employment background investigation products. Please visit our website at https://scherzer.co/ to learn more or order an investigation.

Prime Bank Frauds

Prime bank schemes generally claim that investors’ funds will be used to purchase and trade “prime bank” financial instruments on clandestine overseas markets, and generate huge returns. However, neither these instruments, nor the markets on which they allegedly trade, exist. To legitimize the schemes, the promoters distribute documents that appear complex, sophisticated and official. They frequently tell investors that they have special access to programs that otherwise would be reserved for top financiers on Wall Street, or in London, Geneva and other world financial centers. Possible profits of 100% or more with little risk also are touted.

The fraudsters target individuals and entities, including municipalities, charitable associations and other non-profit organizations. They advertise in national newspapers, such as USA Today and The Wall Street Journal, and often avoid using the term “prime bank note” in their spiel. In fact, investors are told that the programs do not involve prime bank instruments so that they appear legitimate.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) posted the following warning signs of “prime bank” investment fraud:

  • Excessive guaranteed returns

Promises of unrealistic returns, of 20% to 200% monthly, at no risk, are the hallmarks of prime bank fraud.

  • Fictitious financial instruments

Despite credible-sounding names, the “financial instruments” at the heart of any prime bank scheme simply do not exist. Fraudsters frequently claim that the offered financial instrument is issued, traded, guaranteed, or endorsed by the World Bank (Department of Institutional Integrity or Operations Evaluation Department), International Monetary Fund (IMF), Federal Reserve, Department of Treasury, International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), or an international central bank.

  • Extreme secrecy

Fraudsters maintain that the transactions must be kept confidential by all parties, making client references unavailable. They describe the transactions as the best-kept secret in the banking industry, and assert that, if asked, bank and regulatory officials would deny knowledge of such instruments. Investors may be prompted to sign nondisclosure agreements.

  • Exclusive opportunity

Fraudsters claim that the investment opportunities are by invitation only, available to a handful of special customers, and historically reserved for the wealthy elite.

  • Complex presentations

Explanations often are vague about who is involved in the transaction or where the money is going. Fraudsters cover up the lack of specificity by stating that the financial instruments are too technical or complex for non-experts to understand.

Members of the Financial Community

Members of the Financial Community
FM: Larry Scherzer, President, Scherzer International
RE: Background Investigations in the Current Economic Environment

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As a part of its Risk Management Program, one of our financial services clients asked us to conduct a Prospective Client Background Investigation. This is a well-accepted best practice for protecting the firm’s reputation and minimizing legal liabilities.

SI’s investigation in 2006 revealed that the subject company and its principal were involved in dubious business practices. As you may have guessed, based on this initial discovery, our client declined the engagement.

Recent headlines have now verified, years after our investigation, that the prospective client had, in fact, been running what can best be described as a long-standing Ponzi scheme.

This experience demonstrates the benefits of obtaining background investigations that provide comprehensively researched and analyzed information as a key element in your Risk Management Program.

Please visit www.scherzer.com or telephone 800-SC-FACTS to find out more about managing business risk for pennies on the dollar… because we never take integrity for granted


Larry S. Scherzer

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