If your company’s finances aren’t adding up, you may wonder: is my business partner stealing money? Suspecting your business partner is committing fraud can be devastating. Fraud can cause serious damage to your business, and the perpetrators may face jail time.
Most business partner fraud involves stealing cash from the company or tax evasion. A private investigator offering business services can help uncover the extent of the crime.
Global Investigations are experts in corporate investigations. In this guide, we’ll explain the types of business fraud and how to recognise it. We’ll also discuss what to do if your business partner is committing fraud.
Is Your Business Partner Committing Fraud?
Nobody wants to assume the worst of their business partner. Fraud, however, is a serious crime. It can have devastating consequences for both the company and the individual(s) involved.
If you think your business partner is committing fraud, it’s important to gather evidence against them. The best way to do this is by hiring a private detective to conduct an investigation. Failing to act means that you could be implicated alongside your business partner.
Corporate fraud committed by business owners can take many forms. The two most common types are asset misappropriation and tax fraud.
Asset misappropriation occurs when an owner or employee steals company assets for their own personal gain. The theft may involve cash or non-cash assets, such as intellectual property.
A dishonest business partner may attempt to disguise their stealing by conducting other forms of fraud alongside it. For example:
- Payroll fraud: creating a fictitious employee and taking their salary
- Embezzlement: altering the business’s accounts, e.g. creating invoices for sales that did not occur
Depending on methods used, the penalty for stealing from a company may involve a fine or prison sentence.
Tax fraud, or tax evasion, is the deliberate misrepresentation of information on a business tax return. In business, this is usually done by under-reporting income or exaggerating expenses. The aim of tax fraud is to lower the amount of tax a company owes.
Suspected tax fraud is serious: it’s essentially a form of stealing from the government. In the UK, the maximum penalty is an unlimited fine or up to seven years in prison.
Signs Your Business Partner Is Committing Fraud
Business fraud can be difficult to prove without conducting a full corporate investigation. However, there are some signs to watch out for that may suggest your business partner is committing fraud. For example:
- Changes in their lifestyle (e.g. buying a new sports car)
- Spending more time than usual with the accounting team, or refusing to communicate with them at all
- Unexplained business transactions
- An increase in expenses for no obvious reason
- Your recent business tax bill is smaller than you expected
- Cash is missing from the business bank account
Your business partner may seem reluctant to discuss the company’s finances. When you mention something unusual that you’ve noticed, they may become defensive or change the subject.
What to Do If Your Business Partner Is Stealing
If you’ve noticed the above signs, you may be wondering: “how do I go about proving my business partner committed fraud?” Whether they’re stealing or committing another form of fraud, mere suspicions don’t hold up in court.
To take action against your business partner, you’ll need concrete proof that they have broken the law. The easiest way to do this is to hire a private investigator. Corporate services will find hard evidence of any fraud being committed, and by whom.
Business and workplace fraud investigations are kept strictly confidential, so your partner won’t know they’re being scrutinised. Following the investigation, you’ll receive a detailed report to share with your lawyer. Private investigator reports can almost always be used as evidence in court.
What Does a Corporate Fraud Investigation Involve?
Every corporate fraud investigation is conducted on a case-by-case basis. No two investigations are the same; the process may take anywhere from weeks to months. For large corporations, fraud investigations may even last years. A variety of techniques can be used, such as:
- Business intelligence
- In-depth research into the company’s finances
- Covert surveillance
- Background checks
- Asset tracing
- Cyber investigations
An experienced private detective will devise a strategy based on your business and the nature of the fraud. They’ll provide you with a detailed plan and a cost breakdown before beginning the investigation.
Hire a Business Personal Investigator with Global Investigations
Because the consequences of business partner fraud can be so serious, it’s important to act quickly. Global Investigations can help. We are a world-renowned private investigative agency offering business, legal, private and technical services.
Our highly experienced agents are expert in detecting corporate and workplace fraud of all kinds. We’ll find solid evidence of any crimes committed by your business partner and provide you with a comprehensive report.
Contact Global Investigations today to learn more about our business services. Fill in our form or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call 0800 073 3555 from the UK, or 00 44 20 8287 7770 from overseas.