A note about ethical standards
We do not violate the law in the course of our inquiries. Our clients neither expect nor desire to be associated with illegal or unethical practices and we go to considerable lengths to ensure that doesn’t happen.
All of our employees and contractors are required to abide by our code of conduct and, if the requested information cannot be obtained legally, we will not seek it.
We do NOT conduct investigations on behalf of persons charged with criminal offences or persons engaged in family law (divorce) matters.
CHRIS MATHERS INC. is bonded, insured and licensed as a Private Investigation agency under the relevant legislation of the Province of Ontario. A copy of this documentation is available for review at our offices.
FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC DUE DILIGENCE
In today’s highly regulated business environment, knowing the background of potential customers, employees, partners and others is essential and, in certain cases, mandated by law.
CHRIS MATHERS INC. has the capability of providing timely and accurate information on individuals and corporations in any country in the world.
In North America, we have access to a vast array of public, private and commercial databases that allow us to provide our clients with an overview of the litigation history, past business activities and overall business reputation of individuals or corporations.
Overseas, we make use of “on the ground” contacts in foreign countries who have the necessary local knowledge and experience to provide relevant intelligence; intelligence that is a necessity if you wish to make enlightened business decisions.
Last year, CHRIS MATHERS INC., conducted more than 250 investigations of individuals and corporate entities in the following jurisdictions:
- Dominican Republic
- St. Lucia
- St. Vincent
- South Korea
- United Arab Emirates
At CHRIS MATHERS INC. we use information gathering techniques similar to those currently in use by military, law enforcement and intelligence agencies. These techniques typically employ Internet data mining strategies and information from commercial databases as a framework from which to develop human information sources.
SPECIALIZED SERVICES FOR IMMIGRATION LAWYERS AND CONSULTANTS
CHRIS MATHERS INC. provides due diligence services to immigration lawyers and consultants worldwide. We have significant experience with the immigrant investor and economic citizenship programs of various nations. We understand the challenges that exist when attempting to gather or confirm background information in certain jurisdictions. Our network of international contacts and data sources allows us to provide timely and accurate background information on immigrant applicants.
What are Computer Forensics?
Computer Forensics is the gathering of evidence of inappropriate or criminal activity from a device that stores information electronically. What kind of devices can have evidence stored on them?
Any device that has a memory capacity, such as:
- Computer hard drives
- Credit and Debit cards
- Digital cameras
- External drives
- Flash disks
- Memory chips and cards
- Mobile phones
- Telephones and Handheld devices
- USB devices
Why can’t my IT person gather the evidence?
Typically, IT personnel lack the specialised training required to gather, preserve and analyze evidence in a manner that is acceptable to a court. For example, simply by turning on a suspect computer, many files are altered and evidence can be corrupted.
What will a Computer Forensic Specialist do to gather the evidence?
A Computer Forensic Specialist will use specialized tools, software and hardware to detect and record information that would be undetectable to an untrained person. Typically, they will “image “a suspect device in order to preserve evidence. Imaging could be compared to taking a photograph, since a second identical piece of memory, is created.
The Computer Forensic Specialist can then manipulate the imaged copy in a variety of ways in order to extract evidence. Because of this, the original device is never altered and remains in the same state that it was when it was seized.
Can deleted information be recovered?
In certain circumstances, deleted files can be recovered using specialized tools and techniques. Even if a commercially available “wiping tool” has been used, evidence can sometimes still be obtained.
Even in circumstances where data has not been damaged by intentional acts but as a result of errors or technical failures, our technicians may be able to recover it.
ASSET TRACING & RECOVERY
What exactly is “Asset Tracing”?
Asset Tracing is the legal investigation of the method(s) by which assets have been converted and/or transported for the purpose of distancing or disassociating those assets from their true owner.
Why is it done?
Assets are traced for two reasons:
- To identify them as the proceeds of crime
- To assist in ultimately returning them to their rightful owner
How is it done?
When the proceeds of criminal activity are moved to another jurisdiction, they will typically pass though a number of intermediaries such as, financial institutions, lawyers or corporate entities before reaching their final destination. In order to connect those proceeds back to the criminals to whom they really belong, or to the victims that were initially deprived of the funds, it is necessary to “collapse” those entities. Collapsing refers to finding evidence that proves that the entities were made use of, or contrived, for the sole purpose of making the asset more difficult to trace.
What about privacy considerations?
Personal privacy is legislated in most jurisdictions. The information required to effectively trace assets, both internationally and domestically, can rarely be obtained without the direction of a court. For this reason, at CHRIS MATHERS INC., we typically conduct Asset Tracing operations in association with lawyers, law enforcement or government agencies.
What is our experience?
CHRIS MATHERS INC. investigators have extensive international experience in the tracing of assets. Our worldwide network of contacts, coupled with our foreign investigative experience, allows us to act quickly and decisively for our clients.
CHRIS MATHERS INC. was engaged in 2004 by the Independent Inquiry Committee Into the United Nations Oil-for-Food Programme to assist in the tracing of assets that were allegedly misappropriated by UN employees, independent contractors and others.
We do not conduct asset tracing and recovery investigations for persons involved in family law (divorce) matters.
What is our experience?
CHRIS MATHERS INC. investigators are former members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and former criminal investigators/special agents from United States Federal law enforcement agencies. They possess extensive experience in the investigation of money laundering offences, to include the U.S. Patriot and Bank Secrecy Acts and , Certain of our personnel, during their tenure in law enforcement, were attached to undercover storefront money laundering operations in Canada and the United States, giving them a unique insight into the true nature of this type of crime.
How do we investigate Fraud?
Although no two investigations are the same, a typical fraud investigation involves a detailed review of documents, interviews of witnesses and analysis of the evidence. Our client is then provided with a written report or given a presentation of our findings.
What happens next?
The next step is up to the client and their legal counsel. If there is sufficient evidence to warrant a civil or criminal action, we will provide the necessary investigational support to assist in that process. This may include such things as forensic accounting, document and handwriting analysis, DNA analysis or physical surveillance
If you suspect that you are a victim of a fraud, should you notify the police?
Although you are not obliged by law to do so, notifying the police of a fraud is one possible course of action. However, there are advantages and disadvantages to involving law enforcement in the investigation of a fraud. It has been our experience that, in the overwhelming majority of fraud cases, our clients prefer to not to involve the Police. The reasons for this are many and varied:
- The police are inundated with fraud reports and may not have the manpower to investigate your complaint immediately, if at all.
- Once the police begin an investigation, the complainant no longer has any control over its direction or outcome.
- Unfavourable publicity can not be controlled and there is no guarantee of a successful outcome.
- Fraud is a non-violent crime. Typically, the perpetrators of frauds receive little or no time in jail.
- Orders of restitution are rare and difficult to enforce.
- The role of the police is to investigate crime. They are not in the business of recovering your assets.
At CHRIS MATHERS INC., we enjoy a healthy working relationship with the law enforcement in many countries. If, upon the conclusion of our investigation, a client wishes to involve the police, we will prepare and deliver a brief of evidence in a form that will enable law enforcement to act upon it with confidence.
What types of fraud do we investigate?
- Accounting fraud
- Advance fee schemes
- Cheque fraud
- Computer fraud
- Expense account fraud
- Fraudulent conveyances
- Gaming fraud and Cheating at Play
- Illegal telemarketing
- Internet fraud schemes
- Manipulation of financial statements
- Mortgage fraud
- Real estate fraud
- Secret commissions
- Securities Fraud
- Supplier fraud
What is our experience?
CHRIS MATHERS INC. investigators are former members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and have extensive experience in the investigation of money laundering offences. Certain of our personnel, during their tenure with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, were attached to undercover “storefront” money laundering operations in Canada and the United States, giving them a unique insight into the true nature of this type of crime.
The primary responsibility for the investigation of money laundering offences belongs to law enforcement agencies. Many clients however, prefer to investigate potential money laundering activity before notifying the regulators or law enforcement. Often by doing so, clients are better able to assess the true nature of the activity in question and better manage any reputational risk associated with it, prior to contacting the authorities.
How do we investigate Money Laundering activity?
Initially, our investigators will review the fact situation as provided by the client. They will then conduct a detailed examination of the potential money laundering activity. This examination may include document examination, witness interviews, background investigations and computer forensics. After our initial review, we will then brief the client as to our findings, providing suggestions on possible courses of action.
What happens next?
If the money laundering activity is of a type that the client is obliged by statute to report, we will continue to work with theclient as a liaison with the police and the regulators.
In cases where our clients have become unwittingly involved in money laundering activity or where an employee has committed a money laundering offences, negative media attention is often the result.
We have found that the impact of negative publicity can be reduced through the immediate commencement of remedial activity such as a Money Laundering Compliance Review.
CHRIS MATHERS INC. has extensive experience in providing support to clients who are involved in, or planning to commence litigation. Depending on the type and jurisdiction of the civil action, we are able to provide our clients with both strategic and tactical support in such areas as:
- Asset tracing
- Background investigations
- Interview planning
- Locating witnesses
- Liaison with law enforcement
- Net worth assessments
In addition to the above we have experience in the planning, drafting and execution of Mareva Injunctions and Anton Pillar Orders, in Canada and internationally.
In order to maintain solicitor-client privilege, it is our practice to be engaged by clients’ counsel.
In concert with our strategic partners, CHRIS MATHERS INC. provides a physical surveillance capability to selected clients. Our surveillance investigators are former law enforcement officers with substantial experience in vehicular, foot and aerial surveillance. This service is discreet, effective and provides intelligence that would otherwise be unavailable using traditional methods.
A note about surveillance
The decision to make use of surveillance is not one that should be taken lightly. It is our practice to caution our clients that the use of physical surveillance, although legal, is an extremely intrusive investigative aid. Clients should satisfy themselves, prior to resorting to surveillance, that all other types of investigational techniques have been unsuccessful or are unlikely to succeed.
We do NOT conduct surveillance operations on behalf of persons involved in family law (divorce) matters.