With eyes flint sharp he cut straight to the chase, leaving hope in tattered ribbons on the floor.
How many people out of 10 would cheat or bend the rules given the opportunity?
“Nine,” Ken Fagan declared with a certitude that killed both any prospect of cross-examination and a passing butterfly stone-dead.
With 25 years experience as a Victorian police officer and 15 years running his own private investigations and training company – the Australian Security Management Group – Fagan’s view is supported by the evidence.
From the stereotypical cheating spouse or cyber love-rat to the corporate fraudster it seems we have good grounds to be suspicious.
The digital age has provided opportunity as never before.
Throw in the economic downturn and you have motive, which has led to a huge increase in fraud from the small-scale overtime rorts of the factory floor to multi-million dollar corporate heists.
Most crime is not spectacular nor dramatic. It’s a clerk moving a decimal point. Or, as another senior ex-police officer Tim Carrodus puts it, a mugging without bruises.
A former investigator for the United Nations and the World Bank Group, Carrodus is back in Braybrook running the Bottomline Investigation and Advisory Service.
With Australia in the grip of what Price WaterhouseCoopers has described as an “epidemic of fraud” he has his work cut out for him.
The figures are shocking, with insurance fraud alone estimated to cost the community $2 billion a year.
Nothing surprises Carrodus. Not the life-long business partner who empties out the company coffers, not the businessman who falsely claims all his expensive luggage stolen.
But then his last gig was the Congo – that’s the real heart of darkness.