Undercover – Busted
Scott Smith, the owner of Wilco, a company located on the Ship Channel that sells over a million dollars worth of parts a month to the oil industry, had been informed by a customer that they saw one of the counter salesmen pocket cash.
Our Undercover Investigators Get Involved
An undercover agent from Gradoni & Associates was hired to work at the Company. The undercover agent was able to identify three individuals who were keeping the cash from sales and voiding the counter tickets to avoid detection. Armed with this information, two additional undercover agents went to the business on numerous occasions, targeting the three suspects. The undercover agents made cash transactions with the suspects. A review of the Company’s books the following morning revealed that the cash transactions were never placed in the system.
Vice President, Investigator Carey Wellmaker, did a fantastic job coordinating the undercover efforts keeping the chain of custody of the items purchased and documenting each and every transaction, by audio tape and written report.
Criminal Charges Follow
When a felony amount was logged on each suspect HPD arrested all three, who gave confessions before they were booked. The very detailed documentation developed by Carey gave HPD the slam dunk.
After the arrest, Chief Investigator J.J. Gradoni interviewed other employees of the business. As usual, most of them knew that the thefts were taking place but did not want to come forth and be labeled as “a snitch”. Two of the Counter Managers admitted that they were aware that the thefts were taking place. One of the Counter Managers admitted in his interview that he had taken cash, himself. All three were subsequently fired.
During the course of the interviews it was learned that the suspects were aware that there was a good possibility there was an undercover agent working at the Company but they continued to stuff their pockets with money that didn’t belong to them. At the end of the day, six “bad apples” were gone and Company morale had been given a huge boost. Each of the three former employees were charged with engaging in organized criminal activities.
Two of the defendants pleaded guilty, receiving 4 years Probation, a $500 fine with restitution to Wilco. The third Defendant pleaded guilty also, receiving 2 years Probation, a $550 fine with restitution.
We feel that the use of our investigative services have gone a long way in proving the “Truth Makes A Difference”.
RESULT BASED ON INVESTIGATION: Criminal Charges