The Case of the Shell Companies

“The Billing Scam”

Attorney Phillip Hilder, one of our most tenured clients, referred Gradoni & Associates to one of Houston’s largest commercial land development companies.

The individual in charge of Company signage abruptly quit, taking the majority of the documents at her station with her which caused alarm and concern by Management.

Our Investigation Begins

Our investigation revealed that the Company signage budget for the last two years had been expended in the first quarter of each year. The investigation revealed that there were two major vendors receiving all of the signage business. After further investigation, it was revealed that each of the two vendors were actually “shell companies” set up by the female employee and her boyfriend.

A Start-Up Fake Business for False Profit

The pair had outsourced the signage work to legitimate companies. They then doubled and tripled what would have been the normal invoice to our client. The female suspect was in charge of approving and seeing that the invoices were paid (to herself and her boyfriend). The whole scheme came to an abrupt halt when the President of the Company just happened to reassign the signage supervision to someone else, thus prompting the female to resign with no notice and take what evidence she thought was the implicating paper trail with her.

Gradoni & Associates Investigators reviewed hundreds of invoices and matched them with the appropriate outsource company. The outsource company cooperated with the investigation and allowed our Investigators to review their invoices in order to discover the amount our client was over-billed. Over a two and a half year period the client’s losses exceeded over a million dollars. The client chose to initiate civil lawsuits against both parties which eventually resulted in an agreed settlement.

Return to the March 2015 Investigator’s Newsletter