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Book Review: Financial Investigations

How to Do Financial Asset Investigations. By Ronald L. Mendell. ​Charles C. Thomas;; 242 pages; $35.95.

 This well-organized publication is a worthwhile resource for anyone who is charged with conducting financial asset investigations. Laid out in a logical fashion, the fifth edition of How to Do Financial Asset Investigations goes into just the right amount of detail for each covered topic.

Information gath­ering is becoming in many ways more difficult due to privacy concerns and data breaches that occur seemingly daily. Conversely, informational media are rapidly growing, and author Ronald Mendell stresses the need to compare online resources against print sources, human sources, and other available sources to corroborate the information.

This book lists several resources for gathering information, many of which are commonplace and should be known even to the novice investigator. However, some of the sources listed by the author are not so well known and provide excellent repositories of information. Mendell makes a good point regarding consciously using a commonsense approach for natural language searches when using the Internet as a tool. He correctly indicates that the searcher must stay up to date regarding the various websites and other resources. It is imperative for the investigator to think beyond blindly using the same static lists, because websites are constantly changing.

A fictional case study illustrates how to tie together other bits of information with public data. He uses this example to emphasize the numerous sources of information and the added value of link analysis software. The author discusses how the discovery of prior litigation for the targets of investigation may prove invaluable.

In summary, this book is well conceived and accomplishes its stated intent. The experienced investigator will be reminded of many sources that can be used every day. The novice investigator will learn about specific sources of information and how to analyze data. This useful and well-written book will prove to be an excellent resource.

Reviewer: James E. Whitaker, CPP, PCI, CFE (Certified Fraud Examiner) has more than 45 years of experience in investigations. He serves on the ASIS International Healthcare Council and the PCI Review Course faculty.