Two men, two sides of white-collar crime: one built a high-flying legal career-then crashed
By Jeff Sanford
THE CATCHER: Kevin Bousquet, owner, Corpa Group Inc., an 11-year-old private investigation service
AVERAGE FEE: $650 to $1,000 for a basic asset check; $50 to $60 per hour for a complete investigation
ANNUAL REVENUES: "less then $1 million"
CLIENTS: primarily insurance companies, plus major banks, law firms and other corporate concerns
BEST WAYS TO CATCH FRAUD ARTISTS: "Most often it's not the gadgets" - tracking software on a suspect's computer or pinhole cameras in offices - "but audits and interviews that pay out"
Two weeks after graduating from college in 1986 with a diploma in law enforcement, Bousquet found himself involved in one of the decade's most infamous murder trials: the case against Helmuth Buxbaum, a wealthy nursing-home operator who wanted his wife killed - and paid his cocaine dealer and two accomplices $25,000 to do it. "I couldn't believe it. It was right into the deep end," says Bousquet, whose job was to interview witnesses for the police. Nowadays, his Mississauga, Ont. - based Corpa Group digs into employee fraud. A first step in any investigation, explains Bousquet, 37 is to put together a file on the suspect's finances in case an order to lock up assets and freeze bank accounts is needed: "As soon as this person knows we know, he's going to liquidate". Bousquet then begins to dig deeper. "Basically," he says, "it's to see whether there 's been a major lifestyle change. It the guys buys a BMW in cash within a few months of when the fraud started, that's relevant." It's rarely dull work. "Fraud comes in a thousands varieties", he notes - anything from merchandise diverted at a warehouse to an employee sending cheques to a phony company. So why don't clients go to the police first, instead of paying him? "Ask any sergeant in a fraud unit and he'll tell you that they're backed up to a year and a half," says Bousquet. "If the amount is under $500,000, the investigation won't get much attention. "When and investigation is complete, his client will often ask to lay criminal charges privately. Then it's on to most difficult stage - the "crapshoot" in the court, where cases often flounder because of legal technicalities. "It's not hard to find out if you're being ripped off. It's also not hart to catch people. In fact, that's the easy part".
Photos by Gary Mulcahey