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MKD assists fraud victims trying to recoup losses

By AdvocateDaily.com Staff

MKD International Inc. can help victims of financial fraud build a case against the perpetrators, says Jim Downs, the firm’s founding partner and managing director.

MKD is frequently called in to assist businesses in the aftermath of a theft, often retaining third-party experts such as forensic investigators to help identify missing funds, as well as the culprits who may be working within the organization.

“We will gather electronic or physical evidence and help establish that a fraud has occurred,” Downs tells AdvocateDaily.com.

That evidence is then typically passed on to the authorities for possible use in criminal proceedings, he says.

Downs says the unfortunate reality of modern policing is that victims are often forced to do their own legwork, a fact he knows all too well as a former Toronto police detective.

“Fraud is pretty low on the food chain in terms of investigation and prosecution,” he says. “Police will go after the really large or high-profile matters, but not much else.”

Even then, convictions are notoriously difficult for prosecutors to achieve in these cases, and Canadian courts tend to take a gentler sentencing approach than their American counterparts, Downs says.

Alternatively, he says the same evidence could be used in a civil action against individual fraudsters.

“You may not want to go down the criminal path in all frauds, but at least you can get some of your assets back with a civil action,” he says. “Much of the time, we’re there to gather intelligence and track people down.

“We’re also working to identify assets and chase money owned by these people because it’s one thing to get a judgment against someone, and quite another to collect on it,” Downs adds.

Given policing and prosecution trends, as well as the increasing technological ability of criminals, Downs says financial fraud is only likely to increase as an issue for individuals and businesses in the future.

“If you’re looking at a fine or short jail sentence if you’re caught, that’s not much of a deterrent,” he says. “It becomes more like a cost of doing business.”

As a result, MKD focuses a great deal on prevention.

“We’re involved in tightening security and mitigating future breaches by identifying vulnerabilities in systems,” Downs says.

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