By Cari Gervin
Community News Writer
When Scott Dieter says he is a forensic investigator, visions of “C.S.I.” might dance in one’s head.
Mr. Dieter does not work on grisly crime scenes, however. His specialized skills are used to investigate a different, even more rampant type of crime —; fraud.
A Certified Fraud Examiner, Mr. Dieter said he has seen it all, from thieving managers to embezzling longtime trusted bookkeepers. The prevalence of fraud, he said, is why he opened Signal Consulting six months ago.
“One thing that’s always been around is fraud,” Mr. Dieter said.
Mr. Dieter specializes in loss prevention, business risk consulting and fraud investigations for small to medium-sized businesses.
“Mom-and-pop businesses … are just as vulnerable as big businesses to embezzlement,” Mr. Dieter said.
Mr. Dieter has worked in loss prevention and risk assessment for over a decade, first for Spiegel and Eddie Bauer in Chicago and then for the City of Chattanooga Police Department.
With Signal Consulting, he visits small companies and assesses the ways they might be vulnerable to employee theft, embezzlement and other forms of fraud.
“So many people just trust everyone,” Mr. Dieter said. “ I hate to be skeptical, but I’ve doing this for 10 years and I’ve seen it all.”
Large retail companies like Wal-Mart have their own full-time loss prevention staff. Smaller retail companies, which might have just one store in Chattanooga, will contract with Mr. Dieter on a per-job basis.
“There’s so much out there that’s not reported in the paper,” Mr. Dieter noted.
When he does do his forensic work, Mr. Dieter simply investigates the suspected fraud and pulls all the facts together for the business owner so that she can present the information to the police if she decides to file charges.
Although he still works for the police, he hopes Signal Consulting will soon take off enough to be a full-time job on its own.
In the meantime, he has started a Chattanooga chapter of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners and is working to raise awareness of the importance of his profession.
“With the Internet, there’s a lot more fraud. People are more aware, but there’s a large market out there (for fraud),” Mr. Dieter said.
E-mail Cari Gervin at firstname.lastname@example.org
Signal Consulting can be reached at email@example.com.