Fraudulent claims account for a significant portion of claims received by government authorities and financial institutions such as insurance companies, costing world economies trillions of dollars annually. Fraudulent activities involve provision of falsified information or reporting of intentional damage or self-inflicted injury. The types and forms of fraud are varied and have evolved with time, as fraudsters constantly seek new ways to pull off their scams.
Forensic science has been applied to detect and investigate fraudulent claims, providing objective physical evidence to support or or refute a claim. Our forensic experts have investigated cases of fabricated documents, self-inflicted injuries as well as instances where the extent of damage had been falsified. Here are some case studies to illustrate the wide range of forensic disciplines that have been employed to examine different types of fraudulent claims.
Case studies involving fabricated documents
Cases involving fabricated documents span industries. Our forensic scientists apply specialised knowledge and expertise in questioned documents by examining the authenticity of handwriting, signatures, company stamp impressions, purported dates of documents, as well as irregularities and inconsistencies indicating signs of alteration, substitution and fabrication. Cases encountered include:
- Employment fraud where the employer fabricated an employment contract to include terms and conditions that were unfavourable to the employee.
- Instances of embezzlement where the employee misappropriated company funds by fabricating payment vouchers that were addressed to himself using cut-and-paste manipulations.
- A case of over-billing where the contractor backdated numerous invoices and work orders and billed a developer of a construction project for work that had not been carried out and for equipment that was not delivered.
- An insurance fraud case where among the policies bought by the applicant, one bore a signature that was not written by the applicant.
- A falsified claim for GST rebates where the company submitted fraudulent documents to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) for falsified purchases.
- Fabricated or altered medical certificates and fraudulent claims where the clinic claimed government subsidies and grants for medical procedures that were not performed.
Case studies involving self-inflicted injuries and falsifying the extent of damage
Insurance fraud can also pertain to cases where a person files a false claim for self-inflicted injuries or falsifies the extent of damage. In workplace incidents, cases have been encountered where the worker intentionally injures himself for liability claims. For such cases, experts conduct forensic analysis of the damage and transfer evidence on items associated with the incident, some of which may require conducting bloodstain patterns analysis, chemical analysis and simulation experiments. Types of cases include:
- A workplace safety incident where the worker claimed for head injury due to objects that had fallen from a height when he was making his way into the warehouse to retrieve some materials requested by his supervisor.
- A workplace safety incident where the thumb of a worker was nearly severed by a rotary cutter when he was cutting concrete.
- A slip and fall accident where a worker claimed that he fell from a height of several metres to the ground while standing and working on a stack of concrete slabs.
- A traffic collision case where the extent of damage on the vehicle was falsified by the repair workshop.
- A property insurance case of arson where the business owner set fire to maliciously burn his shophouse and goods.