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Criminal Justice Articles

What does an Economic Crime Investigator do?

Economic crime investigation is a growing field within the law enforcement career path. Economic crime investigators are involved with crime that deals with the acquisition, theft, or damage performed on an economic system, individual business, or person. Crimes would include, but are not limited to, fraud, extortion, identity theft, insider trading, and investor fraud. The work of an economic crime investigator is highly technical and requires a firm knowledge and understanding of information technologies and the laws that govern information including its retrieval. A high propensity for technology and computer science is needed for this career in the criminal justice field.

Economic crime investigators work with local law enforcement agencies, federal agencies, and private corporations to secure and find security breaches and those responsible for the breach. Economic crime investigators work with both law enforcement and large corporations or businesses through monitoring and overseeing information systems. The individual will be trained in the technologies of servers, computer binary code, retrieval of the information contained on these devices, and the means by which outsiders can gain access to said information. Think of the economic crime investigator as digital accountant meets detective meets computer geek. Essentially, the individual will need to have the same skills as a detective and investigator, as well as the skills of a network analyst and computer technician.

The economic crime investigator will spend hours researching a case by delving into the registry files, log files, and access reports of an economic system--whether it is a business or personal account. The individual will extrapolate the data and information about the breach or security infraction and determine when and where the crime took place if possible. The investigator will report these findings to the head of the investigation as evidence and support for leads and suspects. The information can and most often does end up in court and the economic crime investigator may need to testify in court cases. In these instances, the individual is treated as an expert witness and offers their findings to the court as it pertains to the case at hand.

Some of the skills needed for the position include deductive reasoning, tax law knowledge, information privacy laws, identity theft proceedings, as well as basic knowledge of trading laws and the technology that drives economic systems around the world. Economic crime investigators will need to be able to detect identity theft and economic crimes like embezzlement from analyzing data obtained in the course of an assignment. They will look at the information and data to determine if an infraction has taken place and what should be done to pursue said infraction. The economic crime investigator is becoming a more important part of criminal justice as the number of identity theft and investor fraud cases rises. Highly trained investigators can help stop economic criminals and the harm they cause both economically and physically to the market at large.

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