By Ruthie DiTucci
As a writer, I am often called upon to define a normal minor matter that could amount to no more than a misdemeanor. Then again, sometimes I am asked to define how many years someone could be charged with for committing a serious felony. The skills I gained as a writer have helped me tremendously when I work on community projects (whether they are based in the United States or overseas).
In serious and larger business projects, governments, banks and financial institutions demand that these two investigations be conducted: KYC (Know Your Customer) and AML (Anti-Money Laundering).
Above Image: Source Shutterstock Photo ID: 1753604456 Miami Downtown, FL, USA – MAY 31, 2020: US Police Against Terrorism. Counterterrorism RDF. Miami-Dade anti-terrorism
Running those two examinations brings us to the definition of Due Diligence. Exactly what is Due Diligence? In a nutshell, it is the expression used to define the steps an organization must take in order to thoroughly investigate and verify an entity before initiating a business arrangement of any kind.
The fraud that is spreading everywhere is not a minor matter. Fraud has penetrated every aspect of business and one must be ready to examine a vendor, a third party or a client. No exceptions!
Due Diligence is also referred to as CDD (Customer Due Diligence). Customer Due Diligence (CDD) is the process of collecting and verifying information about a customer during onboarding. CDD is also known as Know Your Customer (KYC). CDD is done to assess the potential risks that the customer poses to the business. CDD is a key component of Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) initiatives1.
NEW PROJECT – NEW PARTNERS
There is nothing more exciting than a new business venture. In the business I work in, the projects can cross over from one critical interest to another. Whatever we are working on this week could vary from the area of foods and nutrition or housing and transportation.
Whichever the topic may be, the start of a new prospective project always carries a great deal of enthusiasm and delightful anticipation as the new project begins to develop before you.
Assigning the specialists to the project is only one side of the coin. You will often have to search out specialists that are not already part of your team.
A LOVELY SURPRISE
Some seemingly great and powerful projects will be brought to you on a silver platter, and you will spend the rest of your day wondering what you did to deserve such generosity. Don’t celebrate just yet.
If you find yourself “overly blessed” don’t just thank God. This new financial surprise means it is time for some serious Due Diligence work and here are just a few of my immediate recommendations:
LexisNexis, SEON. XAPIEN, DOW JONES, ONETRUST are Due Diligence service corporations and companies you can approach. You will find hundreds of others that will accomplish your research for you in a matter of hours or days. They all vary in delivery times as well as in cost.
And do not waste your time with impossible and ridiculous suggestions from your new partners. One representative recently approached my partners and I stating that the fund provider would not provide a phone number or an email address.
The more we pressed for the contact information, the more the funder’s assistant’s emotions rose to a crimson rage. Rather than cooperate with our requests, the assistant made serious suggestions (that when interpreted were actually threats).
Do not get upset when negative emotions arise in business. The person who spoke in an aggressive manner just did you a great favor. Look at all the money you will save on running Due Diligence! Your logic, common sense and business experience are already urging you that this kind of talk (street language) does not belong in a business conversation. Do not excuse it or forgive it. Due Diligence has just served you well – by listening and not participating you learned your new prospective partner is not on the same wavelength. Walk away and report the behavior to the authorities.
GRUPO AGENCY WORLD INV
Private Investigators, Madrid
Above: Image Source Shutterstock Licensed to SyndicatedNews. Photo ID: 2109403160 Madrid, Spain 18.01.2022. The beautiful architecture in downtown Madrid at the Puerta del Sol and the Police. Law Enforcement authorities do not always show up at a scene with their lights and sirens blaring. More often than not, they roll up quietly when you least expect them!
CONTROL YOUR EMOTIONS
Do not let your own emotions begin a tit-for-tat with whomever you are dealing with. Allow them to do all the ranting and raving. In their excitement, they will reveal a great deal that will help the authorities when they are doing their investigation.
Everything they say is just more evidence that will help you know with certainty that you are not working with legitimate individuals.
Allow them to let loose their emotions while you remain silent listening. A person that normally engages in the lower levels of society can only “fake it” for so long. It is only a matter of time before their own words betray them.
Needless to say, once I had open communication with law enforcement in all geographic areas involved, it was made clear that this project was at its end. The CEASE and DESIST documents were released that very day.
SOMETIMES THIEVES “DON’T UNDERSTAND”
In order to let funding organizations know that we have a project on board, we have to share the project to the entities handling the community projects. It is possible that we distribute our project to our contact person, but it is then re-distributed to a number of other possible funders. Responses can come from any corner of the world.
One response we received actually kept a copy of our project and began distributing it and working with it as if it were their own. The cause behind that activity is likely because they do not realize that our entire project is copyright protected. Projects like these are routinely referred to as “intellectual property.”
An example of mis-used intellectual property would be when a member of a community housing project happens to be sitting at the table and naturally is handed a copy of the project. In the work I do with community housing for instance, I have several housing project proposals, but I did not author any of them.
Each project has its own owner, author and multiple copyrights. Taking a project that came into that individual’s hands by chance and then reusing it for another project without authorization would not result in “a scolding.” It could mean serious financial fines and prison time.
Some residents from other countries think that since the country in which they grew up had no intellectual property theft penalties for theft of intellectual property that the United States does not have any either.
Be informed that theft of intellectual property is a serious crime that can result in significant financial penalties. The penalties for theft of intellectual property vary depending on the severity of the theft and the jurisdiction in which it occurs. In general, penalties can include fines, imprisonment, and other legal remedies.
And the primary point I wish to share with those living in the United States under a resident visa, is that they be informed that the activity of interfering with intellectual property meant for formal business cancels immigration residencies all the time.
As a rule, when we work with a project, we have legal methods to protect our work. We have no emotional misgivings when we ask the authorities for assistance.
AUTOMATIC DUE DILIGENCE
Whether people accept it or not, social media cannot operate in a country if the authorities in that country refuse to cooperate with police and investigative authorities when they are doing Due Diligence on a person or entity they suspect.
Even removing oneself from social media platforms does not mean the authorities cannot find an individual when they are looking for a person or an entity.
And while it is possible for social media platforms like WhatsApp, Skype, TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Telegram and others to hide the identity of a user from the authorities during an investigation, they cannot do it for very long. Authorities merely need a warrant to obtain access to user information and they do it every day.
The authorities have many ways of harvesting customer data from social media. It is a relatively simple procedure, and the data begins accumulating immediately when a user begins communicating online. Keep that in mind if someone asks you to join them when they are working on a project you are not too sure of the project’s origins because they may not have permission to use the project – it may be stolen!