Experience may count for a lot in life. But there are times when good training does the job better. That’s what Mark D. Handler, then still a fresh graduate, found out when confronted with a subject versed in polygraph countermeasure tactics.
The subject in question was a gentleman suspected of impersonating a police officer – an action illegal pretty much everywhere. Unbeknownst to Handler, the subject had purchased countermeasure materials on the internet prior to his arrest hoping to beat the polygraph should he ever come face to face with it.
During the test Handler identified the countermeasure indicators which he picked up during training. Perhaps aware that the game was up, the suspect confessed to the crime and to purchasing the countermeasure materials during the post-test interview.
Confessions like these are not uncommon – in many cases the mere knowledge of facing the polygraph test compels many subjects to confess, even before the testing stage. Below are a few examples of successful polygraph tests conducted by CSI Africa where subjects confessed to their crimes.[Please keep in mind that we cannot share any information which may result in the identification of a client or other associated individuals.]
A costly addiction
Drug addiction is a growing problem in South Africa, with figures indicating that 5.7 million people (or more than 11% of the national population) are suffering from the disease. A common and related theme is theft, with many addicts stealing to support their habit.
One of our most recent cases involved a Gauteng family who suffered serious losses as a result of theft. Upon further investigation it was revealed that the culprit had to be within the family. During testing a young adult confessed to stealing from the parents to support the habit.
Diamonds for baubles
It’s not every day you can buy R750,000 worth of jewellery for a paltry R9,000. But that’s the confession that came straight from the mouth of a domestic employee who stole from her employer.
Despite the lack of formal statistics on the matter, all evidence indicates a rise in crimes committed by or connected to domestic employees.
And petty cash for all
During a routine financial audit of a business discrepancies regarding the misuse of company cards and petty cash management was discovered. Shortly afterwards a box containing all the petty cash files went missing from the office – shortly before it was to be handed to the auditor.
During polygraph examination of the four likeliest suspects, one examinee admitted to deliberately misusing the garage and debit cards belonging to her employer. Another examinee confessed to committing fraud regularly with the cards, claiming to have been under the impression that it was common practice to borrow money from the petty cash. The “pay back” would end up in another employee’s bank account. The petty cash file remains at large.
Out of the four examinees that were tested 2 failed and confessed and 2 passed their test… 50% pass rate. These were all “trusted” employees.
The 99% discount
A client experienced a huge stock loss and, not being sure where the source of the problem was, he requested polygraph examinations to be conducted on two employees.
Both confessed to stealing a few items of stock everyday for which they were being compensated by “clients”. The two employees’ additional income amounted to R50 a day, while the cost of lost stock stacked up to R180 000.00 a month. If only fuel was discounted as much…