A dealer in a suit
Case : Corporate Espionage - Illegal tradeIndustry: Chemicals
We were contacted by the General Manager of the local branch of a multinational company, which is active in the chemical manufacturing and distribution sector.
He was alarmed by the unusual behavior of one of his employees in the Procurement Department. The employee, removed himself from the company of others, whispered or closed his office door when he was talking on the phone, and in general had been acting suspiciously for the last couple of months. The General Manager suspected that this person might be giving sensitive information to competitors, so he assigned us with the task to find out exactly what was going on.
The method of approach was to go through the phone numbers he had been calling. We asked for a list of outgoing calls from both his company mobile and landline phones. We managed to isolate 4 phone numbers that were not related to business matters and also were called outside office hours.
Unfortunately this lead to a dead-end, as the investigation showed that all 4 numbers were registered under fake names to persons from middle-east or Asia. The phone numbers were still our only lead so we needed to find another way to confirm the real owners.
One of our female investigators, called these numbers pretending to be an employee of the marketing dept. of big electric store chain. Once they replied, she informed them that the owner of the phone number had won a big discount check for purchases from the electric stores. All she needed were the full name of the owner and their address so that she can send the check. This way we managed to get the full info from 3 of them.
Further investigations into these persons lead us to understand that this was more than a simple corporate espionage case. All 3 of them had several prior arrests and were considered “tough criminals”.
The facts imposed that we went deeper in the investigation. We had to gain access to the employee’s laptop, without raising any suspicions. For this reason we provided his Dept. Supervisor with a flash drive which once plugged-in, installed a program that made the computer “freeze” after a few hours.
Following our instructions, the general Manager called the employee in his office, leaving the laptop unattended for the Supervisor to use the flash drive. As expected, the next day, the employee gave his laptop to the IT dept. to fix it. After that, our digital Forensics technicians received it and worked on retrieving data which could be useful for us.
What they managed to find, came up as a shock for everyone. The employee was using his laptop to access websites that sold weapons and ammunition and according to the data he had already purchased several handguns.
Once we had the baseline of the short of case we had in our hands, we started collecting the rest of the missing pieces of the puzzle. The employee was purchasing firearms which he imported as replicas or “neutralized” and then altered them in order to be fully functional. The employee was then contacting the other 4 criminals and sold them the guns.
Given the seriousness of the case and having all the evidence in hand, together with the General Manager of the company, we delivered them to the authorities. This lead to the arrest of several members of this criminal gun ring and the seizure of firearms, ammunition and other equipment.
The employee was finally incarcerated and due to the company’s quick actions, the case closed without any mention of them in the news and any negative impact on their reputation.