FSG FORENSIC INVESTIGATORS & AUDITORS | TRACERS | RISK MANAGERS | GUARDS
SA's national litigation, corporate & government private intelligence, private/forensic investigation/auditing, loss & risk management specialists.
FSG  is a LEVEL 4  B-BBEE
Accredited Company

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HEAD OFFICE DETAILS
Telephone
+27 (0) 86 1000 979
Fax
+27 (0) 86 5168 722
Mobile
+27 (0) 83 7841 523
Postal Address
PO Box 17, Pavilion,
3611, South Africa
Physical Address
7 Cedar Road, Westville,
 3629, South Africa
PSIRA Reg. No.
1144490
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fohladbn@yebo.co.za


FSG has corporate offices in:
DURBAN
CAPE TOWN
JOHANNESBURG
- and field agents in every Magisterial District in SA.

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ENTRAPMENTS

Entrapping persons suspected of illicit activity is sometimes the only way of harvesting evidence that will satisfy the requisite burden of proof for a successful criminal/civil prosecution.

However, entrapment should always only be considered a last resort option as there are considerable risks.

The line between entrapment and solicitation (which could also be labeled 'illegal entrapment') is thin. The impropriety of solicitation must unequivocally be avoided if entrapment is to be an act of forensic investigation that produces evidence that is admissible in legal proceedings if the credibility of the testimony of the person/s engaged in the entrapment exercise is not to be fatally undermined.

It is relevant that we record that FSG trains its forensic investigators to always adopt the attitude that evidence is ALWAYS the testimony of a person, because it is always the case (with a few exceptions).  A person who presents testimony in legal proceedings may substantiate his/her statements with documentation, photographs, video footage, objects, the conclusions made from the application of a science, professional expertise and/or a specific technique. However, it remains the fact that unless a person is able to interpret, explain and present so-called "physical evidence" in a legal proceeding, as a rule of thumb, such evidence cannot be introduced. It follows that a person who testifies must either possess or be coached to possess the capacity to express themselves in a clear, unambiguous, logical and precise manner. It is for this reason that legal practitioners uphold another principle, namely that unless an attorney/prosecutor who is presenting evidence in a legal proceeding by extracting testimony from a person knows the answer that a witness will give to a question, then that question should not be asked of the person who is giving testimony.

It is the understanding of FSG that the line between entrapment and solicitation at least for the forensic investigator who is in private practice - is the satisfaction of the burden that there exists prior prima facie evidence (ie. reasonable suspicion) that those who are the subject of an entrapment exercise were previously involved in the activity that is the subject of the entrapment exercise.

Subject to satisfying the requirements for claiming prima facie evidence, FSG is available to execute the resource of entrapment as a means to gather evidence that is admissible in civil or criminal legal proceedings as long as our client will indemnify FSG from legal costs incurred to defend the legal claims/charges that may be (albeit without substance) brought against FSG as a consequence of conducting an entrapment exercise.

It is said that one must 'set a crook to catch a crook'. The truth lies not in the literal meaning of this statement (which implies that the means justifies the end), but instead lies in the reality that one must understand the criminal mind to catch a criminal. The really successful investigator is one that can beat the criminal at his own game - in the sense of having the capacity to anticipate what a criminal will do.

While FSG does not subscribe to the attitude that 'the means justifies the end', FSG will not avoid creative solutions to resolve clients' problems. We refer to the following by way of example and argument:

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Constitutionally and legislatively it is not a criminal offence to fall into arrears with debt, and debt recovery must be dealt with in terms of prescribed civil litigation procedures.

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However, any experienced debt recovery practitioner will know of the reality of so-called savvy debtors; debtors who habitually incur debts without the intention of ever settling these debts. This category of debtor understands the protections to which legislation entitles him/her and furthermore deliberately disguises the receipt of income and the ownership of assets in a variety of ways such that even if judgement is secured against such debtors, such judgements can never be satisfied. (Another aspect of the characteristics of savvy debtors is that they know how to avoid the Sheriff of the Court and even form collusive relationships with a Sheriff's deputies such that a Deputy may even accept certain gratuities for falsely generating Returns of Non-Service, nulla bona returns, etc.)

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While it is true that, in theory, a criminal case of fraud can be built against savvy debtors, SAPS will generally reject a criminal charge that has as its intention the objective of recovering a debt. And even if a complainant is successful in establishing such a docket with SAPS, it is probable that the Senior Public Prosecutor will decline to prosecute such a docket.

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However, the fact remains that a savvy debtor will have defrauded a number of creditors, at least in as much as the savvy debtor incurred the debts with the intention of never repaying them, and furthermore that a solution needs to be found.

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Sometimes, the only form that such a solution can take is leverage; securing information about a savvy debtor that such a debtor will avoid being made public at all costs. Carefully strategized entrapments (the nature of the entrapment exercise to be determined by the circumstances of the savvy debtor in question) may provide the leverage required to encourage a savvy debtor to satisfy a debt. (Please also understand that we make this statement in the context of the knowledge that if a savvy debtor - a natural person or an entity - is technically insolvent, a payment favouring one creditor at the expense of a proportional distribution of a liquidated estate may be reclaimed in a sequestration/liquidation process. Consequently, any such entrapment exercise must be strategized to avoid this risk.)

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This example and argument points to one manner in which FSG may cooperate in 'setting a crook to catch a crook'. It is admittedly less than ethical, but it may also be the lesser of the two evils in the context of embracing the principle of a hierarchy of rights.
 

Fohla Security CC t/a FSG FORENSIC INVESTIGATORS & AUDITORS | TRACERS | RISK MANAGERS | GUARDS
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