determining deception through the written word
The World of Forensic Statement Analysis (FSA) and How It Serves as
an Investigative Tool in Determining the Truth
By Zane Kinney, CFE, PI - July 2019
Forensic statement analysis is not handwriting analysis but an examination of the written word provided by accusers, defendants, victims, or witnesses, to describe an event. Dissection of a written statement to examine the parts of speech, context, order, and possible underlying meaning can reveal when someone is truthful, deceptive, or omitting information. At minimum, it can help an investigator frame the traditional interview.
Would you want to know if...
• a situation of workplace harassment occurred?
• the domestic abuse is real?
• an injury claim is valid?
• a sexual assault charge is truthful?
• a robbery really happened?
• the victim or defendant is telling the truth – the whole truth?
Who can benefit from FSA as an Investigative Tool ...
Attorneys | HR Representatives | Corporate Counsel | Insurance Adjustors
| Private Investigators
Type of Situations FSA Can Be Employed In...
Criminal Defense | Prosecutions | Personal Injury | Employment Law
| Insurance Defense | Family Law | Civil Litigation | School & College Law
Human Resource Professionals | Insurance Providers | Audit Professionals
Skilled attorneys, investigators, insurance adjusters, and human resource professionals pour over written statements but information is often missed. The truth of the matter may be found in a single word or phrase within documentation you currently have on hand. Sometimes reality is one sided or somewhere in the middle. It has been noted, “actions speak louder than words” – in reality words ARE actions, or the lack thereof.
The science of examining the written statement has existed for many years; however, it’s still an undervalued and underused tool that can add clarity to both civil and criminal investigations.
Linguistic Statement Analysis – Another Definition
The written statement from a party in a criminal or civil matter which outlines an event will provide linguistic clues. The clues come from the writer’s personal account of what happened and can often reveal rich information which should be explored further, or information which may be truthful or deceptive. While the process of linguistic statement analysis is not perfect, it brings with it a high degree of unbiased accuracy. There is no traditional interviewing involved but only the writer’s discourse. There are a few considerations which have to be taken into account; however, it can be applicable in most any situation.
Accusations | Credibility
If you’re an attorney, perhaps you’ve had cases where a client or victim withheld information or failed to mention something which casts doubt on their story. Unfortunately, it may have occurred during a trial or deposition. It may have been an omission which was inconsequential (or very critical), but magnified by the opposing side. Again, you’re skilled at your profession, but a linguistic analysis can be a tool to better assist you. Would you want to know about potential issues before hand?
• In a motor vehicle accident, a plaintiff was less than candid about her reason for being in a particular area. Although it had nothing to with the accident, it was used to impugn her testimony.
• Two employees claimed they were robbed while transporting a bank deposit. The supposed robbery was a hoax, detected by their written statements.
• The fiancé of a missing woman was suggested to be involved in her disappearance, but his linguistic statement was consistent with the truth. The woman appeared a few days later.
• A sports figure was accused of sexual assault. The analysis of the accuser’s statement revealed no indications of an assault. Ultimately, no charges were filed.
• In a case of insurance fraud, one word in the claimant’s written statement revealed an act of premeditated arson.
Forensic Statement Analysis | Serving Justice
Currently in our society, accusations abound, particularly in the area of sexual harassment or assault. What if a criminal accusation resulted in a false prosecution OR there was a failure to prosecute for a crime? What if a workplace harasser went unpunished OR someone falsely accused was terminated?
It should be noted that primarily a portion of a statement may be true, but the writer may wish to lead us to a conclusion which isn’t factual. If you’ve read our previous information, you’ll understand we’re not interested in helping anyone escape justice or avoid consequences. The goal is and should always be to explore and gather facts. Our experience can cause unconscious bias for or against a case. Before making an assumption, consider this analysis. It can often show us where to inquire further and ultimately better serve the cause of justice.
Meet GACFE Member...
In our fourth issue of the GACFE Financial Crimes Times, our spotlight shines upon Zane Kinney, CFE and licensed Private Investigator. Zane is a former GACFE Board member and GACFE membership Chair.
Principal of Astinel Security and Forensics Risk and
Zane has spent his entire adult life in the protection field. His background exceeds 30 years in Law Enforcement, Loss Prevention, Corporate Investigations, Physical Security, Private Investigations & Forensics. He is a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), Licensed Private Investigator in the State of Georgia, and the Principle Consultant for Astinel Security & Forensics. Zane frequently speaks on Fraud Prevention.
Want To Know More About FSA and How It Can Benefit Your Organization?
If you answered yes, then contact Zane Kinney to serve as a speaker at your next corporate or association event. You can contact Zane via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his company website at: https://astinel.com/