active crime scene
Jan 17, 2017 | Lisa Taffe

With over 45 years of experience, John Grimes, CFE, CFI, has detailed accounts about his time in the fields of law enforcement, criminal investigation, fraud examination, and loss prevention.

As an Adjunct Faculty Member in the Forensic Studies program, John Grimes teaches graduate level courses in forensic interviewing and fraud examination, bringing a bevy of experience in law enforcement knowledge and investigative expertise. Professor Grimes incorporates his insight into the field with lectures about forensic techniques he utilized in real-life cases as they are still prevalent today.

In 1993, Grimes joined Amtrak’s Office of Inspector General as a Chief Inspector in the Office of Investigations. He notes, “One of the most interesting and complex cases of my career occurred while working for Amtrak.” From 1996 until 1999, he conducted an investigation into acts of kickbacks, bribery contract fraud, as well as lack of internal controls.

“There was a new plan for a restoration project happening for the Chicago Amtrak, and there would be tons of federal money to fund [the project]. The project manager saw the revenue coming in and wanted a piece of it,” Grimes recalls. The project manager collected funds and failed to begin the restoration project.

Grimes led the investigation using classic forensic techniques that are still relevant in today’s environment. One of the many skills used in this case was forensic interviewing. By obtaining accounts from other individuals, the investigation team was able to receive acknowledgement of involvement, admissions, and confessions. According to Grimes, forensic interviewing is a key component of an investigation that can further potential leads. He notes, “For this case, we interviewed hundreds of people – employees, contractors, and sub-contractors. Because of the nature of the case, we used persuasive forensic interviewing techniques to get people to corroborate.” The goal was to express the information received to interviewee’s without any sense of coercion, promises, or leniency; this ultimately led to the utilization of another technique.

Asset analysis, a form of forensic accounting, was also utilized in this analysis of the Chicago Amtrak organization. This tool gave investigators the ability to view the project manager’s assets via property records, investments, and sources of income. In order to conduct an asset analysis, Professor Grimes and his team subpoenaed bank documents and reviewed and analyzed records. The asset analysis revealed questionable sources of income, thus furthering the investigation.

Although advances in technology could have decreased the duration of the open investigation, Grimes mentioned that he would still revert back to these classic, forensic techniques if he were to complete the investigation today. As the field of fraud examination continues to grow, these techniques (and various others) will continue to provide essential information for resolving cases such as the Chicago Amtrak controversy.

Forensics, Law, & Criminal Justice