Omer Frenkel , Product Marketing Manager
July 28, 2022

How Decision Intelligence Can Transform Financial Crime Investigations  

A briefcase filled with money on a blue background, showing a visual representation of data analytics.

What are financial crime investigations?

Financial crime investigations involve investigating financial activities and transactions that are suspected to be illegal or fraudulent. These investigations aim to uncover incidents of illicit activity, such as fraud, money laundering, embezzlement, insider trading, bribery, identity theft, terror funding and other illegal financial activities.

Law enforcement investigators and analysts typically analyze various data sources – including financial records, transactions, documents and more – to trace the flow of money, identify suspicious patterns and anomalies, and gather evidence of illegal activity. They often collaborate with various entities, including international law enforcement agencies, financial institutions and regulatory bodies to conduct investigations.

Financial crime isn’t restricted to “white-collar” activities. There is typically some financial component in many criminal investigations, whether drug smuggling, human trafficking or organized crime, and those components can include, financial fraud, tax evasion and money laundering. These crimes can range from basic theft or fraud committed by individuals to large-scale operations masterminded by global criminal organizations, having serious economic impacts. In fact, Deloitte estimates that the amount of money laundered globally is 2% to 5% of global GDP, or between 715 billion and 1.87 trillion Euros.  

Financial crime is evolving with the use of technology, creating complex challenges for law enforcement and regulatory agencies, such as tax authorities. Modern investigations must grapple with the use of cryptocurrency, encrypted communications, virtual transactions, and more. Many crimes are transnational and demand international cooperation among law enforcement agencies across multiple jurisdictions. These multi-faceted financial investigations require teams to fuse and analyze data from multiple sources and formats, such as bank transactions, mobile payments, blockchain ledgers, and company ownership records. Forming a cohesive and digestible investigation picture is crucial for analysts to deduce actionable insights. Read on to learn how the right tools can help follow the money trail without getting lost in the data.  

Top challenges for investigating financial crimes 

The proliferation of technology and data surrounding financial investigation has created an information overload for analysts seeking to collect intelligence, follow the money trail and build cases. Data is often siloed in different sources and systems, and insights are similarly siloed across teams. Major roadblocks come from being unable to properly access the right data needed for an investigation and analyze it in conjunction with other pieces of information. Some common challenges include:  

  • Data overflow: Analysts must leverage vast amounts of data from different sources to formulate information about entities and events. This siloed data may be structured or unstructured, and in a variety of formats, including audio, text, image, etc., which must be fused and correlated to present a cohesive investigation picture. It is virtually impossible to use traditional methods and manual analysis to accomplish these tasks.  
  • Technological barriers: New technologies pose new challenges to financial investigators, including encryption, cryptocurrency, mobile payments, and use of the Dark Web. These digital means increase anonymity, obscuring critical details needed to build an investigation. It is often critical that investigative teams collaborate with other teams among different disciplines to overcome these issues. Fine-grained permission and authorization protocols are often necessary to facilitate this cooperation while keeping sensitive data confidential.  
  • Globalization: Financial crime teams must frequently investigate transnational and cross border crimes, requiring them to decipher data in different languages and across databases. The problem of “not knowing what you don’t know” is apparent here, since the language barrier might prevent investigators from identifying and collecting the data they need to build a case.  

Accelerate financial investigations with data fusion and analytics for decision intelligence 

Leveraging a decision intelligence platform allows financial crime investigation teams to accelerate decision making and boost financial investigations through multi-source data fusion and analytics. The right solution can convert and collate data to quickly derive relevant patterns, profiles and connections, regardless of data formats and languages. Analytics tools can enable better financial crime investigations by: 

  • Unifying your financial investigations into a single workspace: Save time and money by fusing scattered data, regardless of their original language, into unified profiles and entities with a single-pane-of-glass interface. Standard APIs allow users to independently add data sources to enrich insights.   
  • Multiplying your case rate & discovering more illicit transactions: Investigation teams can easily customize advanced analytics and risk scoring to optimize their investigations.  Decision intelligence platforms can be used to tag and correlate images, financial records, Dark Web interactions, blockchain transfers, encrypted communications, social media posts and more to discover previously undetectable insights, uncover hidden relations, and highlight suspicious entities or transactions.   
  • Facilitating collaboration between teams: Multi-layered access control and a fine-grained permissions model are essential to handle sensitive financial data, especially when fostering collaboration between teams. A platform allows a collaborative approach that leverages the expertise of multiple domains within your organization.  

To learn more about how Cognyte’s NEXYTE decision intelligence platform can transform your financial investigations, download our financial crime investigation use case.

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Omer Frenkel , Product Marketing Manager

Omer Frankel, Product Marketing Manager of Operational Intelligence, and Cyber Threat Intelligence. Omer brings extensive experience and know-how in the intelligence field, wth a decorated tenure of over 18 years as an intelligence analyst, department head, and product manager in the Israeli research National Unit. Omer holds a B.A. in International Relations & Middle Eastern Studies and an M.A, in Political Marketing.
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