Advent is developing a new criminal intervention program for financial or “white-collar” crimes that draws on the company’s expertise in offender treatment and victim restitution.
Advent pioneered bad check or hot check programs nearly 15 years ago through its CheckRighter platform that is used today by prosecutors around the country. Components of a prosecutor bad check programs typically include:
Case management of statutory requirements, including offender communication scheduling and mail outsourcing
Offender education of Financial Responsibility, including bad check laws and financial literacy education, using a curriculum often defined by statute
Merchant restitution for face value of check instruments and statutorily-defined compensation fees.
Today, with check volume virtually nonexistent, prosecutors’ financial crime specialists are most likely to work cases of business and consumer fraud such as ID theft, forgeries, employee and employer fraud, and insurance, mortgage or government benefit misrepresentation.
Further, over the last several months, the Coronavirus pandemic has brought on high volumes of fraud, prompting the US Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network to issue advisories on several areas of pandemic-related financial crimes, including:
Imposter scams and money mule schemes, where actors deceive victims by impersonating federal government agencies, international organizations, or charities
Health insurance- and health care-related fraud activity such as patient misrepresentation, unnecessary services and medical billing schemes
Financial crimes targeting COVID-19 Economic Impact Payments (EIP) such as fraudulent, altered or counterfeit EIP checks, and theft of EIP payments both online and from mailboxes
Medical scams, including promotion of fraudulent treatments, cures, tests, vaccines and related services
Other cybercrime and cyber-enabled crime exploiting COVID-19 such as malware and phishing schemes, extortion, business email compromise (BEC) fraud, and exploitation of remote applications, especially against financial and healthcare systems
Finally, with the widespread availability of debit cards and overdraft protection for checking accounts, incidents of “honest mistake” worthless check offenses are likely rare. Rather, worthless check writers are most often committing the offense with fraudulent intent, not simply due to simple financial mismanagement. To that end, diversions and other interventions for worthless checks should do more to address the motivators and behavior associated with fraud using evidence-based, cognitive-behavioral methods.
Education Course Contents
Advent is developing a new Financial Crimes intervention course that can be assigned by prosecutors or courts using the Advent eLearning platform. Authored by Dr. Amy Smith, professor of Psychology at San Francisco State University, the course focuses on the psychological drivers of fraud-related behaviors and how defendants can use cognitive restructuring or reframing methods to change that behavior.
The new intervention course covers the following topics:
Section 1: What is Fraud?
Section 2: Fraud-Related Behavior: Financial and White-Collar Crimes
Section 3: Case Study in Financial Fraud: Bernie Madoff
Section 4: Who Commits Financial and White-Collar Crimes, and Why?
Section 5: Impacts and Consequences of Financial Fraud
Section 6: Preventing Financial Fraud and Other “White Collar” Crime
Section 7: Changing Your Behavior
Section 8: Final Review
The course includes both required and optional text and video components and will take students four hours to complete at an eighth grade reading level or above. The course can be completed on most internet-enabled phone, computer or tablet, and browser and closed-captioning technologies allow for language translation and assistive technologies.
Victim Restitution Module
Because financial crimes most always include monetary loss by victims, it’s important that victim restitution be included as part of financial crime diversion or alternate sentencing programs. That’s why the Advent eLearning platform includes an integrated victim restitution module that allows prosecutors and courts to manage victim restitution plans in conjunction with defendant education and treatment.
The Advent eLearning restitution module establishes victim restitution payment plans that coincide with offenders’ income schedules and that offenders self-manage through the eLearning platform. Offenders can track their plan to see where they are in their plan obligations, print proofs of past payments, and make extra payments toward the plan when income allows.
The restitution funds received from offenders are disbursed to victims as received or, in the case of traditional bad check restitution, held until paid in full so as to not compromise statutory repayment requirements. Advent is an audited third-party payment processor and registered merchant services agent, so criminal justice agencies can be assured that Advent’s restitution processing services use safe and sound practices for payment processing, disbursement and accounting.
Advent Program Advantage
The Advent financial crime program is ideal for pre-file and pre-trial diversion programs where court and clerk payment programs may not be available, and prosecutors do not have in-house capabilities or resources to manage defendant payment plans or victim restitution disbursement.
Where making victims whole for their losses is key, earlier intervention is important. Deep interaction with the criminal justice system, including incarceration, threatens offenders’ jobs, risks reputations, and interrupts sources of income, leaving most offenders unable to complete their financial obligations to victims. By diverting and probating these offenses, financial crime offenders maintain their sources of income and are able to complete their obligations to victims under threat of diversion or probation revocation.
The Advent eLearning platform provides full reporting to prosecutor personnel, including automatic notifications of payments made, failures to pay on time, and victim disbursements completed. The platform gives personnel full visibility into all restitution activity, allowing clients to query, view and export data of all funds being collected from defendants and disbursed to victims.
So the Advent Financial Crime program provides an end-to-end resolution, requiring offenders to complete an education course, complete victim restitution, and complete any other program requirements that agencies wish to deploy, such as paying program or supervision fees or completing community service.
To Get Started
To learn more about Advent distance treatment programs and eLearning management platform, including demonstrations and reviews of our content, please email us today at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact your AdventFS sales representative. For a complete catalog of online programs, visit www.adventelearning.com