John E. Reid & Associates, Inc. proudly congratulates one of our graduates for doing an outstanding job using the Reid Technique of Interviewing and Interrogation to resolve the Featured Case.
|Sergio G. Parisi |
John E. Reid & Associates
Mr. Parisi was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Law Enforcement Administration. He graduated from Reid College in 1984 and is a licensed polygraph examiner in Kentucky, California, Arizona, and Illinois. Mr. Parisi has been employed by John E. Reid & Associates since January 2000. He has brought a new dimension to our nationally recognized seminar on The Reid Technique of Interviewing and Interrogation by presenting it in Spanish for a security company in Miami Florida. He has conducted over 7000 interviews and interrogations and has worked as a loss prevention Manager for Gart Sports, Cub Foods, Trak Auto Inc. and Child World Inc.
(All of the names in this case have been changed)
On December 21, 2001, Tina Harris', a new teller at Arland National Bank, experienced a mysterious shortage of $5,818. On December 28, 2002, Milke Sanners, teller supervisor, completed a total vault audit revealing a vault shortage of $14,000. Tina had been employed by the bank for 5 months.
As part of the investigation bank officials reviewed the videotapes in the vault. During Tina's original statement she stated that she found an envelope of mutilated money on the very bottom in the back of the vault. The videotape shows her reaching onto the top of the vault immediately prior to coming out with the envelope of mutilated money. The mutilated money Tina found accounted for a portion of the vault shortage. Tina also stated that two other employees were in the vault right before the envelope was found. The videotape does not show this.
Tina also failed to follow procedure concerning activation of the videotape in the vault. On the day in question the videotape was turned on at 6:50am but the vault door was already open and Tina's teller drawer was already in her window. She is supposed to activate the video immediately before entering the vault.
Upon review of some of Tina's transactions that day there were several unexplained discrepancies.
As a result of the audits Tina was asked to submit to an investigative interview with one of the forensic interviewers at John E. Reid & Associates. Tina agreed to the interview and it was conducted at the Bank in January 2002.
|BEHAVIORAL ANALYSIS INTERVIEW |
The Behavioral Analysis Interview consists of a series of questions designed to elicit information that will assist in the evaluation of the subject's possible involvement in the issue under investigation. There are generally two types of interview questions which are utilized during the Behavioral Analysis Interview: investigative questions which focus of specific aspects of the issue at hand, as well a series of structured behavior provoking questions. Throughout the interview the subject is evaluated as to the consistency of here statements with known facts, as well as the verbal and nonverbal manner and content of her responses.
During the course of the Behavioral Analysis Interview, the subject denied any involvement in the theft of funds from Arland National Bank. She also denied knowing for certain of anyone stealing any funds.
Following are some of the questions and responses the subject gave during her Behavioral Analysis Interview.
It is the opinion of this interviewer, based upon a review and evaluation of the information and documentation available at the time of her interview, as well as the manner and content of her statements, that she is withholding relevant information concerning the issue under investigation. Consequently, Tina Harris should not be eliminated from suspicion.
Q. Tina, do you know why I've to talk to you here today?
A. Due to the vault shortage ( eye contact poor)
Q. It's my understanding that there is $14,000 missing from the vault. If you stole any of that missing $14,000 our investigation will show that so let me ask you, did you steal any of the missing $14,000.
A. ...No (nervous laugh)
Q. Do you think the money was stolen?
A. No idea, absolutely no idea.
Q. Who do you think would have had the best opportunity to steal the missing $14,000.
A. Anybody ( the subject did offer some suspicion of another teller Kathy, she had a $500.00 unexplained shortage in November. She made a comment how she would take money, but started to laugh as though she was just joking. She later vouched for her which contradicted her earlier statement that she suspected her)
Q. Did you ever think about taking money from the bank?
A. It would be nice
Q. Why wouldn't you do something like that?
A. Just wouldn't
Q. How do you think the person who did steal the money would feel if they were here right now?
A. Guilty, that's a heavy load to lug around.
Q. What do you think should happen to the person who stole the money from the vault?
A. I think they should be reasonable, make them pay the money back.
Q. Do you think the person who stole the money would deserve a second chance?
A. Yea, I think so. It depends on the situation.
Q. How do you think the investigation will turn out as far as you're concerned?
A. I don't know....OK I hope.
Q. Why do you think an employee here at the bank would steal money?
A. They needed it to pay bills, expenses?
Q. How do you think the person who did steal the money would feel if they were here being interviewed about it.
A. Kinda bad, sorry.
|Interrogation and Theme Development |
The interrogation lasted approximately thirty minutes. The primary themes used in the interrogation were to contrast what she needed the money for.
"Once I explained that their was no doubt she had taken the money, I went on to explain that there are two types of people who get involved in these kind of situations. One is the kind of person who makes a mistake in judgement due to some outside circumstances and, the other is the type that simply wake up in the morning and pretty much do what ever they want without any concern for others. I think you're like the first person that simply made a mistake in judgement. I also suggested that maybe this was not her idea but that maybe her live-in boyfriend put her up to it. I suggested that when a person is emotionally upset they make poor decisions. Maybe something was going on with her that we needed to understand. Maybe she felt pressured to do something that she didn't want to do."
The subject offered some weak denials early in the interrogation but began to listen to the themes after about ten minutes. She then offered an objection "I wouldn't do something like that, I just started working here." I countered that objection with the following. "I'm glad you brought that up Tina. That's an important thing for us to take into consideration. When you're working with this amount of money for the first time it can be a pretty big temptation. Being a new employee like you are makes it all the more important to explain the circumstances why this happened. If you had been working here for 10 years and this was the first time you took money they would know it was out of character for you. But like you said you're new here, and for all they know you got the job with the intention of ripping them off. I would like to think that someone put you up to this and that it was not your idea. I think you were probably trying to help someone else out. Maybe your bills were piling up and you were desperate."
|Alternative Question and Admission |
"Now Tina if you took this money for selfish reasons like gambling or drugs than I would say yea, I'm wasting my time talking to you. I would know what type of person you are. But if you needed this money to pay bills, than I can understand that."
"Did you take the money to pay bills or did you spend it at the river boat gambling? It was to pay bills wasn't it Tina."
At this point the subject began to cry and said she needed the money to pay credit card bills. She stated that since October of 2001 she has stolen approximately $16,000 in funds from the bank. This was accomplished by primarily making three fraudulent money orders in mid-November 2001. On that date she used a fraudulent name "Barrett" to make three money orders, the largest one of the three money orders was approximately $3,400. The total of the three fraudulent money orders was approximately $8,000. Once the money orders were made she put them in her purse and left the bank with them. The last time she stole funds was in December of 2001, when she stole $200 from her drawer. Ms. Harris also stated that since October she stole on average of $200 a month, usually in $100 bills.
The funds were used for payment of her boyfriend's credit cards and payment of her car note as well as Christmas gift purchases. Ms. Harris also indicated that she would force balance her drawer in order to balance.
Ms. Harris detailed the above statements and admissions in a handwritten statement that was witnessed by Larry Brown, Vice President and Security Officer of Arland National Bank.
This statement is displayed at the end of this case.
The Bank chose not to prosecute. Instead they let Tina go and sought restitution. The subject repaid the full $16,000.00 to the bank. She got the money from her Mother.
|Subjects Rationalization for the thefts |
The subject explained that she suffers from depression and is on medication. She has been living with her boyfriend for the last year and was worried if she made him mad he will leave her. When she got the job at the bank he suggested that she try to find a way to take some money. They were falling behind on bills and things were getting pretty bad. She explained that she didn't want to do it but felt she had no choice. She had told him about the mutilated money in the vault and he told her to take that, the bank wouldn't even miss it.
One of the things Tina did prior to her interview was to fill out a Subject Data Sheet. This is standard procedure at John E. Reid & Associates. Prior to each subject interview we have them fill out a Subject Data Sheet. On this form we ask questions concerning the subjects educational level, physical condition, medical condition, and psychological condition.
On Ms. Harris' form she indicated that she suffers from depression and is on medication to help control it. She also stated that she is not married but has been living with a man for the last year and that he was currently unemployed.
This case illustrates the importance of getting such information concerning the subject prior to the interview. It is important to try to identify precipitators for a crime even before you begin your interview. The investigator should develop information on personal background, home environment, and relationship with the victim. This can be done by having them fill out a Subject Data Sheet, asking questions concerning these issues in the interview, or by talking to others who know the subject. The more we learn about the subject's life circumstances and their relationship to the victim, the more effective we will be at developing the proper theme. In this case Mr. Parisi very skillfully used this information to develop the correct themes for a successful interrogation.