Sandra, the fraud investigator at Alpha, Inc., is reviewing the latest fraud hotline calls

| April 14, 2018

Sandra, the fraud investigator at Alpha, Inc., is reviewing the latest fraud hotline calls, when one attracts her attention. It is a simple anonymous recorded message, received from an obviously distraught female, who insists that Alpha should take a close look at the fire sprinkler contract given to Murphy Brothers Contractors. She states that it involves the warehouse renovation that was recently completed. She adds that she cannot be more specific for fear that the details may reveal her identity, but she sounds very sincere. Without any further hints as to what the reported fraud may entail, Sandra decides to investigate with a wide-scope examination, which she begins on March 13.Sandra obtains the Murphy Brothers contract. The contract requires Murphy Brothers to “Replace existing sprinkler heads throughout the warehouse area and install new 25-year-life sprinkler heads rated at 165 degrees Fahrenheit: $38,100”. Sandra notes that the contract was awarded to Murphy Brothers on January 3. Murphy Brothers was the low bidder in a fierce competition that involved a total of eight bidders. The second lowest bid for the installation of fire sprinklers was $39,900.Upon investigating further, Sandra learns that 165 degrees is the normal temperature at which fire protection sprinkler heads are calibrated to open, so as to quickly extinguish small fires. She also learns that the renovated warehouse building will be used as an archive to store Alpha computer backup records and a variety of administrative records. During her examination of the contract, Sandra notes that contract specifications were changed on February 1 to provide for the removal of any 165 degree sprinkler heads that were already installed and to install 286 degree sprinkler heads throughout the new archive. The cost of the change – as estimated by Murphy Brothers – was $40,000. Murphy Brothers claimed that all of the sprinklers required by the original contract had been installed, and hence all would have to be removed and scrapped. New 286-degree heads would have to be purchased and installed.Sandra is skeptical of the justification for this change and seeks independent professional advice. She learns that the use of the higher-temperature sprinkler heads in a records storage facility is appropriate. The use of 286-degree Fahrenheit for archival purposes is a national standard. Experience has shown that where records are being stored, the fire damage resulting from a small fire ranging up to 286 degrees Fahrenheit would be less devastating than the water damage that would result from sprinkler heads activated at 165 degrees.Sandra reviews the receiving report, dated February 21, prepared when Murphy Brothers completed their work. John Green, the Alpha contract manager, signed the report. Sandra then visits the newly renovated warehouse site to inspect the installation. Inspecting the work that had been done is a relative easy task. No records have yet been moved into the storage area and all the ceiling sprinklers are readily accessible. Sandra obtains the assistance of Robert Clark, and together they find a tall stepladder and begin to inspect the actual sprinkler heads that Murphy Brothers installed. They spend all day Monday inspecting 50 sprinkler heads selected at random throughout the renovated warehouse and make an interesting finding. Thirty of the heads bear the imprint 286°/F2000, the year they were manufactured. Twenty of the sprinkler heads bear the imprint 165°F/1980.Sandra found that six months prior to the fire sprinkler contract, Mr. Green and the Murphy Brothers firm were involved in what turned out to be a shell fraud. Although the finding involved only a $25,000 job, it nevertheless provided corroborating evidence of a criminal conspiracy between Mr. Green and the Murphy Brothers and an additional example of their underhandedness.RequiredEvaluate the above case and answer the following:Comment on whether Sandra should continue her fraud-specific review of the Murphy Brothers contract. [5 marks]If you think Sandra has not discovered any indicia of fraud, comment on the discoveries she has made and speculate on why you believe they are indicative of fraud. [5 marks]If you believe Sandra has discovered one or more indicia of fraud, comment on what types of fraud you suspect and why. Feel free to speculate. [5 marks]If you have listed fraud types in Part C, suggest what additional work you think Sandra should do to either to validate or corroborate the indicia you noted, and/or what other action you think she should take. [5 marks]ke. [5 marks]

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