The more you observe, the less you wish you had seen

Being a fraud examiner, you can never shut things off, and as any good fraud expert knows, observation skills are one of the most important skills you can develop in the fight on fraud.

The problem is fraud will find you even when you are not looking for it.

Southwest Airlines – well known for their fares, no frills flights and boarding process.  The earliest passengers to check in get the better line positions after those who paid extra for early boarding.  All the seats are pretty much the same, except for the few rows with extra leg room (front row, wing aisles).  And the extra le room comes in handy when it will be a long flight, which mine was to be.

Waiting to board a flight that was delayed, so I watched a couple come into the terminal and head towards our gate. I was there very early and observed pretty much everyone coming on our flight.  The couple reached the gate area and observed the number of passengers waiting, along with two wheelchaired passengers all the way up front.

The husband sets their things down and the wife sits with their bags.  The husband returns and they leave with their bags, only to return with the wife now riding in a Southwest wheelchair.  He brings the wife right to the front of the lines, and waits.  Mind you they were both carrying bags and walking, through security, through the terminals…

Boarding begins, and they are brought down to the plane before anyone,  After the “A”s board and most of the “B”s board, I get down onto the plane.  As I entered the cabin who is sitting nice and comfortably in the very first row with the extra leg room, relaxing – that would be the same couple.  What a great scam – put someone in a wheelchair and board before everyone – what a great message that sends to those who truly need the wheelchairs. Perhaps they figured no one would notice their scam – we’ll I noticed.

Funny thing is when we landed no sky captain waiting to bring the wheelchair passenger wife back off the plane.  In fact, no wheelchair even waiting for their use.  You would think that if the crew saw that they needed a wheelchair to board, they would require one when they departed.  Guess not, not that they wouldn’t have simply taken the chair and ditched it once in the terminal.

What’s wrong with people – has our society simply become a “get anything I can for myself at any cost” society?  Doesn’t anyone have pride and self-respect any more?

I wish I could turn off the observations at times.

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We have the resources to get to the bottom of your most complex financial matters. Our team of forensic accountants brings a varied background of experience to each matter.

Heading the team is Stephen A. Pedneault. A CPA and forensic accountant, Steve is also a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF) and is a Forensic Certified Public Accountant (FCPA). He brings nearly three decades of accounting and fraud investigation experience to the firm.