The Value of Computer Forensics: Case Examples

  1. One computer forensic examination of a husband’s laptop revealed he was setting up bank accounts in his girlfriend’s name and sending her loaded credit cards to help hide his assets. The scheme was clearly documented in Skype chat logs and e-mails. His Internet searches for information on money transfers to foreign banks and his visits to an out of the country realtor’s web site were easily documented.
  2. On a non-compete case, the client assured his lawyer that nothing illegal or embarrassing would result in the examination of his computer. The subsequent forensic discovery of deleted movies the client had videotaped of his wife in sexual relations, and his subsequent posting of the videos on the internet, was enough for counsel to lose faith in the honesty of his client and seek a settlement
  3. In an embezzlement case, the offender was frequenting pornographic web sites and was stealing company funds to pay for prostitutes and expenses at gentleman’s clubs. Computer forensics assisted with documenting fraudulent 401k loan repayments, pictures and videos of the suspect with prostitutes, and internet posting reviews by the offender of erotic dance clubs and dancers
  4. In a child custody matter, an unemployed father wanted to have custody of the children and claimed to be a doting father. The computer forensic examination of a home computer, used by the father, showed hours of on-line poker activity each day while he was supposed to be watching the children.
  5. On a libel case, electronic discovery consulting was provided to the plaintiff’s attorney on preservation holds, Internet Service Provider contacts, third party subpoenas and e-mail. A subsequent court order resulted in the recovery of e-mails on a witness’s work account from the Respondent. The Respondent e-mails revealed an attempt to bribe the witness to commit perjury in Federal court. The Respondent’s attorney quit the case and the new counsel quickly reached a seven figure settlement with the Plaintiff. Computer forensics on the libelous electronic document revealed metadata leading directly to the Respondent’s home computer.

Computers have become the filing cabinet, the roll top desk, the newspaper subscription, the bank book, the postcards and letters, diary, library, movie theater, and the Montgomery Ward catalog of generations past. A computer forensic examination that locates a Google search for “hiding assets,”” nude teens,” or “casual encounters” can dramatically affect the outcome of any case. Could computer forensics be your “smoking gun?”