Investigation Intelligence: The Technology of Truth
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Posted by John Finneran

An investigation is a search for truth. It need not involve the police or the courts. It could be financial regulators assessing whether to supervise an institution more closely. It includes internal auditors identifying and reducing risks or government investigators surfacing patterns of suspicious or illegal behavior. At its core, an investigation is a project that analyzes information. The initial line of questioning may be clear. But the path to truth is obscure.

Find a needle in a pile of needles

Take the Refco affair. This multi-billion-dollar commodities firm, collapsed in 2005 because it had kept a $430 million debt secret from its shareholders. An auditor stumbled across the fraud when he noticed a miniscule difference in interest rates among the firm’s thousands of loans. The hero of this story, the auditor, observed:

"This isn't a needle in a haystack. It's a needle in a pile of needles."

All investigators face similar challenges.

Blind to the 90%

Investigations require fast work with few people. Critical facts and relevant risks hide in unstructured data, which spreads across silos and systems. For example, words in a PDF document could be critical, but what if you can’t find them? 90% of the information relevant to investigations hides in documents, emails, chat messages and so forth. The common audit and investigative tools only handle structured information. The typical investigator is blind to 90% of the relevant information. And these tools only work for investigations with predictable paths (which can be modeled in rules-based systems.

These tools fall short for ever-changing investigations, such as anti-money laundering. As Alex Meehan, the Head of Financial Crime Intelligence and Analytics at Nordea, remarked:

“Traditional rule-based transaction monitoring systems [a set of ‘if x then y’ rules] are limited in their ability to monitor complex behaviors. Banks are therefore looking for additional analytics-driven capabilities in detecting money laundering activity.”

Investigators need and deserve modern tools to help them do their jobs better. We owe it to them.

Find the truth faster with Investigation Intelligence

The Investigation Intelligence solution from Sinequa helps investigators accelerate how they find connections and spot irregularities amid immense volumes of mostly unstructured information.

Based on enterprise search technology, the Investigation Intelligence solutions helps investigators survive the data explosion. This solution means investigators can search and analyze a wide range of structured and unstructured data sources to find answers faster. With the Investigation Intelligence platform, users enjoy a unified view of relevant content across all formats and sources. It enables investigators to collect, process, and analyze information more quickly than ever before.

Investigation Intelligence uses artificial intelligence to pinpoint user intent and needs dynamically. Best-in-class Investigation Intelligence platforms integrate cognitive search with advanced Natural Language Processing (NLP), Machine Learning and Deep Learning algorithms. With NLP, investigation intelligence software “reads” and extracts meaning from masses of unstructured text.

This means investigators can mine mountains of structured and unstructured data. It allows investigators to apply advanced data analysis to large data sets so as to identify patterns, trends, weak signals, and suspicious activities. These provide clues to the investigation team for further investigation.

While artificial Intelligence and machine learning collects insight from unstructured data and helps connect disparate data points and identify relationships. the Investigation Intelligence platform also helps Investigators uncover criminal activity. It does this by mapping relationships between people, bank accounts, credit card numbers, financial transactions, and many other data types.

The modern way to investigate anti-money laundering

Fraud, money laundering and economic crimes threaten the financial sector and slow economic growth. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), between EUR 715 billion and 1.87 trillion dollars is laundered every year. In 2019 regulators charged banks with $10 billion in fines related to money laundering. As New York’s top financial regulator put it:

“Banks and governments have allowed money laundering to “metastasize” inside the banking system and wrap itself “within the guts of financial institutions.”

Robust Investigation Intelligence platforms can improve this problem. With advanced data investigation processes, investigators can quickly slice through the vast amounts of unstructured and structured data. This means investigators can identify and connect suspicious transactions and people. Several leading banks and law enforcement agencies use the Investigation Intelligence solution to speed up their investigations.

For example, a leading European bank can complete its investigation audits eight times faster. Similarly, an international intelligence agency avoided increasing headcount despite a rapidly increasing case load.

Sinequa offers one of the most robust Investigation Intelligence platforms available. Its advanced relationship mapping capabilities connect people, bank accounts, credit card numbers, financial transactions. This means investigators can have a clear picture of transactions. Sinequa’s Investigation Intelligence reduces case handling time and speeds up investigations with its search and Natural Language Processing (NLP) capabilities. Investigators can find the truth faster.

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