Istill remember the early days of my transition from FBI agent to investigator for a large defense contractor. My experiences
investigating everything from bank robbery
to bank fraud definitely prepared me for the
job at Lockheed Martin . . . but I also had
a lot to learn. Investigations have
fundamental process principles—of
course—but there are significant
differences in corporate investigations
versus criminal or civil investigations.
I managed a team of investigators.
Many were former law enforcement
officers or LEOs. They tell me—to
this day—the most impactful lesson I
imparted went something like this:
Just remember, the subject you interview
today is the colleague you’ll see in the
I wanted to emphasize to my team the
difference: in a criminal investigation you
might see the “defendant” in handcuffs
and again in court. Otherwise, they were
sentenced and you never heard from them
again. (Well, there was the one guy who sent me a
holiday card for several years, but I digress.)
In a corporate investigation, the
reporting parties, witnesses, and subjects
are all colleagues. They are the employees
driving your company to success. It is vitally
important to treat them with dignity and
respect. It is equally important to have a
defined investigative process, structured
enough for consistency and fairness,
yet flexible enough to accommodate the
“employee” in “employee relations.” No two
cases are alike—as any of us know who have
been doing this a while.
What does this have to do with “RIPE
CROP”? I am so glad you asked.
RIPE CROP is an acronym adopted by
Lockheed Martin Ethics Officers to help us
train (and remember) the investigative stages
we follow. It looks something like this:
The value of a ripe crop
» There are significant differences in approaching corporate investigations versus criminal or civil investigations.
» It is important for your company to have a defined investigative process.
» There are eight fundamental investigative steps common to corporate investigations.
» The acronym RIPE CROP helps identify these investigative steps: Report, Intake, Plan, Evidence; Conclusion, Report,
Offer Feedback, and Present
» This article offers insights on the value of investigative interviews, planning, evidence gathering, report writing,
by Wendy W. Evans, CCEP, CFE