On Making Money As a Fraud Investigator

The recent publication of a report detailing the results of an investigation of Usana Health Sciences done by Barry Minkow, Fraud Discovery Institue, and other professionals has prompted some criticism.

One criticism I’ve seen is the fact that *gasp* the Fraud Discovery Institute is a for-profit corporation and there was a paying client in the Usana matter.

When did it become wrong to get paid for investigating fraud? You see, I investigate fraud. That’s my job. It’s how I make a living. I’m good at it. Because I’m good at it, people are willing to pay me money to do it. It is up to me to maintain objectivity in my investigations and reporting. Even when I have paying clients.

And yes, I have had investigations not turn out the way the client wanted them to. And I did not manipulate my results to please them. I reported the facts as they were.

All the fraud investigators I know get paid to do their work. They either receive a paycheck from their employer, or they have clients who pay them. But they are compensated just as any other professional who does a job. (Have you ever seen outrage at the fact that a doctor is paid to perform an operation? That a painter is paid to paint a house? That a secretary is paid to file documents? That a chef is paid to cook meals?)

Yet those who don’t like the results of the Usana investigation use the fact that there is a paying client to cast doubt upon the results. Let’s face it, people. Barry is a good fraud investigator. He has real world experience (unfortunately on the wrong side of the law) that makes him effective at what he does. Should he not get paid to do what he does well?

Of course he should. As should I. As should any other fraud investigator.


  1. What I don’t understand is why Usana was targeted? There are many more less reputable Network marketing companies that should have been targeted, but haven’t been yet (eg, FFI, SHAKLEE, etc). I’d like to know who paid Mr. Minkow to investigate Usana specifically. This wasn’t just an investigator getting paid, this was someone specifically targeted Usana. Another thing that bothers me is that I don’t know any reputable investigators that place paid advertising on google after an investigation. It’s almost like there is a vendetta against Usana. The whole thing smells fishy to me. I am very curious what the S.E.C finds out

  2. Tracy

    It really does not matter who paid for the investigation. We did an independent investigation and published our results. Period.

    So you say other companies are “less reputable”. So what? There are plenty of other companies that others would say are even “less reputable” than the ones that you listed. Are we only supposed to investigate the companies that you think are “the worst” and leave the rest alone?

    As for paid advertising… What are you suggesting is the problem with that? Did not Usana pay for advertising about their lawsuit against Barry? Is it wrong to want people to see the findings of the independent investigation?

  3. I applaud the effort Barry Minkow of FDI and Robert Fitzpatrick and Crew over at PSA as well! When the Top 3 to 5% makes 90% or more of the commissions, something is wrong and skewed.

    I too Investigate online investment fraud, and scams such as HYIP (High Yeild Investment Programs) and AutoSurfs.

    I pay for advertisement of my findings as well. It’s called good stewardship. Making people aware of the issues at hand.

    There are always going to be two sides to every story. When dealing with a multi-million dollar company like Usana, you have to take it to their level.

    Once again Barry Great Job!

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