Document fraud prevention in construction industry
Document fraud is something that undermines truth & merit and it can have several negative effects wherever it happens. One industry where it can be particularly detrimental is the construction industry. Quite often in third-world countries we see false documents are presented just to cut corners and allow different types of fraudulent activities that can have a direct effect on the quality of the construction whether it’s a building, a road or any other major establishment.
Such document fraud can take various forms. Sometimes it can involve fake receipts that show the purchase of high quality expensive material whereas the contractors actually use substandard and cheap materials in an effort to make more money. On some other occasions the documents could be forged consent papers, certifications or design approvals. Whatever the case, this type of forgery and fraudulent activities must be stopped because it can have serious consequences and sometimes can even cause people to lose their lives if an accident occurs due to substandard construction based on such fraud. There should be a mechanism to ensure that the paperwork on which the decisions are made is genuine and not the source of problems in this industry.
This type of fraud in construction industry is not something new and it’s not just the third-world countries where it happens. In a recent incident, an unlicensed builder in Christchurch, New Zealand used forged council consent to carry out alterations on a house. He was of the view that it was hard to deal with the Christchurch City Council and that’s why he took the wrong path. Eventually, he pleaded guilty to the offenses of doing restricted building work without license, working without building consent and using forged document for financial gains.
In another incident in Fiji, a lawyer and his client forged Articles of Association for the BECP Engineering Construction Fiji Limited by inserting the name, address as well as signature of a person making him falsely appear as the company’s Director.
Even though the accused have been found guilty of committing the forgery, the case is still in court and there will be mitigation and sentence submission later this month.
According to another report from a Valley News Correspondent, a former manager of an energy company in Florida has pleaded guilty to the charges of taking more than 2.5 million US dollars in bribes and kickbacks for the construction work carried out on the federal facilities. He agreed to the fact that he had violated federal Anti-Kickback law and also accepted bribes between 2011 and 2016. Once again the underlying basis was the creation of a “falsified, forged and altered bid document” as per the prosecutors.
Well, all these incidents highlighted above are just the tip of the iceberg and there are several similar document fraud incidents that happen regularly all over the world. Even though such document manipulation incidents can be addressed with the help of Secure QR code technology from Qryptal, which can help to authenticate information, we are still relying on traditional methods and forms which are easily taken advantage of by people with malafide intent. Tagging all important documents with QR codes signed with the private keys of relevant authorities and scanning those QR codes with a simple app wherever the documents are presented could be the simplest way to authenticate and verify the genuineness of the information. See the schematic below to understand what I mean.
Something should be done at both private and government level to deal with such fraudulent activities and resorting to available, tested and easy to implement technology is probably the best way out!