Step Five: Check for Predication and Get Organized

Review the allegations and information collected thus far to determine if there is adequate “predication” to proceed.

Predication means having a factual basis – reasonable grounds,  or, as commonly expressed, “probable cause” – to conduct an investigation.  It usually develops in stages: an anonymous tip, for example, might be enough predication to discreetly check internal records, which can provide predication for still further inquiries, and so on.

An investigator should not investigate beyond the available predication, as the investigation will be appear to be without foundation and punitive.  Investigating beyond the available predication is unlikely to be productive anyway.

If law enforcement assistance is to be required (e.g., to subpoena documents, execute search warrants or request international legal assistance), take steps to ensure that there is sufficient probable cause to obtain such assistance.

At this stage, continue to refine your “Case Theory,” remind yourself of the relevant elements of proof and regularly review and update your chronology and other summary documents.  Remember, the goal in any complex investigation is to follow the leads  (rather than merely collecting more and more information) and to simplify the case by focusing on the important, relevant transactions and eliminating the unimportant, irrelevant ones.