In another case a contract for the sale of old junk of aero planes was executed between Indian Airlines and a private vendor. An auditor suspected the substitution of the last page of the tender which was showing much lower rate than expected for the sale of aluminium, plastics and rubber parts of the discarded planes. During the examination of the said page of the contract, experts observed that there is mention of a land line telephone number below the name and signature of the vendor.
On checking with the telephone department it was established that the telephone exchange which had issued the telephone line mentioned in the contract was commissioned much later to the vendor than the date of signing the sale agreement.
Thus, it was established that the last page of the sale agreement was substituted and hence forged and backdated documents.
Documents feature prominently in all manner of business and personal affairs. Almost any type of document may become disputed in an investigation or litigation. For example, a questioned document may be a sheet of paper bearing handwriting or mechanically-produced text such as a ransom note, a forged cheque or a business contract. Or it may be some material not normally thought of as a ‘document’. FDEs define the word “document” in a very broad sense as being any material bearing marks, signs or symbols intended to convey a message or meaning to someone.
Examinations and comparisons conducted by document examiners can be quite diverse and may involve any of the following:
- Handwriting (cursive / printing) and Signatures
- Typewriters, Photocopiers, Laser printers, Ink Jet Printers, Fax machines
- Chequewriters, Rubber stamps, Price markers, Label makers
- Printing Processes
- Ink, Pencil, Paper
- Alterations, additions, erasures, obliterations
- Indentation detection and/or decipherment
- Sequence Determination
- Physical Matching
A trainee must learn how to present evidence before the court in clear, forceful testimony. Fledgling examiners in the later stages of training can get a glimpse into the legal process as well as a better sense of this aspect of their work through participation in a mock trial or by attending actual court hearings to observe the testimony of qualified examiners. These are guidelines and not requirements.