Forensic Fraud

1st Edition

Evaluating Law Enforcement and Forensic Science Cultures in the Context of Examiner Misconduct

Print ISBN: 9780124080737
eBook ISBN: 9780124080584
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 17th May 2013
Page Count: 296
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Forensic Fraud is the culmination of 12 years of research by author Brent E. Turvey. A practicing forensic scientist since 1996, Turvey has rendered this first of its kind study into the widespread problem of forensic fraud in the United States. It defines the nature and scope of the problem, the cultural attitudes and beliefs of those involved, and establishes clear systemic contributors. Backed up by scrupulous research and hard data, community reforms are proposed and discussed in light of the recently published National Academy of Sciences report on forensic science.

An adaptation of Dr. Turvey’s doctoral dissertation, this volume relentlessly cites chapter and verse in support of its conclusions that law enforcement cultural and scientific values are incompatible, and that the problem of forensic fraud is systemic in nature. It begins with an overview of forensic fraud as a sub-type of occupational fraud, it explores the extent of fraud in both law enforcement and scientific employment settings, it establishes and then contrasts the core values of law enforcement and scientific cultures and then it provides a comprehensive review of the scientific literature regarding forensic fraud. The final chapters present data from Dr. Turvey’s original research into more than 100 fraudulent examiners between 2000 and 2010, consideration of significant findings, and a review of proposed reforms to the forensic science community based on what was learned. It closes with a chapter on the numerous crime lab scandals, and closures that occurred between 2010 and 2012 – an update on the deteriorating state of the forensic science community in the United States subsequent to data collection efforts in the present research.

Forensic Fraud is intended for use as a professional reference manual by those working in the criminal system who encounter the phenomenon and want to understand its context and origins. It is intended to help forensic scientist an

Key Features

  • First of its kind overview of the cultural instigators of forensic fraud
  • First of its kind research into the nature and impact of forensic fraud, with data (2000-2010)
  • First of its kind typology of forensic fraud, for use in future case examination in research
  • Numerous profiles of forensic fraudsters
  • Review of major crime lab scandals between 2010 and 2012


Forensic science professionals, legal practitioners, laboratory supervisors, forensic science students and academicians

Table of Contents



Chapter 1. Introduction


Definitions of Key Terms


Scope and Originality

Thesis Statements and the Prevailing Wisdom

Approach Overview

Chapter 2. Occupational Fraud

Fraud as a Statutory Violation

Differentiating Fraud and Negligence

Occupational Fraud

The Fraud Triangle

Traits of Occupational Fraud Perpetrators


Chapter 3. Forensic Science: A Primer

Forensic Science—Defined

Criminalistics: Some Relevant Background

“Real” Forensic Scientists

The Role of Forensic Examinations

Cardinal Traits of the Forensic Examiner

A Tale of Two Cultures


Chapter 4. Fraud in Law Enforcement Culture

Law Enforcement Duties and Obligations

Law Enforcement Discretion and Integrity

Cardinal Traits of Law Enforcement Culture

Noble Cause and Corruption

The Blue Wall of Silence

The Use of Deception

Internal Tolerance for Criminality

Fraud Diamond Theory: Assessing Common Forms of Law Enforcement Fraud


Chapter 5. Fraud and Scientific Culture

Science, Scientific Knowledge, and the Scientific Method

Science as Falsification

The Cardinal Traits of Scientific Culture

Scientific Fraud: Terms and Definitions

The Babbage Typology

Scientific Fraud: From High Profile to Mundane

The Frequency of Scientific Fraud

Fraud Diamond Theory and Scientific Misconduct


Chapter 6. Contrasting Scientific Integrity with Law Enforcement Culture

Dispensing with “Bad Apple” Theory

Relevant Criminological Theory: Routine Activities Theory, Differential Association Theory, and Role Strain

Overt Pressure to Conform

Contrasting Scientific


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"The enabling conditions and motivations behind forensic fraud are presented, with the argument that systematic incompatibilities between law enforcement culture and scientific culture are largely to blame, along with institutional negligence, rather than unavoidable ‘bad apple’ outliers."--Reference & Research Book News, October 2013

Forensic science involves the systematic analysis of materials, information and data from different sources with a view to determining facts or an evidence-based conclusion.

Fictional portrayal of forensic science by Sherlock Holmes and popular television dramas such as Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) has nurtured public interest. However, there is growing evidence of miscarriage of justice based on misleading forensic evidence. Corruption and fraud in forensic activity can have distortive effects on the truth and devastating impacts such as destroying the lives of innocent defendants, the careers of the forensic examiners involved and the costs of retesting evidence. Evidence endorsed by “expert opinion” carries an implicit assumption that it is a credible reflection of findings. This book sheds light on FRAUD, a recognised but poorly investigated aspect of forensic science.

Each chapter starts with an interesting quote from literature, forensic scientists and even Shakespeare. The chapters are well illustrated with real cases demonstrating the impact and consequences of fraud. Chapters conclude with summary points.

The layout and colour differentiation of the book allows for easy reading.

The introductory chapter gives a background to forensic fraud across practice settings with a predominantly American historical context. Definitions of terms, like scientific misconduct, forensic examiners, forensic fraud, perjury and “ghost authorship” ensure readers are grounded in the principles of the book. Fraud is a dark topic in the forensic community with compl