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Look Before You Leap:

Identifying Red Flags Before You Commit

Presentation Subject

Whether a business partner, major client, a vendor, or an acquisition target, the wrong business association can be costly. Through case studies, this presentation demonstrates how red flags detected through online investigative intelligence can reduce legal risk and avert costly mistakes. It addresses situations in which companies missed available, but obscure, warning signs—and ended up in litigation as a result. It describes how to gauge reputational, financial, legal, and operational risks before investing in a more traditional and all-inclusive due diligence effort. This type of research is used during investigations and disputes; in the early stages of a deal to frame the full due diligence effort; before major high-profile appointments; to develop brief profiles of potential jurors during jury selection; and to locate individuals.


Maribeth Vander Weele is President of the Vander Weele Group, a Chicago firm that provides corporate investigations and investigative intelligence. The former President of the Illinois Association of Inspectors General, Maribeth has managed thousands of investigations and due diligence projects in both the public and private sectors. Her firm has provided consulting services onsite in China, Malaysia, Singapore, Mexico, and the United States and remotely in the Middle East, South America, Canada, Indonesia, and Europe. The firm has provided more than 170 investigative projects for a Fortune 500 manufacturer and served as the outsourced Inspector General for the Public Building Commission of Chicago. A former award-winning journalist for the Chicago Sun-Times and former Inspector General of Chicago Public Schools, Maribeth has been profiled in the Wall Street Journal and other publications. She is a Certified Protection Professional and a Certified Inspector General. In 2009, Illinois Governor Patrick Quinn appointed Maribeth to a special investigatory panel to address abuses in the University of Illinois admissions process. Maribeth also served on the Illinois Gaming Board and the Cook County Board of Ethics. Maribeth has lectured at seminars at the World Bank, Harvard University, the National Business Roundtable, the local chapter of the American Society for Industrial Security, the Association of Inspectors General, the National Association of Local Government Auditors, the Illinois CPA Society, the Chicago Chapter of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University, and in many other forums nationwide and in Canada. She is author of the past book, Reclaiming Our Schools, the Struggle for Chicago School Reform, and the upcoming book, The Joy of Job, An Investigator's Perspective on the Most Righteous Man on Earth.

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