m4iler: The bus-riding expert witness

Another work story, this time a short one. I’m posting this one because it’s already finished in my mind, but writing it, I see that there may be some addendum to take care of later.

A few years ago, my boss called me. 5PM, February. I distinctly remember that evening, it was cold as shit and I was tired.

“Hey, m4iler. I got a message and I think it’s bullshit. Could you check it out and see if it’s correct?” “Sure, send it to me, I’ll look at it.”

What came in my inbox was interesting, to say the least. It was 3 sheets of A4 paper, a lawyer’s stamp on each one, and the title was “Dispute over completion of contract by Mr. XYZ”

The introduction stated that Mr XYZ completed a contract for my boss, and he had evidence to prove it. The evidence were two black-and-white screenshots printed in portrait orientation, so a part of it was cropped off.

In the screenshot, I saw an e-mail web client. Standard inbox, sidebar, shit you see in a basic webclient.

In there was a message from my boss’ secretary saying the message was received and everything is okay, wishing him a nice weekend in the end of the message. When was the message sent? Saturday. This may seem ordinary, except that the secretary never works weekends. This fact can be verified by checking the messages sent and received by any other employee in the company. The weekend is holy to this woman.

The second flag came in the shape of the sender’s address. The fact is there wasn’t any address. The sender’s address was displayed only as “Company secretary”, nothing more. Plus, it was sent to a completely different e-mail address than the one currently open, so that meant it was forwarded at least once.

Next was another screenshot, it was supposed to be evidence that Mr XYZ handed in his work. Keep in mind as I go on that this document had a lawyer’s stamp on it!

The message had several minor flaws.

1) The attached report was 2kB in size. Hardly a “500-page work” that was supposedly handed off. 2) The screenshot obscured the recipient by being printed out in portrait orientation while the screenshot was landscape.

Both of these issues would be enough to warrant some serious dout, but get ready for the big hitter, the brain-splitter, the mouth-shitter…

It was a fucking draft of an e-mail!!!

It was a draft in a damn fucking small draft window in the browser window screenshot! It was never sent! No one sent that e-mail, it was signed, but not posted!

Plus, it was signed by the lawyer! The lawyer actually signed a document that is completely and provably falsified!

So, my report ended in a recommendation to my boss:

  • Sign all e-mail electronically, either S-MIME or PGP.
  • Get a lawyer and report him to the authorities.
  • Don’t let yourself get fucked over again.

As luck would have it, when my boss approached the police, she found out that Mr XYZ is currently being investigated on multiple counts of fraud. Apparently, he and the lawyer pulled the same stunt several times before.

I have never been an expert witness before, but it seems quite simple to do if your adversary is a retard.

White hat tips

  • Look through all the data on hand and if lead everything that seems out of a place into a logical conclusion.
  • Don’t be afraid to express your opinion, express witnesses are often require to swear “to the best of their conscience”.

Black hat tips

  • If you don’t have a lawyer on your side, just send a couple of messages to named contacts.
  • If you do have a lawyer on hand, use inspect element.

This is all for today, folks, see you in the next one!

-m