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Investigating Shipping Shenanigans

Uncovering the illicit shipment of goods in violation of federal and state laws and a franchise owner's corporate policies.

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The Problem

The laws and regulations for shipping alcohol vary by U.S. state. They also depend on whether the shipper is a licensed dealer, a manufacturer or a seller and whether the receiver is of age to accept the package. For these reasons and others, one national gourmet food chain expressly forbade their franchisees from selling or shipping alcoholic beverages.

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The Solution

We first determined if more than three of the franchises were shipping and selling alcohol, and then we placed and received online orders for these products. We assessed, surveilled and further investigated 16 locations in 10 states to conclusively determine what other shipping carriers the franchisees were using.

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The Results

Our investigation helped management crack down on illicit alcoholic beverage shipments for the franchise. We also recommended solutions, including offering court-admissible evidence and expert witness testimony to support canceling or renegotiating franchisee contracts; filing lawsuits against the franchisees; and potentially referring the issue to federal, state, and local law enforcement.

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