Case Study: Check Images Analysis

“With ScanWriter, I saved at least 9 months’ worth of work.”

District Attorney’s Office


A California District Attorney’s office was assigned a large embezzlement case that involved a sophisticated web of money transfers and wire fraud, including 100,000+ checks.


ScanWriter for Excel


With ScanWriter’s Data Capture and Analytics Technology, a DA’s Office Built a case from 100,000 Check Images


A California District Attorney’s Office was assigned a large embezzlement case that involved a sophisticated web of money transfers and wire fraud. The case’s evidence was sent to the Economic Crimes Division to be processed and analyzed.

The judge had subpoenaed a large amount of financial records, including more than 100,000 check images, that required examination to determine how much the defendant stole. The agency would use forensic techniques to gather information that helped the prosecution build its case.

However, the case’s investigator – limited by time and resources as well as numerous backlogged cases – was overwhelmed by the challenges of logging the information, organizing the documents for court, and analyzing the data. After weeks of hand-keying the checks into Excel – date, check number, payee, amount, and more – the investigator realized that manually entering the checks would take over 10 months, even if he dedicated his entire time to that one case.

This realization led to a late night internet search for a better solution.


The investigator discovered ScanWriter for Excel and learned that it could automate the data capture process, converting data from his PDF check images to Excel. Once purchased, ScanWriter streamlined his case workflow and created a structured spreadsheet within a week.

Each data type was classified into a distinct Excel column. This setup allowed him to sort and search the transactions in question swiftly.

The investigator noted, “This case would have taken over 1500 hours for me to manually enter into Excel… that doesn’t include the time spent in double-checking my own work…”

To facilitate data integrity, the investigator ensured that the DA had the ScanWriter Excel Add-in when he delivered his findings to be reviewed in court. Then, if the judge and opposing counsel questioned the validity of his data, the DA could retrieve and display the original PDF check image by clicking on the appropriate Excel cell.

The investigator touts, “I was confident in my work…. I knew if they had questions, the attorney wouldn’t have to search for the check image. He can click on the cell and the check image would display in seconds.”

Prior to that case, the investigator worked with an analyst from his team to generate data visualizations of their findings. But this time, instead of manually creating pivot tables, the investigator used ScanWriter’s direct integration with Microsoft’s Power BI.

The investigator got the visualizations within minutes. He easily saw the connections, patterns, and insights in the evidence to support the prosecutor’s case.

Business Benefits

With ScanWriter, the District Attorney’s office was able to get the necessary financial data efficiently and found the evidence needed to prosecute the case.

ScanWriter’s user-friendly interface helped the investigator process 100,000 checks with 100% accuracy. He did not have to spend time double-checking his data entry or stress about completing the case on time.

The investigator said that, without ScanWriter, he would still be entering the case’s data. Such incomplete assignments are a large burden for the agency and the public they serve.

ScanWriter saved the investigator 9 months of work for that single project. With it concluded, the investigator planned on assisting the office’s backlogged cases.

Now, the investigator confidently takes on any size project that the DA’s office assigns to him. He knows he can collect, organize, and accurately analyze data. With the additional benefits of the audit trail in Excel and Power BI visualization, ScanWriter helps the office better serve the public.

“I caught up on all my backlogged cases [within a month].”

Investigator, District Attorney’s Office

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