Case Study #1 – The Mystery of a Voice Recording
Our firm was asked to examine an audio recording of a meeting between 2 people involved in a land dispute to determine its authenticity. We received 2 files with the explanation that the user had hit stop on the recording during a time they excused themselves to leave the room for a few minutes and then started a new recording.
When we analyzed the 2 files, we noted that the footer dates in the 2 files are identical, indicating that the 2 files were not separate recording, but it was one recording that was copied and manipulated into two segments. We also noted that the dates embedded in the two files were dated several months after the footer dates indicating that this recording file had been altered in some fashion.
The information that we uncovered was in contrast to the information that we had been provided. Examining the actual phone would have been ideal, but was not possible in this case.
As we later learned, the date of the modification was significant in this case and made a whole lot of sense, as the modification date was the date the owner of the audio files was served notice that the audio would be requested at an upcoming meeting. The footer date (the date of actual recording) matched the date and time of recording as agreed to by all parties.
So our conclusion was that the user recorded the entire conversation and broke it in two segments by trimming the end, save as part 1, trim the beginning, save as part 2.
After our report was issued, the person disclosed the unedited version of the recording indicating that they had made a promise to purchase land at a particular price, but this was omitted from the edited version.