Report a Client for Fraud?

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I have a Client (Developer) who used whiteout and pencil to significantly alter a printout of a detail design that I had issued. It was then scanned and issued to the Contractor in electronic format with my firm’s letterhead and my initials still intact, as if it had come from us. I was not notified of the change until I happened to stop by the project site to get some unrelated information and saw what they were constructing. I asked the Superintendent why he was not following what I drew and he said it was what I issued. That’s how I discovered the change. The Superintendent was disturbed by the unauthorized revisions and said that he had a similar experience with the HVAC consultant just the day before. The Client had taken whole sections of the mechanical specifications, changed the equipment, typed up the changes, and literally cut and pasted the paper right into the Project Manual without the knowledge of the Designer.

I find this behavior shocking. The Client is certainly free to ignore his Consultant’s recommendations, but to change the Consultant’s work product and issue under the stamp of another licensed professional seems like it would rise to the level of fraud, punishable by the loss of a business license. If this were my own company, I would have dumped this Client a long time ago when he started in making sweeping changes in my investigation report, but my boss decided to continue the work. Just looking for opinions.


I wish life were easier for you. At another time and with another company, it would be a no-brainer, yes?

It seems cut and dried, have a word with the client or simply shop them.

You also may be asking:
“How do I do what I have to do and still have a job, for just as long as I need it?”

It would be so nice to know that when you find this behavior you can act as necessary knowing your company is behind you.

So before moving to the necessary action the best I can suggest is to have a word first (and sort of unofficially) with the local Professional association and make sure that whatever action is taken is done in such a way that your company must support you or face some dire consequences of their own.

I would guess the next step would be to appraise the managers of this problem and present them also with the advice/recommendations/instructions from the professional body, legal advice if possible.

In other words, take away from your own company any option of trying to ignore the situation which, I’d guess, is something they would want to do because the client is a revenue source.

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The behaviour of the client is not only shocking, but is illegal. He should certainly be reported to the appropriate engineering association who, in turn, may wish to report him to the law.

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