Deciphering The Illegal From The Legitimate: Forensic Accounting In Criminal Defence Cases

Deciphering The Illegal From The Legitimate: Forensic Accounting In Criminal Defence CasesWhen even supermarket giant Tesco can emerge red-faced after a huge accounting error, it is easy to see just how complicated company finances can be.

The British retailer overstated its half-year profit predictions by a whopping £250 million, triggering an investigation by the Financial Conduct Authority, not to mention a sharp dip on the stock market and punishment for the executives involved. It is a common example of when experts have to intervene to get to the bottom of erroneous or suspect bookkeeping – something Frenkels Forensics are well versed at.

Frenkels Forensics applies its specialist skills to proceeds of crime and criminal defence cases on a regular basis. Usually instructed on behalf of the defendant, the firm will assess reports prepared by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), which set out the monetary extent to which someone (the defendant) has benefited from a particular crime.

The purpose of the CPS’s report is to recover money and assets that have been earned and bought through illegal activity. However, forensic accountants can prove vital in ensuring the sum of money that must be repaid is fair and accurate, a task that is not always straightforward.

To illustrate; if there was a drug dealer found guilty of selling illegal substances the CPS will likely launch a Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) to recover the money the dealer had made through drug pedalling. The figures proposed may be incorrect, and Frenkels Forensics have seen calculations containing errors such as double counting, arithmetic mistakes and the inclusion of legitimate earnings.

The result is that the defendant can be hit with a benefits figure that far exceeds the amount actually earned through criminal activity. The same is true of many businesses that might stray the wrong side of the law, whether consciously or not; while their activities might not be condonable this does not equate to them being stripped of money unrelated to a particular bout of untoward behaviour.

Amidst the complexity of an individual or business’ accounts and assets, experts can establish where criminal earnings stop and legitimate money begins, thereby ensuring the state reclaims only what is owed from illegal activities and bringing justice to both sides.

For expert help with a criminal defence case, contact Frenkels Forensics for an independent appraisal.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for advice in any aspect of forensic accountancy, then do get in touch via Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn or by visiting our website

By Vitek Frenkel – find me via Google+.

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