Frenkels Forensics were instructed to prepare an expert forensic accounting report in relation to Proceeds of Crime on behalf of a Defendant. She had been accused of obtaining criminal benefit amounting to a figure in excess of £1.5 million arising from a wine scam in which investors had lost their investment in two different companies. The Crown was seeking assets of £150,000 as well as ‘hidden assets.’
Frenkels Forensics worked alongside their instructing Solicitors and learned Counsel and produced a robust report which showed that the Defendant’s maximum benefit should be around £100,000. We were able to point out the usual double counting as well as a number of other accounting adjustments that were necessary to the figures produced by the Crown.
A particular point of interest that arose during the hearing related to benefits that the Defendant had received in the second company in which she was not a director and was merely an employee with no control of the company’s bank account.
As far as assets were concerned, Frenkels Forensics showed that the Defendant had no assets and those she had once owned had been dissipated. We pointed out that while the Defendant had enjoyed a high lifestyle, including an expensive drug habit, any assets she had owned in the past were no longer available. This argument also followed for any ‘hidden assets’ alleged by the Crown.
The Judge ruled that while the Defendant had received benefits of just over £100,000 (not much more than our own assessment) she only had realisable assets of just over £100. This was a figure that the Defendant could pay easily. This meant that a major worry of an extended prison sentence in lieu of payment was lifted from the Defendant.