When someone is found guilty of a crime, the next questions that must be asked is did they profit from that crime and what the punishment for their crime should be.
As such, proceeds of crime investigations – which assess the extent to which an individual or group profited financially from a criminal act – are integral parts of the justice system. But they are rarely straightforward.
Take the news in July this year those six women had been convicted of promoting a “destructive and socially corrosive” £21 million pyramid scheme which fleeced thousands of investors. Police attempted to reclaim this money, which was taken from unsuspecting investors and pocketed by the culprits, but this proved troublesome, largely because the money they had earned illegally had already been spent.
In the end the police confiscated assets – properties, cars, etc. – that had been bought with the money they had stolen. However, one woman was ordered to repay just £1 under the Proceeds of Crime Act as that was all her “available assets” were agreed to be worth.
There are two main obstacles that must be overcome in reaching a fair settlement in a proceeds of crime case: finding out how much is owed, and establishing how much the guilty party is able to pay back. It is these two things that Frenkels Forensics’ are regularly called upon to assist with.
The first part of the challenge is often to separate the dirty money from the clean money. In other words, to demonstrate what money came through illegal acts such as fraud and what money came from perfectly legitimate sources, like a perfectly above board job. Forensic accounting is the art of following paper trials and analysing data to discover this sort of information.
Acting on behalf of the defendant, Frenkels Forensics can also produce a report detailing the entire assets owned by an individual, thus ensuring they are not forced to make repayments that they simply cannot afford.
For expert help in a criminal case involving proceeds of crime or any other type of financial dispute contact Frenkels Forensics for an independent appraisal.
We can help assist individuals, companies, lawyers, barristers and accountants in conducting a full investigation into accounts to ensure a fair settlement for the prosecution or defendant.
By Vitek Frenkel – find me via Google+.