In this article, I discuss how a forensic accountant can help criminal defence lawyers bolster the cases of their clients, and what is the best way to instruct an accounting expert.
Financial crime and Confiscation cases require a detailed, thorough analysis and investigation of financial records. Often the Prosecution’s case is not based on expert evidence and relies on the Prosecution’s interpretation of the facts.
Recently we have seen an influx of confiscation cases where the Prosecution has simply alleged that the full value of the Benefit is available and has been hidden. This is often based on a lazy interpretation of the facts with no real effort to ascertain the true position.
To improve the chances of success, data needs to be presented in a simple and concise way to enable both a jury and judge to understand it. A forensic accountant does this as standard, and is often adept at acting as an expert witness under cross examination.
At Inquesta, our work regularly includes such things as:
- Analysing high volumes of data
- Tracing the flow of funds between multiple bank accounts
- Identifying the final destination of criminal monies
- Assessing the value of the crimes
- Differentiating between legitimate and illegitimate monies
- Assessing the Defendant’s personal gain from his criminal activities
- Identifying what, if any, criminal proceeds the Defendant has received
In relation to Confiscation orders, we are regularly instructed to consider:
- The source of unexplained credits
- Evidence of any Hidden Assets or Tainted Gifts.
We have had consistent success on these types of cases resulting in Defendant’s being acquitted or having their Benefit and Available Amount significantly reduced.
A large part of our work is funded by the Legal Aid Agency (LAA) and we are acutely aware of the complications and quirks that this entails.
Generally, to instruct a forensic accountant and to enable us to provide a quote quickly, we require the following:
We generally aim to turn around a quote within 24 hours.
We are always happy to have a no obligation conversation, and to consider whether we are able to identify any other areas of work which you or Counsel may not have considered, that could assist your client’s case.