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Mounting a successful financial fraud defence case can be incredibly challenging for a legal team. There are often many moving parts that need to be taken care of simultaneously, and sometimes involve multiple jurisdictions.
Thankfully, the burden of preparing criminal defences to fraud allegations is not something that solicitors and lawyers need to shoulder alone. There are actually many ways in which forensic accounting can assist.
The Challenges Faced When Preparing Criminal Defences to Fraud
Financial crime cases are usually very complicated in nature, with a web of transactions to review and reams of documentation to sift through. All evidence needs to be laid out in a specific way, and then there may be the requirement to consider the value of the fraud. It is no surprise that such cases can be a real headache for solicitors and lawyers.
Perhaps the most daunting of tasks facing solicitors when taking on a financial fraud defence case is having to deal with the sheer amount of data involved. From looking at documentation and transaction receipts, to witness statements and bank statements, it can often feel like you have a real mountain to climb.
As extremely busy professionals, there is simply not enough time in the day to go through everything in incredibly minute detail. This could mean that potentially valuable information could remain undiscovered.
The transactions involved in financial crime cases are usually vast and spun in an intricate web that can be difficult to untangle. It is sometimes difficult to figure out where to start, keep track of where a case is going and connect all the dots. It needs a thorough understanding of the figures that is tough to master.
The complications involved in a financial fraud defence case add another layer of difficulty when it comes to the presentation of evidence. To have a good chance of success, all of your points need to be laid out in a clear and concise manner, so that the judge and every single member of the jury can understand everything. How are you supposed to do that when there are transactions all over the place, or mountains of paperwork to follow?
A final potential roadblock for defence teams is when it comes to quantifying the benefit gained from illegal activity. How can you tell if it has been overly inflated or whether there is double counting?
The good news is that forensic accounting can help you deal with all of this and more. Here’s how:
How Forensic Accounting Assists with Financial Prosecution Defence
From going through evidence with a fine tooth-comb and presenting evidence in an easy-to-follow manner, to offering new avenues of investigation and providing an expert opinion in court, there are a multitude of ways in which forensic accountants can help with financial fraud defence.
What follows is by no means an exhaustive list, as there may be other ways in which you can rely on forensic accounting that depends entirely on the individual circumstances of a case. This is why it is a good idea to arrange an initial consultation, where you will receive a brief assessment of the situation and be told exactly how the forensic accountant believes they can help.
Focused on the Facts
It is not uncommon for the prosecution’s case to be built on what is essentially a lazy interpretation of the situation, or for them to twist the evidence to suit their case. For example, they may have cherry-picked certain transactions to prove the fraud, without considering the wider circumstances or the existence of double counting.
A forensic accountant, on the other hand, will carry out a thorough investigation of the case using all of the evidence provided. They are experts when it comes to analysing the data and identifying patterns, and will soon be able to tell if the prosecution’s argument holds water or not.
Forensic accounting is a specialist profession that is built on the art of taking complex and voluminous data and providing an expert opinion based on the evidence available. This type of approach can work wonders for a criminal defence team.
New Ways of Thinking
One of the main avenues of a forensic accounting investigation is to follow the money, wherever it may go. This can sometimes completely alter the trajectory of a case and cause it to move in a new direction. It could even unlock new trails of evidence that may prove vital to the success of a case, which might have otherwise been left undiscovered.
During the consultation, a forensic accountant will typically chart a course for where it believes an investigation should go. As mentioned above, this will be based solely on facts and figures, something that prosecution teams can sometimes find difficult to handle.
Attention to Detail
Be honest, nobody really wants to sift through reams and reams of complicated documents to try and find the proverbial needle in a haystack. However, doing so will often unearth a valuable piece of the puzzle that is instrumental to securing a positive result for a defendant.
This is where forensic accounting excels. Forensic accountants specialise in intricately reviewing data and going through large volumes of documentation and data to piece together specific patterns of behaviour. They are also able to unravel an incredibly complex series of transactions that may seem impossible to decipher.
When there is so much riding on finding that elusive shred of evidence, why leave anything to chance? Instructing a forensic accountant will ensure no stone is left unturned, and give financial fraud defence teams one less thing to worry about.
Presentation of Evidence
It is important that the financial information in a case is presented to the judge and jury in a simple, understandable format. This is often extremely difficult to manage.
Luckily, forensic accounting does not just deal with investigating the facts, but also how they are interpreted. A forensic accountant will specialise in taking complex pieces of information and presenting it in a detailed yet easy-to-understand manner, usually in the form of a report and schedules.
Having something that is compelling and simple to follow makes the job of a criminal defence solicitor so much easier.
An Expert Opinion
Let us say that you have now provided your evidence to the court and it is time for it to be cross-examined. Would you be confident enough in your own understanding and interpretation to effectively field all of the questions that are thrown in your direction?
This is another arena in which forensic accountants thrive. They will be specialists in assisting financial fraud defence teams as an expert witness, and back up their evidence under intense cross-examination. Indeed, the involvement of a forensic accountant in this capacity has sometimes been instrumental in securing a positive result for a client.
As we touched upon earlier, a large number of prosecution cases will be based on their own interpretation of the facts. This extends to the quantification of criminal benefit, which can often be inflated to try and make their argument more shocking and compelling.
Because forensic accountants carry out a thorough review of the figures, they are able to ascertain the true value of a case. This includes identifying what money was obtained by the defendant legally and illegally, or analysing whether they received any funds from proceeds of crime.
This level of skill has been utilised successfully to significantly reduce the value of a fraud to that which is more realistic.
Dedication to Results
You may have noticed a few times where we have talked about securing a positive result for a client, and this is no accident. A forensic accountant will work tirelessly to achieve the best possible outcome, whether that be the total acquittal of a defendant, reduction of the sentence or having the severity of fines reduced.
By instructing a forensic accountant to assist in your financial fraud defence case, you will gain access to an extremely high level of skill and determination that can prove pivotal in achieving a successful outcome.
Expert Fraud Defence Advice from Inquesta
Defending a financial crime case takes a meticulous approach to the figures, and an ability to effortlessly present evidence in an easy-to-manage yet compelling manner. This is where Inquesta excels.
We are specialists when it comes to financial fraud defence, and have been instructed in a wide number of situations, including:
- Defending Confiscation Orders
- Accounting irregularities
- Money laundering
- Drug cases
The Inquesta team works tirelessly in our pursuit of the best possible result. We always endeavour to place the requirements of our clients at the forefront of everything we do. In addition, we have great experience in obtaining Legal Aid funding and are able to take on cases at Legal Aid rates. All of this, while being acutely aware of the different quirks this entails.
If you are looking for a no-nonsense, results driven forensic accounting service that is proven to deliver success, contact a member of our team today or book a free consultation.