Fraud and investigations

Using forensic analysis, innovative thinking, specialist and investigative training and, if required, state of the art computer forensic tools provided by a reliable high profile business partner, we are able to provide an outstanding investigative service.

We provide practical strategies and advice designed to limit the impact of an incident, and identify the range of likely outcomes and the critical success factors which will ultimately determine recoverability.

We have significant experience of working with clients to identify how a “black hole” has arisen, whilst minimising disruption to the company and ensuring that financial and commercial considerations are taken into account.

In these circumstances, we have provided advice as to any potential negligence claims against auditors or other advisors. Furthermore, as either a proactive or reactive assignment we also have experience of advising clients on the implementation of systems and changes in control procedures to offer improved protection against fraud.

Our recent experience includes investigating and reporting on claims for:

  • procurement fraud;
  • employee expenses fraud;
  • accounting “black holes”;
  • inappropriate diversion of trade; and
  • financial motive following insurance claims.

Criminal defence

We are often instructed by solicitors in criminal matters as a full understanding of the accountancy evidence can have a significant bearing on the assessment of the strength of the prosecution evidence. We provide expert accounting evidence where individuals are subject to prosecution for fraud and white collar crime, focusing on the following three areas:

  • consideration of the key issues and giving input into case strategy;
  • assessment of the financial evidence; and
  • preparation of reports and appearing as expert witness.

Having acted on a large number of cases funded by the Legal Services Commission, we are able to tailor our approach to meet the LSC’s funding constraints and are also more than happy to assist in the dialogue with the LSC that now seems necessary these days to secure funding for our work to be approved.

Our recent experience includes:

  • VAT carousel fraud - preparing an expert report on behalf of the defendant accused of being an intermediary in a VAT carousel fraud. Our work focused on whether the actions of the accused were truly “badges of fraud” as alleged, or could alternatively be explained by commercial practicality;
  • Wrongful trading and directors’ duties - acting on behalf of a finance director accused of conspiring to defraud creditors of a failed enterprise. It was first necessary to reconstruct the accounts of the company from the remaining electronic books and records. This allowed us to generate a chronology of events, and determine who knew what and when. We also were required to consider the general duties and responsibilities of a company director, and whether those had been properly discharged by the defendant;
  • False accounting and conspiracy to defraud - performing a review of the books and records of a sole trader’s unincorporated business to determine the “true” income of the owner, following suspicion of suppressed earnings disclosed in the accounts.

Proceeds of crime

Increasingly, courts are hearing cases concerning confiscation of assets of a defendant following his conviction, in which the defendant is said to have a “criminal lifestyle”. The purpose of confiscation proceedings is to deprive the defendant of the financial benefit that he has obtained from criminal conduct.

In recent years we have developed a particular expertise in dealing with the accounting aspects raised in confiscation proceedings, including dealing with the often exaggerated benefit and available asset figures calculated within Section 16 Statements prepared by various prosecuting authorities.