White Collar Investigation
In recent years, white collar crime in for profit and not-for-profit entities has increased and costs businesses billions of dollars every year. The drive to commit white collar crime is often motivated by personal financial gain and can range from small scale theft of corporate assets to large scale accounting fraud. Our team of forensic accountants is experienced in working with in-house and outside counsel to identify and unwind fraud schemes, as well as pinpoint those involved. This type of expertise has become integral to fraud investigations.
EisnerAmper’s Forensic, Litigation and Valuation Services Group, is retained as consultants and testifying experts in white collar crime cases by both defense counsel and the prosecution.
Establishing reasonable doubt on the issue of intent is a challenge faced by criminal defense attorneys handling a white collar fraud or embezzlement case, especially where the government can prove intent through inference or circumstantial evidence. As forensic accountants familiar with white collar crime investigations, we have the technical expertise to assist the criminal defense lawyer to accumulate the evidence that he or she needs to cast doubt on the defendant's intent to commit the fraud or embezzlement. This can be accomplished by showing, for example, that the defendant was financially viable and, therefore, would have little reason to steal or defraud the employer, or that the funds were diverted by mistake or oversight.
Even if a defendant is found guilty of a white collar crime, as forensic accountants we can often still be useful in helping to uncover other perpetrators, giving the defense attorney the opportunity to negotiate a reduced sentence in exchange for the defendant's information about co-conspirators. In addition, the forensic accountant can be invaluable in demonstrating that the government’s quantification of the amount of the fraud is over stated and, thereby, provide facts needed by defense counsel to argue for a reduced sentence for the defendant in accordance with sentencing guidelines. We are also valuable to the defense counsel in helping him or her understand the complex accounting, auditing, internal control, tax and other financial issues which are usually critical in a successful white collar crime defense. In addition, we are often asked to explain how a financial fraud could have taken place without an organization’s high level financial personnel being aware that a fraud was being committed.
On the prosecution side, we serve as key players in helping law enforcement authorities investigate crimes that result in financial losses by performing the forensic investigation that will give the government the details that it needs to support its case and by explaining complex accounting and financial aspects of a case to a jury. As in the case with the defense, on the prosecution side, we are valuable to the government prosecutors in helping them understand the complex accounting, auditing, internal control, tax and other financial issues which are usually critical in a successful prosecution.