Money may make the world go around, but in doing so it can become entangled in complex financial situations and even criminal activity. As providers of the most focused network of UK expert witnesses, we have seen first-hand the increasing demand for forensic accountant expert witnesses in a wide variety of cases. From divorce cases in Family Law to money laundering and cases involving fraud, money can be held, hidden or stolen in a multitude of manners. Unlike a solicitor, a forensic accountant expert witness has profound knowledge, vast experience, and unrivalled observational skills when it comes to money matters. This week we want to share some of the cases for which a forensic accountant expert witness is required and what you can expect from their involvement.
Even before money is called into question, divorce is a sensitive and often volatile process. Ordinarily, sitting at the centre of a divorce settlement is the division of shared assets – and shared debts. Dividing some of these marital assets is simple and can be done so amicably. However, in some cases, this process can be complex where assets are concealed and money is not easily quantifiable in items such as furniture, jewellery or art.
In order to make the divorce settlement process as smooth and fair as possible, solicitors will often appoint a forensic accountant expert witness. With their skills and experience in the financial field, the forensic accountant expert witness can investigate every possible avenue in which money may be tied up or hidden. In doing so, they can give a definitive sum which correctly represents the matrimonial financial assets and can therefore be divided accordingly.
Fraudulent activity and the necessity of being aware of it have been in the spotlight of late. Only this month an advert created by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has been running as part of their new campaign alongside The Pensions Regulator. The TV advert shows how clever and well-equipped fraudsters manage to live a phenomenal retirement by scamming unsuspecting victims of their pension fund. Reports detail that in 2017, 253 fraud victims lost an average of £93,000 each. These professional fraudsters are increasingly targeting financially vulnerable people so it is unsurprising that forensic accountant expert witnesses are in demand.
Of course, this is only one example of financial fraud for which a forensic accountant expert witness is required. There are many ways in which people can become victims of financial fraud and in these cases, a forensic accountant expert witness can apply the same rigorous evaluation process to understand how the money was taken, by whom, and when and where to it went. Their findings can be supplied directly to the solicitor and shared as evidence in court.
Money Laundering, tax evasion, embezzlement; each is an illegal activity. Unfortunately, the network of processes involved in moving, disguising and misrepresenting money is often intricate and immensely complex. This means that it can be difficult to find hard evidence for conviction.
Whilst a solicitor is unlikely to have the targeted knowledge to understand the process and uncover leads for those responsible for such crimes, a forensic accountancy expert witness is vastly experienced in such cases. Whether heavily facilitated by technology or baring a physical paper trail, the appointed forensic accountant expert witness can scour the existing evidence with a fine tooth comb in order to establish when, how and to what extent the financial crime has been committed. The solicitor can then take these findings to build their case and share with the court thereby enabling the carriage of justice.
If you require a forensic accountant expert witness for your case, get in touch with the team at Foresight today.