Forensic Accountancy: Crime
Case Study 1 - POCA
We were instructed on a Proceeds of Crime case which involved an original allegation of £414,000 of hidden assets. The Prosecution then advanced another hidden assets allegation, this time for £800,000 on a different basis.
We were able to prove that the original allegation of £414,000 was ill-founded and that the monies alleged to have disappeared could be traced, their ultimate use identified as dissipated and so not available for a confiscation order.
With regards the subsequent allegation of £800,000 we were again able to demonstrate that the majority of the amount could be traced and shown to have been dissipated resulting in the Prosecution having to accept our evidence.
Case Study 2 - POCA
We acted on behalf of a defendant on a Proceeds of Crime case including £1.2 million of unidentified receipts in the benefit amount.
We were able to prove from business records that most of the £1.2 million was legitimate and so was to be excluded from the benefit amount, significantly reducing the benefit amount to £18,000.
Case Study 3 - Murder: financial motive
Defence solicitors instructed us on a murder case where part of the motive was alleged to be financial, through the stealing of monies from the victim prior to the murder.
From detailed analysis of the Defendant’s personal finances over the relevant period we were able to demonstrate that the Defendant’s finances were independent from the victim’s, and that the Defendant’s income was explainable from his own resources. Our evidence was not contested by the Prosecution.
Case Study 4 - Tax Evasion
Takeaway restaurant prosecuted for non-declaration of trade with HMRC estimating a tax loss of £247,000 (VAT and Corporation Tax), but allowing minimal deduction for costs. We provided evidence of costs incurred and used accounts of comparable businesses to estimate the level of other costs that such a business would have incurred in its day-to-day operations.
Our findings and detailed calculations were accepted by HMRC resulting in a 76% reduction in the tax loss, bringing it to down to £59,000.
Case Study 5 - Tax Evasion
Defendant accepted that he had failed to declare his takeaway business for VAT purposes to HMRC, but disputed HMRC’s estimated tax loss.
We demonstrated that HMRC had ignored evidence they held as to the vatable costs incurred by the business, and had incorrectly identified the registration date for VAT by some nine months. Our report with its detailed calculations was accepted resulting in a 45% reduction in the tax loss.
Case Study 6 - Tax evasion
This was a tax evasion case that the Defendant pleaded guilty to but contested that the income and tax due per HM Revenue & Customs was significantly overstated. Therefore, for sentencing purposes we were asked to review the Prosecution’s taxable profits and tax due calculations.
We were able to demonstrate that both the income was overstated and expenses understated resulting in reduced taxable profits, that enabled the sentencing amount to be reduced to below £100,000, resulting in a suspended sentence.
Case Study 7 - POCA
In a Proceeds of Crime case, we identified both multiple shortcomings in the S.16 with the Prosecution not providing evidence in support of benefit and available amounts, and significant double/triple counting of amounts due to the flawed approach adopted in the S.16 that had a significant impact on the outcome of the POCA proceedings.
Ultimately, after the Prosecution were forced to make proper disclosure, and with detailed investigations by ourselves and the legal team, the case was settled with a benefit amount of £650,000 (first S.16 claimed £4.4m) and available amount of £39,000 (first S.16 claimed £330,000).
Case Study 8 - Acquiring / possession of criminal property
A defendant pleaded guilty to drug dealing but as a result of our report presenting the Defendant’s various sources of money from legitimate sources over a number of years e.g. car dealing, car mechanic, builder, and loans from family, the Prosecution decided not to proceed with a charge of acquiring/possession of criminal property, namely £71,000 cash seized.
Case Study 9 - Cash Seizures
A defendant had pleaded guilty in a low-level drug dealing case but insisted that £90,000 cash seized from his parent’s house was his parents’ savings not his. We undertook a review of the parent’s personal finances over their lifetime, and were able to identify based on the parent’s earnings, other legitimate sources of income, and their standard of living based on the parents’ evidence, and the UK average family spending statistics, that the £90,000 cash could be their life savings. The Court accepted this and the cash was ordered returned to the parents.