NIFA NEWS

Old fashioned but effective

The case of fraudsters being thwarted by financial investigators using “good, old-fashioned detailed assessment” and interviews illustrates how vital it is for forensic accountants to use traditional methods of enquiry as well as more technologically advanced techniques.

Recently, teams of financial investigators have been brought in to prevent fraud in East Anglia by people trying to take improper advantage of the Government’s Right to Buy scheme.

Under the rules of the scheme, council house tenants are given the chance to buy their homes at a generous discount if they meet strict criteria. However, fraudsters have been trying to cheat the system.

Councils in East Anglia have therefore brought in the investigators to assess the applications and, so far, they have saved £3.4 million in one district alone. Meanwhile, in addition to the money that would have been lost, the savings include money they would have spent finding other properties to replace those sold under Right to Buy.

As one council auditor commented, the work of the investigation team has been crucial in “financially challenging times”. She added that while the financial investigators’ intelligence gathering operation has been helped by sharing information with other agencies, most of the fraud is prevented by ‘old-fashioned’ methods, such as scrutinising documentation and interviewing applicants.

Regardless of the suspected crime, forensic accountants use similar methods, such as collecting all the relevant documentation and examining it in minute detail to find any anomalies. They also look into patterns that might emerge and conduct interviews to see if there are inconsistencies in the evidence.

Roger Isaacs, Partner at Milsted Langdon, said: “Hiring a forensic accountant can prove vital when it comes to trying to prove or disprove complex allegations of financial crime or fraud.

“Examining the evidence closely and scrutinising the smaller details is often the key to unlocking a case.”

For more information about how Milsted Langdon can help, please contact Roger at risaacs@milsted-langdon.co.uk or by calling 0117 945 2500. 

Author: Roger Isaacs 6 August 2018

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