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Forensic Accountant uncovers fraudster

Member: Nifa

Although it tends to be the big money stories that hit the headlines, forensic accountants are key in ‘ordinary’ situations where people suspect fraud, as a recent story that made the local press underlines.

A carer in Preston, Lancashire, was jailed for six years last month for defrauding £100,000 from an elderly man in her care after forensic accountants found she had stolen money from his account and defrauded him in terms of costs.

87-year-old Geoffrey Cooke employed Toni Chippendale to look after him but his family was suspicious over financial dealings related to the sale of his home. They alerted the police whose forensic accountant found that the woman had become the third party signatory on his account and was withdrawing large sums of money from it. Furthermore, when his house was sold for £176,000, she had the money paid into her bank account and then put back only £73,000, which she tried to convince them was the selling price. She also overcharged Mr Cooke to the tune of £25,000 for care services.

The forensic accountant’s findings were enough to gain an acceptable guilty plea from the woman prior to trial. Sadly, Mr Cooke passed away before she had admitted her guilt.

Regardless of the amount of money involved, if a forensic accountant is tasked with delving into someone’s finances, they will find out what has been going on – which means that they are equally able to look for evidence of innocence as for that of guilt. In this case suspicion was well founded.

Author: Roger Isaacs, 4 July 2016

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