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Forensic investigators giving expert witness evidence

Member: Nifa

Investigations have been ongoing for some years in the case of a South Wales man who was found to have hidden assets by a judge earlier this month. The man owns a skip hire business and had already been jailed for eight months for breaching conditions of his waste permit.

He was originally investigated following a large fire that burned at one of his waste sites for 10 days. Local residents had complained for years about the volume of waste on the site and the resulting bad smell and rats that fed on it. The site had a permit for 620 tonnes of waste but by the time it caught fire, actually stored 4,000 tonnes.

Following a forensic accountants’ review of his bank accounts, other documentation and personal and business correspondence, the judge decided that the total available amount, including the hidden funds, cash, vehicles and property, came to almost £340,000. This will go some way to helping to pay the £950,000 that the clean-up operation at the waste site will cost.

The hidden assets the judge refers to comprise a sum of £73,695 removed from the main business account over the two-and-a-half months leading up to the man’s conviction in 2015, which he claimed may have gone on increased business costs but was withdrawn when he was no longer a director, and a sum of £39,000 removed from the account of another of his businesses over the three months after he was imprisoned. However, he denied all involvement with this other business.
The judge did not believe his protestations, saying he was “entirely satisfied” that that the man was hiding additional assets.

In cases such as this, forensic accountants would not only help to try to find every penny that had been illegally transferred but would also be able to write a report or act as expert witnesses in the case so that a judge could come to the correct conclusion.

Author: Roger Isaacs, 5 June 2017

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