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Importance of Forensic Investigators

Member: Nifa

Finding out ‘where the money went’ has been in the news this week, including the story of a Sunday Times investigation and complaints from the National Police Chiefs’ Council. The stories are from two opposite ends of the spectrum, with the Times story featuring a 16-year-old boy with an unexplained £16,000 overdraft and the Council asking how it can be expected to thwart the ‘Mr Bigs’ of the crime world if it doesn’t have enough forensic investigators.

The boy’s story was interesting inasmuch as it was his parents who wrote to the financial editor.  They said their son had a bank account for his pocket money and they wanted this huge overdraft, which was ‘unbeknown’ to their son to be paid back. However, the newspaper found that someone had allegedly paid their son £250 a time to have use of the account. The boy denies this, so the next step was to use forensic accountants to investigate where the deposits had come from. The young man is presumably unaware that money exchanges can be traced. Hopefully his parents will be understanding if it comes to light that the overdraft is less ’inadvertent’, as they had been told.

The other story also underlines the importance of forensic investigators, as the Police Chiefs’ Council lead on organised crime complained that there was not enough funding to pay for financial investigators, despite evidence that they were bringing “a real benefit” to the imposition of Confiscation Orders on crime bosses.

Confiscation Orders are the penalties imposed on criminals to ensure that they have not profited from their crimes

It may be that the lack of resources of which the Police are complaining is a reason why all too many Confiscation Order applications are poorly constructed and can be defeated or substantially reduced by forensic accountants acting for defendants.

Author: Roger Isaacs, 9 May 2016

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