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More than number crunching

Member: Nifa

News that Terry Adams, former head of a north London criminal organisation, was turned down for a certificate of inadequacy to show he lacked the funds to meet his crime-linked debts, is evidence that forensic accountants do more than just number crunch when it comes to investigating suspected criminals’ hidden wealth.  The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) had opposed his application for a certificate, which could eventually have led to his debt being reduced or written off, saying there was a strong case that Mr Adams possessed substantial undisclosed assets that continued to fund a luxury lifestyle.

Having scrutinised their evidence, the judge said she was not satisfied that the defendant had provided full and frank disclosure to the court of the assets “which fund his life and that of his wife”.  Mr Adams currently owes the balance of a confiscation order of £750,000 imposed after his conviction in 2007 for conspiring to conceal the proceeds of criminal conduct over a six-year period.
The CPS told the court that the Mr Adams’s average identifiable spending in the three years from September 2010-13 was £97,000 per annum and said that the type of spending he enjoyed was inconsistent with Mrs Adams’s claim of having no assets and of being reliant on friends and family loans for living expenses.
The problem for the Adams’ family is that when forensic accountants are asked to investigate a case of suspected hidden assets, they don’t only scrutinise financial statements and accounts but also look into lifestyle to see whether the person claiming to be poor is actually living the life of a person with no money.  They then amass the evidence and put it into a report that will hold water in a court of law and it is this sort of evidence that the judge will have read carefully before making her decision. One way or another, the forensic accountants will get to the truth, which in this case, could turn Mr Adams into a genuinely poor man.

Author: Roger Isaacs, 19 August 2014

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