Emails and other documentation have featured heavily in evidence in the investigation of several cases of fraud or alleged financial misconduct lately. In fact, one woman perpetrated her whole scam using emails she altered so that it appeared that her firm was receiving demands for payment from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC). The payments were approved by her unsuspecting bosses but the beneficiary account details were in fact hers and she defrauded the oil and gas company she worked for of £1.3m over four years. Having pleaded guilty, the woman was sentenced to five years and eight months’ imprisonment just last month.
Meanwhile, emails discovered at charity Kids Company, which closed last month after allegations of financial mismanagement amongst other things, appear to confirm that much of a £3m grant given to the charity by the Government was in fact paid out to employees. This was despite the fact that the taxpayer-funded grant was earmarked for reorganisation, not staffing.
Now the Commons public administration and constitutional affairs committee has said that there were 'serious' questions to be answered about the running of the charity, which is already being investigated by the Charity Commission, and the Government's relationship with it.
Whenever fraud or financial mismanagement is suspected and forensic accountants are called in, they will, of course, look at the figures on the balance sheet and in bank accounts but they will also pore over supporting documentation, such as emails, reports and letters, to see what the original intentions were and what actually happened to any cash.
Author: Roger Isaacs, 11 September 2015
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