Financial investigation makes the news

An investigation into an organised crime gang’s money laundering activities made the headlines recently when it won the Innovative Approach to Sanctions and Redress category at the Government Counter Fraud Awards 2019. HM Revenue & Customs’ (HMRC) Criminal Taxes Unit had looked into the criminal activities of a network headed by the notorious Adams family, which had been implicated in cash and property-based money laundering.

The investigation began in 2012 after a number of premises belonging to the Adams family were searched as part of an unsolved murder case. During the search, it became evident that the two heads of the gang, Tommy and Micky Adams, had millions of pounds that had not been declared as income to HMRC.  Following their prosecution, sentences of more than 45 years in total were handed out to the gang.

As the operational lead of the HMRC team commented, the HMRC Criminal Taxes Unit interpreted the “complex web of financial transactions” during the long-running investigation.

While this was an extreme case, the forensic investigation element follows the same pattern of any forensic investigation. First, there is suspicion of wrongdoing and then both physical and digital evidence is gathered and analysed. Then, in addition to paperwork, investigators will interview both the alleged criminals and their associates.

No piece of evidence will be overlooked, from emails and text messages to bank statements and property sale deeds. In this case, the investigators trying to find the source of the money that was used to buy properties but the investigation in other cases could focus on where missing money may have been hidden.

Roger Isaacs, Forensic Partner at Milsted Langdon said: “In this situation the forensic investigation appears to have uncovered millions of pounds’ worth of undeclared income to HMRC.

“Having a forensic accountant to help set out the evidence in a manner that a jury can understand easily can be invaluable.”

Author: Roger Isaacs 29 April 2019