Life in the forensic accounting fast lane
Forensic accountants find the smoking guns in financial reports and statements. Sometimes they get you your money back! Sometimes the evildoers get indicted!! Sometimes not…
The following is correspondence from Deep Audit, a forensic accountant who has been researching some stuff for me.
“Ouch! For what you’re going through. I’d be lying on the floor with a migraine … or at least my left eyelid would be jumping … possibly the entire left side of my body.
Money is a tool. It isn’t an evil (as some on the left would have it) or a gift from God (as many on the right believe) … it is just a tool. A very powerful tool, as evil or good as the people who use it. I see endless crime for bucks. Forget murder mysteries — people screw each other at a fantastic speed for money.
Occasionally I like to think that there are good people out there, upholding truth, justice, and the golden rule (love thy neighbor as thyself) … but then another fraud file drops onto my desk … or I hear a story like yours. Yeek.
Case in point is a case I once worked on: Public Company, under the control of Richie T. Bastard, III, pulls a fast one. The auditors — I’ll give you one guess as to who they are — sign off on the twisted transaction’s justification in the financial statements.
Our client, Largest Minority Shareholder, sues Bastard. We do our things — A letter is drafted detailing the financial statements’ ills: (1) This is wrong, (2) That is wrong, (3) This other thing is bogus, and so forth…. The implication throughout: you, sir, are busted. You’re going to jail for SO long, that when you get out, the nursing home ambulance will be there to pick you up at the gate.
But the letter never goes to the authorities. Bastard settles with Largest Minority Shareholder for a very large sum. Not a bad day’s work for a beancounter (except that at beancounter wages, I will not earn such a very large sum in my lifetime). That’s the good news. The bad news? None of the other shareholders know. I’m sure there are widows and orphans and regular joes among them. I can’t tell them, of course.
Someday it’s all going to fall apart and I hope it’s while Bastard still lives and has liquid assets.
I guess all we can do is keep ourselves straight and clean to the best of our abilities. Hard enough, isn’t it? But I still think USC needs to transfer that statue of Diogenes from the Philosophy building to the B-school.”
Indeed. Forensic accountants find those clean hard irrefutable facts that give a case clarity. As Private Investigator Jan Tucker says – this stuff sometimes seems messy and political and complicated. But if you take money that doesn’t belong to you, that’s illegal in every country on the planet. And that’s not complicated at all.