When going through a divorce, determining the marital value of private business interests can often get tricky – this is especially true if one spouse has a separate ownership interest in a business. An active/passive appreciation study is often required in matrimonial litigation when an existing business or business interest is owned by one spouse prior to the marriage, or is gifted or bequeathed to one spouse during the marriage.
I have worked in investigative financial consulting for more than 17 years, and during my tenure I have worked with attorneys in a variety of capacities to provide financial consulting and expert support in a broad range of personal and corporate disputes. One of those capacities includes serving as a forensic accounting expert on cases involving wage-based losses.
Charitable giving, while good with intent, is not always received as expected. Let’s say you and I give to a seemingly worthwhile charity. You may be surprised at who really takes from the charity – frequently, it’s the fundraisers and executives. Oftentimes the fundraisers and executives are one in the same, since many founders will leave the charity to start a consulting and fundraising business to contract with the charity. This is really where it begins to get out of hand.
Most CPAs will never face the underbelly of an accounting malpractice lawsuit. Those who do, however, will say the challenges are something they never want to experience again in their lives.
When you think of fraud within an organization, a newer employee may be top-of-mind, but according to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), seven percent of perpetrators committed fraud during their first year and more than 53 percent had been with their organization for more than five years.
There’s no way around it—according to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, an estimated five percent of annual revenues are lost to financial crime. What do these numbers mean for you? Big or small, public or private – with statistics like these, there’s a good chance your business is more likely than not to fall victim to internal fraud.
We all recognize budget is a constant concern for auditors and investigators. Oftentimes our technology budgets are just too tight. We find ourselves looking for powerful tools to add to our toolbox that do not break the bank. One of these tools is Active Data for Excel.
Reflecting back on the performance of more than 1,000 business valuations over the last 20-plus years, I have observed the regular occurrence of an economic event in many divorce-related engagements that I have named the Pre-divorce Business Downturn Syndrome (“PBDS” for short).
As a frequent speaker on the subject of fraud, people often ask me, “How do you investigate fraud?” My answer is always the same: You look for the anomaly. To me, it sounds so simple until I step back and realize that most people cannot see the anomaly, although it is usually right in front of them.
Identifying fraud symptoms in financial statements requires observation and recognition. If you don’t look, you’re unlikely to find it. Worse yet, if you do look, are you sure you will recognize the symptoms of fraud?
Fraud, unlike acts of terror, murder, or bank robbery, is rarely observed. Instead, only symptoms or indicators, most often exhibited through changes in the financial statements, are present.
With all of the publicity that surrounded the Bernard Madoff, Scott Rothstein, ZeekRewards and Allen Stanford Ponzi schemes, among many others, you would think that people would have by now received the message about Ponzi Schemes; how they work and how those investors lose their money.