The Role of A Forensic Accountant in White-Collar Crime Cases

Every time you or your company are audited, or under investigation for tax or white-collar crimes, a forensic accountant may  play a major role in the case. You may be asking yourself, “I have an accountant, why bring in another one?” but the reality is that mistakes can be made, and the forensic accountant’s findings can provide valuable insight into what went wrong. Let’s dive into their role and how they can affect your case.  Also most importantly, the forensic accountant may be hired pursuant to the attorney/client privilege so that the communications with the accountant are as if one is speaking to his or her lawyer.  The communications are privileged.


What is White-Collar Crime?

The term “White-Collar” is often associated with newsworthy high-income individuals, but it includes the full range of frauds allegedly  committed by business and government professionals. White-collar crime is generally non-violent in nature and includes public corruption, health care fraud, tax fraud, mortgage fraud, securities fraud, and money laundering, to name a few.  Anyone can be accused of a white-collar crime. Someone who works a “blue-collar” job and also manages the financial side of the business can be accused of white-collar crime. Mismanaging funds may be considered a crime if the prosecution proves that the accused had the intent to commit the crime. 

For example, if someone is charged with fraud, they have to have evidence that the accused had the intent to deliberately use deception or was willful in their conduct.  Proving someone’s state of mind can be challenging because there’s a fine line between being “convincing” vs. “misleading.” If you’re making a sale and know the product like the back of your hand, even if the words you use sound clear and concise to you, the accuser can still become confused and consider your tactics as deliberately misleading. 

What Exactly Does a Forensic Accountant Do?

A forensic accountant will use a variety of techniques to gather a full picture of the financial situation surrounding the case. A lot of data collected by forensic accountants is considered objective evidence because, as they say: “The numbers don’t lie.” Here are the ways a forensic accountant may play a role in your case:

  • Gathering Data: They will collect and analyze financial records, bank statements, and other relevant documents to uncover any discrepancies in an attempt to find evidence of criminal activity.
  • Investigation: Forensic accountants may also conduct interviews as they examine records and analyze financial data.
  • Identification of Financial Irregularities: If the accountant finds that there are irregularities in the financial data, they may act as an expert witness or provide testimony of their findings in court


Even though forensic accountants are most commonly known for working in criminal cases, that’s not always the case. Forensic accountants can be extremely vital for companies and organizations that seek out their expertise for preventative measures. They often help companies develop measures and safeguards to prevent the possibility of embezzlement or fraud to protect their business.


What Should I Do If I’m Under Investigation?

It should go without saying that if you believe you’re being investigated, or have a chance of being investigated for a white-collar crime, you should reach out to an attorney. In many situations, individuals are not even aware that they’re under investigation and answer inquiries from federal agencies honestly without realizing that they may have accidentally incriminated themselves.


The attorneys at Weisberg Kainen Mark are experienced in representing individuals in criminal defense and tax litigation. For effective and professional legal counsel, contact us online, or call our office at (305) 374-5544.

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Weisberg Kainen Mark, PL

As experienced trial lawyers with a passion for justice, our firm provides clients with compelling advocacy, attorney availability, and creative solutions to your tax or criminal law matters.

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