What is Financial Forensics?
Financial Forensics Body of Knowledge, the definitive guide and technical reference work for the financial forensics and/or forensic accounting professional, succinctly defines financial forensics as: The art & science of investigating people & money.©
The types of crimes forensic operators investigate are classified as “crimes against property.” Financial crime involves the unlawful conversion of the ownership of property (belonging to one person) to the fraudster’s own personal use and benefit. Financial crimes may involve fraud, e.g., cheque fraud, credit card fraud, mortgage fraud, medical fraud, corporate fraud, securities fraud (including insider trading), bank fraud, insurance fraud, market manipulation, payment fraud, health care fraud; theft; scams or confidence tricks such as bait and switch schemes; tax evasion; bribery; sedition; embezzlement; identity theft; money laundering; forgery and counterfeiting, including the production of nonexistent mortgage notes, phony note endorsements, and fraudulent mortgage assignments.
Financial crimes may involve additional criminal acts, such as computer crime and elder abuse, even violent crimes such as robbery, armed robbery or murder. Financial crimes may be carried out by individuals, corporations, or by organized crime groups. Victims may include individuals, corporations, governments, and entire economies.
Unlike other accountants, when forensic operators conduct audits, they are actively looking for signs of fraud. In addition to examining financial statements, accounting records, and documentary evidence to determine whether they are accurate and complete, they may seek out internal databases and court records. Because people committing fraud have hidden the evidence of their crimes, forensic operators must look beyond the numbers and anticipate criminal actions.
In addition to investigating, forensic operators may provide litigation support. Attorneys engage the services of forensic operators to review existing documentation, affidavits, depositions, testimony, etc., and explain their financial significance. A forensic operator can tell the attorney what additional information may be needed to prove the case and what questions to ask of witnesses.
McDonnell Property Analytics specializes in the detection and documentation of crimes against real and personal property perpetrated upon individuals, governments, and entire economies such as those that led to the 2007 Mortgage Meltdown, the Financial Crisis of 2008, and the widespread taking of real property through the foreclosure process.