Money laundering is an illegal process in which organized criminals take the money they’ve received from something like drug trafficking and make it appear as if it comes from a legitimate business. When these types of cases go to court, they often rely on expert financial witnesses to help with the proceedings.
The Forensic Accounting
A finance expert witness in a money laundering case often takes on several different jobs that require knowledge not only in finances but in criminal investigations and business as a whole. Forensic accounting is perhaps the most important job, though.
A forensic accountant takes his or her time to look over a company’s accounting books. Digital copies of these books are more common these days but some businesses may still have physical copies of their accounting records. The forensic expert may spend hours or even days looking over every record to determine if there are irregularities or patterns that aren’t typical for the type of business the defendant claims to run. This helps him or her to piece together whether any illegal financial transactions took place. Sometimes, a finance witness will even recreate actions to prove that money did or did not shift into a business illegally.
The Criminal Investigation
During the investigation process of a lawsuit, a financial expert witness often works closely with law enforcement to prove a business is laundering money o to find additional evidence, such as finding a connection between a business owner and a known criminal. Depending on what information is found and which side of the courtroom the expert witness is working for, his or her findings may help either the prosecution or the defense.
A financial expert who works for the defense typically has a more difficult job ahead of him or her. This is because the prosecution has often already done a lot of legwork and seized items such as computers and anything involving business transactions. The expert for the defense must work hard to prove that the accused has no involvement in any criminal activities. For example, if it is proven that one employee was laundering money, the expert witness must show that the business owner was not in the building during illegal activities and had no knowledge they were happening.
Whether you’re the prosecution in a case or you’re a defendant who needs to prove your innocence, working with a capable expert financial witness is essential. Look for someone who is licensed, can provide credentials, and who has a history of helping to win cases in the courtroom.