What Is Forensic Accounting?
To help you understand the nature of our business, below are a number of examples of cases we have work on, with names removed to retain anonymity.
Estate / Probate Matters
- A beneficiary of two estates, his mother’s and his sister’s, questioned the accounting and handling of his mother’s estate assets that were co-mingled with his sister’s guardianship account. We reviewed and analyzed financial accounts dating back to the early 1980s. The accounting for the mother’s estate was revised to capture assets and income that were omitted in the original filings and we traced the co-mingled assets through the guardianship to calculate the beneficiary’s interest in his sister’s estate.
- The executor of an estate was suspected of concealing and diverting assets of the estate. Our investigation revealed that all assets had been properly accounted for and we met with the heirs to thoroughly explain the transactions and related detailed assets.
- The controller of a construction company set up shell companies in order to embezzle money. He was able to convince the staff that the shell companies were joint ventures with the owner. Funds were misappropriated by the controller and later redirected back into the construction company in order to keep the house of cards from tumbling down. We were hired to evaluate and quantify the losses sustained by the construction company.
- An office manager of various medical offices misappropriated company funds for personal use. A lack of segregation of duties and controls allowed credit card abuse, unauthorized bonuses and salary increases to occur. The office manager also wrote unauthorized checks to his spouse and other family members. Our investigation revealed total dollars misappropriated and recommendations for improving internal controls.
- A luxury homebuilder was charged with bank fraud, money laundering and tax conspiracy. We were hired to review the accounting records, tax returns and explain various accounting transactions.
- During a contested divorce, we were hired to value a business that handled daily cash transactions. Upon careful review of the bank statements, we discovered cash was not always being deposited into the business bank account and subsequently was not being reported on the business tax returns. The income, as well as the expenses, reported on the tax returns and internally prepared financial statements were deemed unreliable. We reconstructed the company’s financial statements using the daily cash register reports, bank statements and other supporting documents. Once reliable financial statements were prepared, we were able to complete the valuation of the business.
- Two sisters owned a very successful business. Both sisters owned a 50% interest in the business, each controlling a different segment. As their business grew, they recognized their level on life insurance remained stagnant. We valued the business to help the sisters reevaluate their life insurance needs.
- Two partners in a start-up business had different views on how to grow their business. After a few years of deferring compensation, one of the partners converted his deferred compensation into additional ownership shares, which gave him control of the business. Once he gained control, he terminated his partner but needed to determine the value of the business in order to buy the remaining shares owned by the terminated partner. The Partnership Agreement stated the value of the business was to be determined by three valuation experts. Each partner was to pick their own valuator and then the two valuators were to agree on the third. Due to the nature of the start-up business and the particular industry, the three valuators worked together to determine an appropriate value for the business.
Marital Dissolution / Divorce
- During a collaborative family law case, a husband and wife had a significant amount of marital assets. During the collaborative process, the husband was in the process of selling his interest in a closely-held business. The final sales price of the business was uncertain at the conclusion of the collaborative divorce; therefore, a creative solution was agreed upon that met both parties’ needs.
- Husband and wife were going through a contested divorce. The husband owned a small business in which his wife helped with the bookkeeping. The husband claimed the business didn’t make enough money for him to pay spousal support. We reviewed and analyzed the business bank statements to determine the husband’s economic income, which included his wages along with personal expenses that were paid directly out of the business bank account.
- A spouse had accumulated some retirement assets prior to the marriage in 1995. We traced the separate property portion through several retirement accounts to determine the amount of separate property at the time of the divorce. The parties stipulated to the separate property portion, out of court!
Damages & Lost Profits
- A fire broke out in a building that housed a barbershop on the first floor and an apartment on the second floor. The building owner was also the owner of the barbershop. The building owner filed a claim with his insurance carrier for the lost value of the building, the lost profits from the barbershop and the lost profits from the apartment. We reviewed and analyzed records to determine the loss from the barbershop and apartment.
- A business entity operated nursing home facilities and claimed damages and lost profits as a result of construction delays and deficiencies against architects of various projects. We reviewed and analyzed financial information and evaluated the damages of lost profits, by project.
- Water damage occurred on a rental property that was occupied by a medical office. The medical office filed an insurance claim with their insurance carrier. The business owner provided their own calculation of damages for reimbursement from the insurance carrier. We reviewed and analyzed the insurance policy and compared the terms of the policy with the business owner’s calculation. We corrected and thoroughly explained the miscalculations.
- There were four owners in a transportation company. The owners decided to sell the company. Once the proceeds were divided, two of the owners claimed they were owed additional funds. We analyzed the capital accounts of all the owners and calculated the additional funds owed as a result of the sale of the company.
- A family dispute between a father and son arose related to rental properties in which they both claimed a vested interest. P.D. Eye Forensics, LLC analyzed records and prepared income schedules based upon ownership interests. We determined the ownership interest in order for the properties to be divided appropriately.