Knowledge and Insights

Why You Need a Forensic Accountant in Your White-Collar Crime & Corporate Fraud Cases

It’s easier and less expensive to prevent corporate fraud and white-collar crime than to recover from it, or defend against it, after the fact. According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) 2020 Report to the Nations, organizations lose an average of five percent of their annual revenue to fraud each year. So, although internal controls are often in place to prevent, detect and deter fraud, waste and abuse, the reality is white-collar and corporate crime occurs every day. The effects of white-collar and corporate crimes are varied and include financial loss, physical harm, and damage to the community’s moral climate and an organization’s reputation.

White-collar crime is synonymous with the full range of frauds committed by business and government professionals. This includes criminal activities such as public corruption, money laundering, corporate fraud, securities and commodities fraud, mortgage fraud, financial institution fraud, bank fraud and embezzlement, fraud against the government, election law violations, mass marketing fraud, and health care fraud. The motivation for each of these crimes is financial.

Crimes committed in the corporate world often require an intricate understanding of many financial complexities. Forensic accountants assist parties through every stage, from early investigations with law enforcement through trial – for both prosecutors and defendants in white-collar cases.

Law enforcement officials rely on forensic accountants to help investigate crimes involving complex financial transactions such as: Ponzi schemes, money laundering, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) violations, bribery and other corruption, and fraudulent billing schemes. The forensic accountant can help to quantify the losses, push for greater transparency in financial practices, and create a concrete chain of evidence that builds a case. Additionally, forensic interviews can be invaluable in identifying previously unknown parties involved in the scheme or gaining an understanding of how the fraud occurred, as forensic accountants are generally perceived as less intimidating than attorneys and law enforcement personnel.

While the prosecution is building their case, the right forensic accountant can help counsel understand complex accounting matters, assist with the collection and hosting of electronic data, provide deposition support, and help with the discovery process and litigation strategy. Complex financial cases are often difficult to explain to a jury, so prosecutors often negotiate a plea bargain which involves fines as well as corrective action to correct corporate behavior. Forensic accountants can assist prosecutors in determining the defendant’s ability to pay fines as well as provide fiscal and compliance monitoring. Should the case proceed to trial, forensic accountants can provide expert reports and testimony as well as rebuttals to the opposing expert’s report.

Forensic accountants can help a defense attorney understand where motives lie, challenge the government’s quantification of alleged economic damages or assess the credibility of the government’s witnesses or experts.

Mercadien’s Forensic Accounting and Litigation Support team have the relevant credentials and experience to assist throughout the stages of the investigation, prosecution or defense of white-collar and corporate crime. Our team members are Certified Public Accountants (CPA), Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF), Certified Fraud Examiners (CFE), Certified Valuation Analysts (CVA), Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV), Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (CAMS), and Certified Insolvency & Restructuring Advisors (CIRA). We are uniquely qualified to provide a well-rounded and defensible approach to our client’s dispute consulting and investigative needs.

If you have any questions regarding how we can assist with your white-collar and corporate fraud cases, or would like more information on the forensic accounting, litigation support and fraud investigation services we provide, please contact Frank Pina, CPA/CFF, CFE, CGMA, Managing Director at or 609-689-2319.

DISCLAIMER: This advisory resource is for general information purposes only. It does not constitute business or tax advice and may not be used and relied upon as a substitute for business or tax advice regarding a specific issue or problem. Advice should be obtained from a qualified accountant, tax practitioner or attorney licensed to practice in the jurisdiction where that advice is sought.