Forensic Accounting

Forensic Accounting Services

Forensic accounting services are useful in several areas of law, such as contract disputes and commercial litigation, minority oppression actions, dissenting shareholder actions, other stakeholder disputes, matrimonial / family law matters, white collar crimes / occupational fraud, estate and trust matters, and bankruptcy.  Forensic accounting services are also provided in connection with calculations for certain insurance claims, such as business interruption and fidelity.  There are additional situations where forensic accounting services are required, which are not detailed here, such as when a party believes that assets or income in a trust or estate were misused or were diverted altogether. Wickes Forensic Accounting & Consulting LLC employs a customized approach to each engagement to meet the needs associated with each fact pattern.  Forensic accounting services for civil and criminal cases and non-litigious matters can be retained by either an individual, an organization, or a law firm, as applicable, and either individually or jointly with other parties.

The results of a forensic accounting investigation can significantly impact the value of a business.  In situations where forensic accounting services are rendered related to a business that is being valued, Pamela Wickes, CPA, CFE, CFF, ABV, works effectively with the valuation team to provide the valuation analysts the information necessary to properly account for the forensic accounting findings, such as unreported income or personal expenditures, in the business valuation calculations.  With Pam’s experience valuing businesses, she is well versed in business valuation concepts and identifies and advises the business valuation team of items that came to light during the forensic accounting engagement, which should be considered during the valuation analysis.  Since Pam specializes in forensic accounting and also has business valuation experience, she is an asset to the team when a matter calls for both forensic accounting and valuation services.

The procedures employed in forensic accounting engagements varies widely and can include tracing assets, cash flows, and transactions; reconstructing financial books and records; gathering evidence; reviewing and comparing source documents; conducting interviews; performing research and calculations; summarizing and communicating findings, providing litigation support, and negotiating settlements and/or testifying, etc.  Following are some of types of matters in which Wickes Forensic Accounting & Consulting, LLC can assist:

Fraud

Pamela Wickes investigates allegations of fraudulent activity in organizations of all sizes, from small emergency response organizations to publicly traded companies, as well as governments and not-for-profits, with losses ranging from a few thousand dollars to nearly $10 million.  Sometimes Pam is asked to just confirm the suspicions of employee embezzlement and theft and other times she has to quantify/evaluate the losses over a certain period of time for criminal prosecution/defense.   Pam assists clients with preparation of the Proof of Loss for their crime and fidelity insurance policy claim. Wickes Forensic Accounting & Consulting, LLC can be retained by insurance companies to evaluate and critique loss claims as well.  Pam has also investigated alleged deposit structuring and unreported income related to Cash Transaction Reports (CTRs), Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs), and income tax fraud.

Economic Damages

In connection with actual or anticipated lawsuits, as well as insurance claims, involving individuals, businesses or other organizations, Wickes Forensic Accounting & Consulting, LLC calculates damages related to the specific issue at hand, such as a contract dispute, theft, fraud, fire, etc.  The circumstances of each case are different, and sometimes attorneys engage Pamela Wickes to simply help with discovery and settlement negotiations or to rebut an opposing expert report.  The estimate of damages may include lost profits, increased cost, mitigation and restitution, reconstruction of financial data, loss of buildings and equipment, etc. Pam is most commonly engaged to estimate lost profits as an element of economic damages in a litigation matter.

Stakeholder Disputes

Financial forensics are helpful to resolve minority oppression and dissenting shareholder matters, as well as post-acquisition disputes.  Pamela Wickes performs forensic accounting services to assist with issues relating to entitlements to profit sharing or dividends, non-business related expenditures, unreported income, conflicts of interest, earn out disputes, etc.  The investigation of payments made pursuant to earn-out provisions of a sale are tailored based on the specific terms to the applicable agreement.  As with other owner / stakeholder disputes, the financial investigation entails conducting interviews and obtaining and analyzing related financial documents and information.

Construction Disputes

Pamela Wickes has in depth knowledge of the specialized accounting in the construction industry from both her position at a contractor when she was in private industry and the significant number of clients in the construction industry during her traditional public accounting tenure.  Pursuant to the owner’s right to audit in a construction contract, Pam has performed review and analysis of contractor’s accounting and related books and records for the contract and reported findings accordingly.   Wickes Forensic Accounting & Consulting, LLC is able to effectively perform investigations that are required in certain contract disputes and claims.

Divorce / Family Law

Pamela Wickes provides forensic accounting, litigation and settlement services either jointly or separately for clients with very small estates to those worth hundreds of millions of dollars.  She has also provided services in divorces of celebrities and high profile individuals. Following is a list of some of the matters in matrimonial / family law proceedings, from the very basic to the complex, for which Wickes Forensic Accounting & Consulting, LLC can assist:

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  • Identification of assets, determination of ownership and how/when they were acquired;
  • Statement of Net Worth preparation;
  • Characterization of assets as premarital or marital;
  • Quantification of assets and liabilities, including consultation, if requested, regarding the business valuation provided by one or both parties;
  • Determination of the nominal and beneficial ownership of investment(s) in, entitlements to, and control of the assets;
  • Tracing the use and quantifying distributions from assets in the marital estate;
  • Allegations of hidden assets and unreported or deferred income;
  • Lifestyle analysis;
  • Economic contribution claims;
  • Income determination;
  • Settlement negotiations / scenarios considering division of assets / income; and
  • Support modifications – financial analysis and investigation.

Bankruptcy

Wickes Forensic Accounting & Consulting, LLC can investigate issues that arise in bankruptcy cases, such as fraudulent conveyance, concealment of assets, and unreported income, as well as preferential payments to insiders and the level of consideration for assets conveyed. In addition, Pamela Wickes has experience investigating the factors leading to insolvency.  The “badges of fraud” and co-mingling of personal and business transactions related to piercing the corporate veil will be considered, as necessary.