16 Oct

Getting the Best Results With Your Expert Witness

gavel-moneyMore than ever, competent and dynamic expert witnesses are critical to winning legal cases. Even if a case doesn’t go to trial, a credible expert can be the key to settling the case for your client.

I believe that an expert witness has the opportunity to make or break a case. We all know that there are few chances to fix a bad opinion when you go to court. There is one chance to express the correct opinion and support it fully. A faulty opinion, or one with little reliable support, can doom a case.

Some attorneys have their preferred experts, while others get referrals from colleagues. Each attorney works with an expert witness in the way that she or he is comfortable. However, it never hurts to hear about it from the other side. This is my perspective on best utilizing your expert witness to her or his full value. Read More

04 Oct

AdvoCare Pyramid Scheme

On Wednesday it was announced that AdvoCare and the FTC entered into a settlement which bars it from participating in any multi-level marketing (MLM) activities. AdvoCare will also give $150 million in consumer refunds.

The settlement comes after the FTC said AdvoCare was running an illegal pyramid scheme. There were allegations that the company “deceived consumers into believing they could earn significant income as distributors of its health and wellness products.”

There is interesting stuff in the complaint filed by the FTC: Read More

25 Sep

A Practical Fraud Investigation Course

My biggest criticism of the courses on fraud investigation at the college level or in the continuing education space are that they are not practical. They all focus on theory and teaching about different types of fraud schemes. But who is teaching about how to actually do the investigation?

I am! Next month I am co-presenting a webinar series for National Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts (NACVA) called Scams, Schemes, and Swindles: Fundamentals and Techniques for Conducting Fraud Investigations.

It’s 3 hours a day for five days, October 14-18, 2019. These are live webinars, and you’ll be able to ask questions and participate in the discussion. Fifteen hours of learning how to REALLY do a fraud investigation from start to finish.

The focus will be on the nuts and bolts of conducting a fraud investigation, teaching practical forensic accounting techniques to prove what happened, who was involved, how much money is gone, and where the money went. Evidence management, analytical tools, presentation of findings, and testifying in court will also be covered. Watch this video to learn more, and please join us.

23 Sep

Financial Investigation Software

At the heart of every financial investigation is a trail of money. And in many cases those trails are complex. They involve multiple bank accounts and thousands of transactions that are intertwined.  This voluminous financial data must be culled, analyzed, and presented in a way that proves the case, and therein lies the difficulty.

For the last forty years, investigators have relied primarily on manual processes to evaluate financial evidence. They compared accounting data to source documents, ultimately trying to prove the source and use of funds.

But this gets complicated in large cases because of the number of involved people and bank accounts. The process of understanding and organizing the flow of funds is complex, and it can take months before the parties to a case know exactly what happened to the money.

Over the last decade, advances have been made with technology to help fraud investigators analyze large volumes of financial data much faster, more efficiently, and more accurately than they can using only traditional investigative techniques. Read More

19 Sep

Why and How to Do a Lifestyle Analysis in a Divorce

In this video, Tracy Coenen explains the purpose and process behind doing a lifestyle analysis in a divorce case. There are three main reasons why a lifestyle analysis may be done:

  • To determine the amount of money needed to continue living a lifestyle consistent with the lifestyle enjoyed during the marriage (This relates to child support and alimony.)
  • To find hidden sources of income
  • To find hidden assets

17 Sep

Identifying Fraud Red Flags

Would you recognize the clues that your client has been ripped off by one of its employees? Or would management conduct business as usual, blindly trusting their employees?

Companies make the mistake of not actively searching for fraud. They tend to trust their employees and trust the procedures in place to safeguard company assets.

It may be good business to trust employees and empower them to make real contributions to the growth of the company. However, it is not wise to turn a blind eye to signs that a trusted employee may be stealing. Read More

11 Sep

InteleTravel MLM “Opportunity”

PlanNet Marketing Inc. offers the InteleTravel MLM opportunity. They avoid language that would give away the fact that it is MLM, but since people recruit a downline into multiple levels, it is indeed multi-level marketing.

Participants are referred to as “independent representatives” (IR). They pay upfront and monthly fees to have an “online travel agency.” Small commissions are made from selling travel services and packages, but the amount earned on the travel sales is quite low.

According to the InteleTravel compensation plan as of September 2019: Read More

09 Sep

Protect Yourself in Your Divorce

divorce financial analysisYou know a divorce is in your future, and you owe it to yourself (and your children, if you have them) to protect yourself financially. Money isn’t everything, but it is very important when you consider your future apart from your spouse. You may or may not have the ability to support yourself. Retirement may be near, and that will require you to think carefully. You have a right to a share of the assets and income generated during the marriage, and you must take steps to protect yourself.

1. Secure funds for attorneys, other professionals, and living expenses. If you are not in control of the family’s money, it may be difficult or impossible for you to get access to funds during the divorce. It is not uncommon for the moneyed spouse (the one with the majority of the income and/or the control over the family’s money) to cut off the money so the other spouse will agree to a quick divorce settlement. Read More