Litigation Work For Accountants

Why might an accountant providing traditional tax or auditing services want to branch out into litigation work? There are lots of opportunities for expert witnesses, and the work is interesting. Watch the video below for Tracy Coenen’s commentary on this topic.

For Aspiring Forensic Accountants and Fraud Investigators

forensic-accountingI receive many requests for information on the field of forensic accounting, including questions on courses of study, certification, job opportunities, and preparing for a career. Over four years ago I wrote this article for students and job seekers, and I thought it was a good time to update the information.

The first three bullet points of the article still hold true. If you want to work in the area of fraud investigation and forensic accounting, make sure all of your education and job choices put you on that path. Even if you can’t get started as a forensic accountant right away, make sure you’re doing everything you can to at least get a little bit of experience in the area. The more experience you have, the more attractive a candidate you will be for future jobs.

Forensic Accountants and the Private Investigator License

magnifyprintRecently the AICPA published an article on its Journal of Accountancy website regarding private investigator licensing rules across the country. There is a concern that forensic accountants may be subject to private investigator regulations since they are doing investigative work. The AICPA has drafted a grid outlining the regulations by state, but you should do further research on your own because it does not tell the whole story.

The grid provides the following information on private investigators in Wisconsin:

Calculating Damages: What is Reasonable Certainty?

chartmagnifyOne of the common issues raised when an expert calculates damages is “reasonable certainty.” It is not uncommon for opposing counsel to suggest that the expert’s calculated damages are speculative.

The calculation of damages necessarily requires estimates and assumptions. Something has happened, and a company or individual is claiming that there are lost profits because of it. We can never know with complete certainty what revenue or profits would have been if that incident or action had not taken place. Mathematical precision is not possible. Thus, the expert must make certain estimates in order to calculate damages.

Do Former Law Enforcement Officers Make Better Forensic Accountants?

Today Brian Willingham of the Diligentia Group has inspired me with his article Do Former Law Enforcement Officers Make Better Private Investigators? While Brian agrees that experience in law enforcement can be helpful to a private investigator, it does not necessarily make that investigator better. The same can be said for forensic accountants and fraud investigators: Law enforcement experience can be helpful, but it is not as important as you might believe.

Brian points us to a video that suggests that:

Stopping Crystal Cox’s Harassment and Extortion

Last week Marc Randazza, his wife Jennifer, and his daughter Natalia filed suit against “investigative blogger” Crystal Cox in United States District Court in Nevada. The suit is a treasure trove of tales about a nutty blogger who fancies herself an investigator and protector of civil rights.

The backstory has been covered here before. Crystal gained her nutty notoriety because of her attacks on Kevin Padrick and Obsidian Finance. In steps Marc Randazza, noted First Amendment lawyer, who considered representing Cox in that case. After that went south, Crystal Cox started buying domain names which included the names of Randazza, his wife, and their three-year-old daughter. She  offered Randazza “reputation management services,” whereby she would refrain from posting defamatory things about him on her websites if Randazza paid her enough. That, my friends, is extortion.

The complaint summarizes:

Right to Free Speech Wins Again

Popehat points us to a nice victory by SOCNET in a lawsuit filed by John Giduck, the man who claims he was defamed when a SOCNET user stated that he was fraudulently posing as a Special Forces veteran.

The court granted SOCNET’s motion to dismiss (even with no anti-SLAPP statute in Colorado), saying:

It is this tension that has generated numerous cases addressing the first element of a defamation action, i.e. is the statement defamatory. Not every untrue, uncomplimentary or offensive statement concerning an individual is defamatory.

Defamation and Statements of Opinion

A couple of months ago, a ruling on an anti-SLAPP motion in a defamation case against Gawker Media (owner of website Gizmodo) got my attention. Scott Redmond, with his service called Peep Telephony (or Peep Wireless), was upset because Gizmodo posted a negative review of the service. More specifically, Gizmodo called the service a scam, saying that it offers “free” cellular service for phone calls, texts, and data access. A look at Peep’s website produced this criticism:

To be frank, this all sounds like bullshit. In fact, the combination of everything described was so strange, it almost made the company seem like a larger-than-life prank on the tech world. The closest thing to a technical explanation for Peep is this:

Consultants Training Institute Video: Emerging Leader Tracy Coenen

Recently, I filmed an interview with Brien Jones, the continuing education executive for the National Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts (NACVA). The organization focuses on training professionals in the disciplines of business valuation and forensic accounting through its Consultants Training Institute (CTI).

Brien asked me about how I developed my forensic accounting practice, how I market Sequence Inc.’s services to attorneys, and what I like to do when I’m not working. Enjoy!

Aaron Walker, Hero

Many times truth is stranger than fiction. And today I spent a couple of hours reading a story of terrorism – - not just the bombing kind (see the story of Brett Kimberlin, Speedway Bomber here), but also the kind that aims to destroy someone personally – - and have come to respect Aaron Walker, a man I will likely never meet.

I found the story of Aaron Worthing via Ken at Popehat, who wrote Chilling Tales of Crazy/Evil. Aaron Worthington is the pseudonym of Aaron Walker, who blogged (anonymously, for a while) at Allergic to Bull and wrote a novel called Archangel: A Novel of Alternate, Recent History.

This story interests me simply from a First Amendment standpoint. I have been sued and pursued legally several times for criticism of large companies that has appeared on this blog. I have been winning, but there is a financial and emotional cost to the process.

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CPA's Handbook of Fraud and Commercial Crime Prevention
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