Expert witnesses are required to use reliable principles and methods in forming their expert opinions per the Federal Rules of Evidence. In this video, Tracy Coenen talks about Rule 702 how it applies to damage calculations done by expert witnesses.
Daubert challenges are used by opposing counsel to limit or exclude the testimony of expert witnesses at trial. In this video, Tracy Coenen discusses how she deals with Daubert challenges in her work.
Where can employees, outside consultants, and board members look for evidence of override of internal controls? This isn’t a simple list of numbers or documents that must be checked off. Instead, looking for improper override of controls requires looking for red flags that point to something being amiss.
- Complete an analytical review, looking for unusual changes between periods in terms of dollars and percentages.
- Look for large, round numbers that enhance the financial position, especially if these numbers just happen to occur at the end of an accounting period
- Examine reversing entries at the beginning of an accounting period, looking for evidence that these entries relate to an improper entry at the end of the previous period
- Determine whether transactions have been completed on an arms’ length basis, and with legitimate business partners
- Look for evidence of undisclosed relationships or agreements
- Listen carefully to employees who may be reporting wrongdoing or hinting that there is a problem
When calculating child support or alimony obligations, “income available for support” is an important concept. In this video, Tracy talks about some of the issues that may arise when evaluating income.
LuLaRoe leggings have become popular, and therefore the multi-level marketing (MLM) “business” of LuLaRoe has taken off. I’ve said over and over that multi-level marketing is not a business because more than 99% of participants lose money. But I wanted to take a look at this company specifically, because it’s been getting so much press.
Business Insider promoted the idea that LuLaRoe is making women rich. While there ARE a handful of women who are making a ton of money from the company, only an incredibly tiny fraction of participants can make this type of money. Why? Simple math. If you’re making a 3% to 5% commission on your downline (as you’ll see below), it takes $700,000 of wholesale purchases by your downline to earn $35,000 in a month. (I realize that various bonuses change the math, but I’m using these numbers to simplify things.)
Imagine how many people need to be in the downline and how much they each need to buy to generate this volume. Simple math tells you that everyone below the woman earning $35,000 can’t build a pyramid of this size. There simply aren’t enough people on the planet, and there are only so many customers available for each distributor.
Let’s talk about some of the specifics downfalls to this fake business.
Winning a case against an auditing firm when there is a sizeable fraud (such as the Koss Corp. embezzlement) or the collapse of a Ponzi scheme (such as the Bernie Madoff case) is not easy. Simply because there is a fraud, a business failure, or a pyramid scheme collapse, the auditors are not necessarily at fault. The auditors may have carried out their professional responsibilities exactly as they should have, but they still did not uncover the fraud.
How does a fraud go undetected by auditors? The first thing to remember is that audits are not designed to find fraud, so they rarely do. Equally important, is the fact that frauds are deliberately (and often effectively) covered up by those perpetrating them. Particularly in the case of executives embezzling or perpetrating financial statement fraud, they are keenly aware of exactly how the auditors do their work, and take careful steps to avoid detection.
Technically speaking, auditors are not engaged to find fraud. They are engaged to give an opinion on the financial statements, and whether they are fairly stated. The auditors are required to perform certain procedures related to fraud, essentially assessing the risk of fraud and increasing the testing of the financial statements as there is a greater perceived risk of fraud. The auditors are not specifically engaged to (or expected to) find fraud, under the current auditing standards.
Income tax returns are an important piece of financial information in a divorce or child support case. There is so much information that can be obtained from the tax returns, and if we have several years of data, we can make comparisons from year-to-year. In the video below, Tracy talks about the financial data she analyzes on the income tax returns and what these items may tell us about the financial situation of the family.
A forensic accountant may be needed in a case alleging securities fraud. In the video below, Tracy discusses some of the particular issues that the accountant may evaluate and how to find the right expert for your case.
It has become commonplace to hear news stories of Ponzi schemes being uncovered. Investment scams and Ponzi schemes are all too common. Investors are lured in with promises of high returns. People in or nearing retirement find these investments enticing, especially as their retirement funds in the stock market have taken many hits in the last few years.
As I wrote in my book Expert Fraud Investigation: A Step-by-Step Guide, investors are becoming victims of these scams despite the proliferation of information available about phony investment schemes and the dire warnings given regularly by news reporters. Perpetrators of investment schemes dream up stories explaining their unusually high rates of return on money, and get high net worth people to invest with them. Often these people are investing their entire savings with scammers.
These high investment returns typically amount to guarantees in excess of 10% per year. Often they are to the point of ridiculous, offering a 30% or 40% annual return. As a fraud investigator, it is clear to me that these offerings are bogus, because any investment that legitimately generated such returns would not be much of a secret to the rest of the world. But consumers, who are often eager to protect and grow their nest eggs, are all-too-willing to believe that this investment is the answer to their money problems.
Employees in positions of power have greater opportunities to commit and conceal financial statement fraud. Tracy explains how and why this is the case in the video below.