Accounting fraud is a very serious federal crime. We typically hear about cases involving ‘creative accounting,’ where business accountants, executives and other corporate members are implicated in investigations spanning years. This isn’t your typically white collar crime. Cases involving accounting fraud are often the subject of extremely lengthy and in depth investigative efforts on behalf of the federal government. If convicted, you could be facing tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and a prison time in a federal correctional facility. If you’re under investigation or facing any kind of accounting fraud charges, you need to seek immediate experienced legal counsel.
There are so many types of accounting fraud, but it all boils down to a manipulation of financial data. When financial data is manipulated, especially to defraud somebody else or for the gain of executives or the corporation’s bottom line, you have accounting fraud. Accounting fraud can take place at the lowest level within the company or at the highest level. In some cases, accounting fraud happens in the accountant’s office, but it’s also possible for manipulation of financial data to occur at a variety of levels and departments within an office setting. If you suspect you might be involved in any type of financial data manipulation, it’s a good idea to speak with a skilled white collar crime attorney as soon as possible about your case.
White Collar Crime
Accounting fraud is a type of white collar crime. This means that there is paperwork involved, or if you’re office is paperless, there’s digital data involved. Typically, white collar crimes are non-violent in nature. This is the type of crime that is associated with professional, well-educated criminals. The perpetrator of a white collar crime doesn’t look anything like how you might image a traditional criminal. In most cases, they’re hardworking, seemingly normal, white collar professionals. It’s important to note that although these crimes are typically violent, and some would argue victimless in some cases, the federal government takes them very seriously. In fact, the federal government spends millions of dollars on investigations into accounting fraud each year.
“Creative Accounting” is typically a term used to describe many forms of accounting fraud. If accounting is done in a creative way to manipulate financial data, there’s a good chance accounting fraud is going on. Beware of creative accounting, which might look harmless at first glance. Defrauding potential clients and investors with creative accounting can land you in hot water with the federal government. Listed below are a few different types of accounting fraud.
- Falsely stating information about business transactions
- Understating company liabilities
- Falsifying annual or quarterly reports
- Understating business expenses or losses
- Hiding or concealing assets
- Overstating the value of assets
- Over-inflating income or revenue
- Falsifying sales reports
- Failing to report gifts and bonuses
- Payroll fraud
- Failing to report vacation time or other benefits
Accounting Fraud Investigation
The federal government can spend years developing a case involving accounting fraud. If you suspect you’re under investigation for accounting fraud, speak with a lawyer who has proven white collar case experience immediately. These cases are incredibly complex, involve mountains of paperwork and data and have high-stakes consequences. The federal government could have years worth of data and evidence. You’ll need a team of experts on your side.
Penalties Associated With Accounting Fraud
The penalties associated with accounting fraud can be severe. Decades behind bars and thousands of dollars in fines are common with cases involving accounting fraud. Additionally, you could also lose your professional licenses and your livelihood. An accounting fraud conviction has wide-reaching implications for professionals. Even being involved in an investigation involving accounting fraud can have an impact on your every day life. Since all cases are different, and you could be facing additional charges related to the accounting fraud, it’s imperative to speak with an experienced accounting fraud lawyer about the penalties you could be facing, if convicted.
Cases involving accounting fraud are extremely complex and have high stakes, so the sooner you speak with a defense attorney the better chance you have at a favorable outcome. You can discuss the unique circumstances and details of your case with your attorney. If you or somebody you love is under investigation or facing charges for accounting fraud, contact the skilled and proven team at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC at (601) 265-7766 for an immediate case consultation.
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