Testifying experts: is technical knowledge enough?

It was after the lunch hour and I was testifying as a CPA expert on an economic damages case. The venue was a superior courthouse in Santa Ana, California. The day was a hot one and I was testifying at a jury trial. I had been retained by the plaintiff. My testimony was laced with …

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Protect your business: collusion and increased fraud losses

I recently read an article about fraud within the Massachusetts State Police (MSP). The author, a former MSP trooper, outlined an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office. The investigation involves a minimum of 46 troopers with the allegations including payroll fraud and conspiracy, among other federal violations. …

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Forensic accounting or forensic economics?

In a previous blog, I discussed the term “forensic accounting” and ultimately provided a very general definition: Forensic accounting is the application of specialized accounting, finance, economics and related knowledge and skills in a legal setting. After publishing that blog, I realized that I may have given short shrift to the term forensic economics. Upon …

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What is money laundering?

Crime is big business both domestically and across the globe and, as a result, money laundering activities are extensive. In fact, the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime reports that “[t]he estimated amount of money laundered globally in one year is 2% – 5% of global GDP, or $800 – $2 trillion in current …

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Tips for testifying in court – stress may not be that bad

If you have experience testifying in court and you felt no stress of any sort, you must be a robot. Not me. As a CPA, I’ve testified over 150 times in state courts in Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and California as well as federal courts in Arizona and Texas. Before I became an accountant, I …

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Phone scams remain on IRS’s Dirty Dozen List

I recently received a call from a lady identifying herself as an agent of the Internal Revenue Service. She said I owed a large sum of money to the IRS in back taxes and that if I did not pay up, I would find myself being prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and …

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The Fraud Triangle, still as relevant as ever

Several years ago, I wrote about the Fraud Triangle. A recent case I read about shows once again how relevant it is. In 1973, Donald Cressey published the results of his research on embezzlement in Other People’s Money: A Study in the Social Psychology of Embezzlement. Mr. Cressey’s hypothesis has become known to many as …

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Trends in Daubert challenges

The professionals who testify as experts – and the attorneys who retain them – are likely very familiar with the “Daubert Standard,” as challenges to experts and their testimony has become more and more commonplace since the 1993 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and the 1999 ruling in Kumho …

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6 Steps to know when you want to sell your business

If you’re a business owner and preparing to sell soon, these six steps will prepare you for an orderly and well-orchestrated process: Identify your personal and business goals. For most business owners, much of their personal wealth is in their business. Therefore, it is important to integrate your personal and business goals. Start by speaking …

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Governing agreements and holding company valuation

One of the first items we ask for when engaged to value a holding company interest is the governing agreement of that entity. This could be either an Operating or Partnership Agreement (with all amendments). Sometimes we are asked why we need the governing agreement to prepare a valuation. In the valuation of holding company …

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