Regulatory and criminal investigations

The Armstrong Watson forensic accounting team have significant experience of assisting both the prosecution and defence in regulatory and criminal investigations.

We are regularly appointed to assist in investigations by prosecuting authorities and our findings are then used as the basis of the charges to be brought. We also have extensive experience of defending individuals facing financial investigations, including cases brought by the SFO and in relation to complex multinational assignments.

Such investigations often involve significant levels of electronic and documentary evidence and we are able to use technology to manage this effectively. Our extensive experience of dealing with such cases means that we appreciate from the outset what is likely to be required and factor this into our initial work, thus preventing later duplication of cost. We are also able to remodel the data as the case progresses in order to readily respond to rulings and findings during the proceedings and trial. On numerous occasions we have presented complex financial evidence in a manner that can be readily understood and assimilated by the Court.

The areas in which we have undertaken assignments include allegations of:

  • Money laundering
  • Solicitors’ client account fraud
  • Boiler room fraud
  • Investment fraud
  • Mortgage fraud
  • Fraudulent trading
  • False accounting
  • Financial misconduct offences against police officers
  • Scrap metal fraud
  • Unregistered gang masters
  • Other serious organised crime

A full synopsis of our experience in investigation matters is available on request but we have set out overleaf a number of case studies detailing matters in which we have been involved.

If you would like to find out more about how we are able to assist you, please get in touch.

Contact our Forensic accounting team on 0808 144 5575 to discuss how we can help you.

Case Studies

   Operation Bamburgh

Operation Bamburgh, described as one of Britain’s biggest property scandals, involved an investment scheme whereby properties were purchased and then inflated valuations were obtained in order to secure larger mortgages against them.

Liesel Annible was brought in shortly before the trial to assist in investigating the vast amounts of financial evidence in the case and explain why the scheme failed. .

Using the records available, Liesel was able to produce a database of thousands of properties identifying the original cost of the property, the inflated valuation, the resultant mortgage, the rental income realised and the mortgage repayments. From this database, Liesel was able to demonstrate that the company was never able to cover its on-going mortgage liabilities from the rental income received and it was only able to continue trading by raising further mortgage finance, i.e. it was effectively operating as a Ponzi scheme.

The majority of the Defendants pleaded guilty prior to the start of the trial and received custodial sentences of up to five years.

   SFO investigation

Liesel Annible was instructed for the main defendant in the matter of Sarclad Limited, where the SFO brought charges of bribery and corruption against Michael Sorby, former managing director and two former employees. Sarclad had previously entered into a deferred prosecution agreement where they paid £6.5 million. Liesel prepared a detailed report addressing errors in the SFO’s analysis and interpretation of the documents. Michael Sorby and the other two defendants were acquitted of all charges.

   Defence of an MLRO alleged to have been involved in money laundering

Liesel Annible was instructed to act as expert in the defence of the MLRO of a money service bureau that was alleged to have been used to launder millions of pounds of cash from the proceeds of criminal activity.

Using specialist software, Liesel prepared a detailed analysis of the numerous banking transactions for the Defendant in order to identify the source of the funds. From this, she was able to match the cash deposits to clients and locations throughout the UK. These transactions were then graded between various categories in order to demonstrate how likely they were to represent money laundering.

All of Liesel’s findings in relation to these allegations were accepted.

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