Crosby Offshore Services, St. John’s, Newfoundland
Oil & Gas
Stop it while you can
This case involved a privately held company owned by a family who had been part of the country’s political history. The police had started an investigation aided by an outside accounting firm. Initially, the subjects believed that the matter would resolve itself. However, it continued with the prospect of becoming very serious.
Some people believe that the more time an investigative body invests in a case, the more difficult it is for them to withdraw without making a criminal charge. The case was proceeding down this road.
Retained by counsel Michael Penman, we determined in the end that the problem was identified with an accountant retained by the police for the case who was giving biased interpretations to the questionable transactions, without consideration of other possible explanations.
Maybe, it was just inexperience, but the concepts of the ‘benefit of doubt’ and ‘mens rea’ are issues the forensic accountant must understand, and specifically, must know the standards for measurement. The quality of professional care is of utmost importance, especially when it involves respected public officials. A forensic accountant’s work is alive and for today, with the potential of significantly affecting a person’s life and place in history, if done in error.