Our Directors are:-
David Cook JP FCA MAE who is a Justice of the Peace, a Chartered Accountant, accredited by the Institute as a Forensic Accountant, A Member of the Academy of Experts, accredited by them as an Expert Witness, and is a member of the Professional Negligence Lawyers Association and the Society of Expert Witnesses.
Chris Gahagan LLB FCA, who is a Chartered Accountant, an Associate Member of the Academy of Experts and a member of the Society of Expert Witnesses with experience in commerce as well as professional practice.
We have considerable experience in Forensic Accounting, with David in particular having given evidence in Court, both Criminal and Civil, on numerous occasions. We offer a complete range of service, where we pride ourselves on our analytical and interpretive skills, personal involvement, ability to meet the requirements of the case and deadlines and our cost effective approach.
We are used to acting as a party expert, single joint expert (and as a shadow expert), independent accountant to determine a dispute and have acted in all these capacities many times.
The main areas of work that we cover are:-
- Money Laundering
- Confiscation Orders
- Loss of Profit or Earnings
- Professional Negligence
- Commercial Disputes
- Business valuations, in dispute situations
- Matrimonial disputes
- Expert Determination
Examples the type of cases that we have acted on are:-
An MBO by a one third director shareholder of the other two one third director shareholders. Completion was agreed by fax late on Friday afternoon when it was too late to transfer funds. The partner had already left for the bank holiday weekend so an assistant accepted completion subject to agreeing payment of interest up to Tuesday. On Saturday the purchaser director received information that a major customer was lost and pulled out of the deal.
The vendors sued their solicitors on the basis that completion had taken place and that they had suffered loss due to the greatly reduced value of the company. Unusually the case went to trial in the High Court in London with the main issues being whether or not completion had taken place and if so the amount of loss suffered. Acting for the Defence, apart from evidence on the practical position we had to value the company following the change in circumstances both with and without a minority interest, assess the value of security and value loan notes on a discounted basis. The case was decided in favour of the Defence, both on quantum where the Judge gave his assessment first and on causation. An unusual aspect was that at a further without prejudice experts meeting at Court, the Claimant's expert admitted that, as was pointed out to him, the treatment of cash in his valuation was incorrect but that he would not lose face by admitting that in Court and that he was very worried for his clients as they had been persuaded to go to trial by over aggressive lawyers and were likely to lose over it.
The client company was supplied with faulty goods which it used in it’s manufacturing process, resulting in faulty goods being supplied to customers as the resulting faults did not become apparent until later when the goods were in use. Acting for the Claimant, we had to assess and quantify the losses suffered by the company which in our view were in respect of:-
- The time and costs involved in identifying and solving the problem.
- The cost of rectifying faulty items.
- The cost of the faulty materials.
- Compensation paid to customers.
- Loss of business and goodwill which was the most difficult area to assess.
The matter was settled at Mediation, with the Claimants receiving fair compensation.
Our usual involvement in matrimonial cases is where a private company is one of the major assets and income source and the company has to be valued and the ability to extract income or capital needs to be assessed, sometimes looking for disappearing income or funds.
This was an unusual case where the widow and second wife of a wealthy businessman had died. She was left with relatively little, partly by the terms of his will and partly by actions of his children in relation to the family business, pension rights and trusts. Action was taken under the Inheritance Provision Act.
Acting for the Claimant, we had to value the company, investigate the dealings on the pension scheme and on the trusts, arrive at the effective total value of his assets for the purposes of the Act, advise on the tax situation and how matters could most efficiently be dealt with, so that a fair share for the widow could be assessed. We were able to show that this was £16m and were told by our instructing Lawyers that our report was a bombshell to the Defendants and their Lawyers. The matter was settled at Mediation with the widow receiving a fair settlement.
This case was a Crown Court fraud trial relating to a director, minority shareholder accused of fraud against a major supplier and customer, in conjunction with a director of that company. The other director had already been convicted of fraud against his international company.
The basis of the Defence, for whom we were acting, was that the Defendant and his company colleagues knew nothing of the fraud, entered into transactions with someone that they were used to dealing with, supplied cash for subcontractors, as they had in other cases, had made their usual profit margin on the jobs and had dealt with the transactions correctly. We had to examine the transactions in detail and report on whether they were correctly recorded in the company's records and accounts, correctly dealt with for VAT and Corporation Tax and that the director had derived no personal direct benefit from the transactions, which we were able to do. We also had to look at and comment on how the transactions were dealt with in the other company's records and their internal control procedures for verifying transactions
A fairly grueling cross examination but our evidence was upheld and the Defendant cleared.
This was a case of fraud against an Insurance/Investment company by an individual who discovered by accident, that he could "fix" the time on fax instructions so that he could buy or sell units after he knew how they were performing and make guaranteed profits.
He pleaded guilty so that the case was all about the level of compensation to the insurance company and the Confiscation Order under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA). The prosecution claimed that the Defendant should pay both £4.5m compensation and £5.5 confiscation, with the bonds being worth some £4.5m and using his other assets, property and investments to pay the balance.
Our first task was to correct the figures being claimed to compensation £3.5m and confiscation £4.5m and to point out that cashing the bonds, as was being proposed, would attract tax of £lm, which should either be taken into account in the compensation figure or that this should be dealt with by the insurance company taking back the illegal profit direct from the bonds so that tax was not a consideration.
The next task was to argue and show that the Defendant’s other assets were not derived from crime and that the compensation should be paid first with confiscation only being paid to the extent that there was a balance of value left in the bonds, some £lm. This would leave the other assets for the Defendant’s now divorced wife and family.
At a hearing before a High Court Judge in London, he found in the Defendant's favour.