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Expert Witnesses

Financial Expert Witness Requirements for a Money Laundering Case


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A financial expert witness in a money laundering case may provide the best details and explanation of accounting and financial books for the prosecution in convicting the defendant of these criminal acts. However, for an expert to remain within the case, he or she must possess certain requirements in his or her credentials that prove he or she is up to the case.

Most financial expert witnesses used for money laundering cases must possess a combination of experience, skills and education. These professionals have knowledge in the fields of finance, accounting, criminal investigations and business. Some often possess skills and specialized experience in forensic accounting, fraud and examinations with fraudulent activity. These fields are available for study so that the expert may further his or her knowledge and understanding of money laundering activity as well as any illegal crimes that occur in conjunction with the cleaning of the currency illegal acquired. Hired for a specific case, the expert will use his or her skills and comprehensive background to determine if the person is responsible for laundering money.

Accounting and Forensic Accounting

One of the primary ways to determine if a company has any involvement in money laundering is to check the accounting books. These may have a physical copy or an electronic version. The expert may need to acquire new knowledge in computerized software, but he or she will use his or her accounting background to determine if a crime occurred. With forensic accounting experience, the professional may have the capacity to piece together any and all illegal actions the person took so that laundering money becomes possible. The expert may even recreate the actions the business owner or criminal element took so that extra money shifted into normal business transactions.

The Criminal Investigation

Part of the importance of an expert witness with a financial background is the investigation. The expert may work with law enforcement agencies in breaking a case, or he or she may discover additional evidence or a connection to the claim against the accused through the evidence the agency found. Many may need to work with the police or Federal Bureau of Investigation finish the investigation into the matter. However, through testing methods and other processes, the expert may find the connection and link between the money laundering and evidence obtained by the agency. This may then help the prosecution or defense in proving guilt or innocence.

The work that a financial expert witness has in a criminal investigation through helping the defense is often daunting due to the amount of evidence that exists from the original scene of the crime. This generally includes a computer, a business and several transactions used to implicate the defendant in the case. The expert will need to prove that the accused has no connection or involvement in the criminal activities. This is possible by demonstrating to the court that he or she was not in the building when the illegal actions took place, that he or she has little capability in committing the crime or that he or she is the scapegoat of someone else.

A Deeper Understanding

When an expert witness becomes part of a money laundering case, he or she must possess a deeper understanding of the numbers or information he or she views in books or computer screens. He or she must know what inconsistencies mean for the company, how lost income leads to missing assets or shipments with property and what smaller deposits in bank accounts could mean for a specific person. These details and further evidence may provide an expert with the important details that point to the culprit. However, using this deeper knowledge along with skills and equipment for his or her profession, the expert may connect the evidence with the crime and the person responsible.

Confidence and Demeanor

Financial expert witnesses have other requirements than just credentials and knowledge. To speak before a judge or jury, he or she must possess enough confidence to transfer it to the judge or jury panel. The courtroom needs to have faith in the words and information of the expert. The demeanor of the professional is almost as important. He or she should dress and groom appropriately for the courtroom. Speaking eloquently is just as essential as looking like a professional. In the eyes of the court, he or she may explain a matter better or alleviate confusion when he or she has confidence in his or her abilities and looks the part.


Provided by HG.org

Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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