Defense for Accountants Facing Fraud Charges
Individuals and companies can both face criminal fraud charges. While companies charged with fraud face substantial fines, individuals accused of fraud could serve a lengthy prison sentence and face additional collateral consequences, including loss of a professional license, immigration problems, and an inability to earn a living.
If you are an accountant facing fraud charges, you need an experienced white-collar criminal defense lawyer on your side who can mount an aggressive defense, negotiate a plea bargain, minimize the consequences of a conviction and, if necessary, take your case to trial.
Accounting Fraud Defined
Accounting fraud occurs when an accountant or high-level executive knowingly falsifies corporate records to avoid paying taxes. Under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and other federal criminal statutes, accountants and other senior executives have personal responsibility for the accuracy of corporate financial records. Public accounting firms likewise face additional oversight from federal regulators.
An accountant or other executive who fails to follow the federal rules and regulations regarding the enhanced reporting requirements and accuracy of corporate financial records can face federal criminal charges for accounting fraud.
Examples of Accounting Fraud
Accounting fraud can take many different forms, including:
- Overstating revenue
- Recognizing revenue at improper times
- Overstating expenses
- Misstating assets and liabilities
- Overvaluing company assets
- Creating false accounting statements
- Making false or misleading statements to regulators
- Money laundering
Defenses to Allegations of Accounting Fraud
Accounting fraud is not limited solely to violations of the federal criminal tax statutes. Instead, federal prosecutors frequently cite various sections of the U.S. Code that pertain to different types of fraud. These cases are investigated by different federal agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the Department of Justice (DOJ), to name just a few.
Regardless of which government agency is conducting the investigation, allegations of accounting fraud can have a profound effect on your life, derail your career, and result in severe penalties, including the loss of your professional license, loss of your ability to earn a living, significant fines, and jail time.
A successful defense against federal charges of accounting fraud requires a skilled and experienced federal criminal defense attorney who knows and understands federal criminal law and has defended people in complex cases involving serious violations of federal law.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to defending against federal accounting fraud charges, and your defense will depend on the specific facts of your case. Nevertheless, common defenses to charges of federal accounting fraud include:
- Lack of criminal intent. In federal fraud cases, the government must prove that you intended to commit fraud. There are different ways to prove intent, and the prosecutor will look to corporate records and accounting documents. However, proving intent can be difficult, and there are various ways a skilled federal criminal defense lawyer can refute this requirement.
- Legitimate business purpose. An accountant or other high-level executive who was acting in good faith or had a legitimate business purpose has a valid defense to federal charges of accounting fraud. A professional who legitimately believes their actions were not fraudulent might be able to avoid a conviction for accounting fraud.
Hope Lefeber: Federal Accounting Fraud Defense Attorney
Accountants and other executives can all face federal criminal charges related to false financial statements. If you are under investigation or are facing federal criminal charges for accounting fraud, you need an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer on your side who will meticulously investigate the evidence and the charges against you and zealously fight to protect your rights.
Federal accounting fraud defense attorney Hope Lefeber routinely defends accountants and other executives facing federal fraud charges. Ms. Lefeber has a network of forensic accountants and other experts who can review the evidence and testify on your behalf about why you are not guilty of the crimes you have been charged with.
Ms. Lefeber began her career as an enforcement attorney with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), where she learned first-hand how the government prepares and prosecutes federal accounting fraud cases. Today, she uses that experience to defend people accused of accounting fraud in federal court.
Ms. Lefeber has extensive experience reviewing and analyzing complex financial records. She represented accountants, CPAs, businessmen and women, individuals, and corporate taxpayers who are under investigation or have been charged with tax crimes.
If you are under investigation or have been charged with accounting fraud, contact federal defense attorney Hope Lefeber today.