Auditing vs Fraud Examination vs Forensic Accounting

In general terms, fraud is an intentional deception, whether by omission or commission, to realize a gain. Under common law, fraud includes four essential elements:

  • A material false statement
  • Knowledge that the statement was false when it was spoken
  • Reliance on the false statement by the victim
  • Damages resulting from the victim’s reliance on the false statement

In the broadest sense, fraud can encompass any act for gain that uses deception as its principle technique. This deception is implemented through fraud schemes, specific methodologies used to commit and conceal the fraudulent act. The legal definition of fraud is the same, whether the incidence is criminal or civil. The difference is that criminal cases must meet a higher burden of proof.

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Financial Shenanigans (Part 1)

ShenanigansSecret or dishonest activity or maneuvering

Recently I was reading Financial Shenanigans: How to Detect Accounting Gimmicks & Fraud in Financial Reports. The book by Howard Schilit and Jeremy Perler sheds the light on various Shenanigans (methods/techniques) which management uses to cook the books to make businesses look better than they actually are.

It’s a good read for both investors and auditors as the authors have used real examples like that of Enron, WorldCom, Tyco, etc. and other lesser known corporate scams detailing how they were perpetuated before they saw the light of day and how one could have spotted the false accounting in these cases. The Shenanigans given are:

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