When it comes to accounting fraud, both companies as well as individuals can be prosecuted under criminal law. Usually when a prosecution is carried out, companies have substantial fines levied against them as punishment. Individuals, however, are not so lucky. Should you be convicted of accounting fraud, you could be facing a long sentence in prison.
Accounting fraud cases may be complex and not too many defense attorneys have the necessary understanding of accounting practices and tax law to have the right experience to handle accounting fraud matters. The right attorney with the right experience can make all the difference.
New York City criminal lawyers with Joseph Potashnik and Associates, PC have built a substantial track record of success defending clients facing complex white collar criminal charges in federal and state courts, including all types of accounting fraud.
What is accounting fraud?
The term “accounting fraud” may be confusing. In simple terms, accounting fraud refers to the practice of intentionally falsifying or misrepresenting accounting records and books. These misrepresentation maybe about sales, revenues, expenses, and they are usually committed in order to avoid taxes, increase stock value, obtain bank loans, or in connection with bankruptcy proceedings.
All accountants must comply with a set of principles, known as GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Standards). GAAP is a code of accepted standards, applicable to all US based companies, which are set by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB). It is a guide of generally accepted methods of recording and reporting accounting data. Why have GAAP? Because following the rules makes it easier for the records to be read and analyzed. GAAP covers various topics such as revenue recognition, balance sheet items classification, and outstanding share measurements.
Accounting fraud can subject senior executives as well as accountants who act on their behalf, to criminal penalties. Corporate officers carry personal responsibility for the accuracy of their company’s financial reports.
What kinds of accounting fraud are there?
Although accounting fraud is a broad term, there are many different kinds of fraud that fall under this umbrella term. Among them there are creating false statements in your accounting, understating your losses, selling right at quarter’s end to meet your forecast, overstating the value of your company’s assets, either recognizing revenue that isn’t there or recognizing it at the wrong time, boosting your revenue and the revenue of another company by buying each other’s products, making false statements to your regulators, laundering money, not disclosing all of your income, committing audit fraud, and a variety of other similar charges.
It goes without saying that accounting fraud cases that somehow involve companies that are in the public eye will tend to lead to a harsh prosecution as a way of warning other companies what might happen should they also commit accounting fraud. But of course, any form of accounting fraud can lead to criminal charges, and this can include accounting fraud for small businesses, fraud that involves individual people, and even things like fraudulent financial statements.
What are the penalties for accounting fraud?
As with any other criminal charge, the penalties that you might face for accounting fraud will vary depending on the actual type of behavior. But in general, should you be charged with some crime under the umbrella term of accounting fraud, you could be facing a number of criminal charges, including conspiracy, mail and wire fraud, various tax violations, bank fraud, making false statements, assisting, counseling, or advising someone to make a false return, making a statement or making a statement that you know is not true, commodities and securities fraud, violating the fraud laws for securities, and a variety of other similar charges as well.
It should also be kept in mind that penalties in criminal cases vary significantly in state and federal courts. If you are facing federal charges, you should be only working with an attorney experienced in federal defense work.
Considering that the likely outcome of an individual being convicted of the crime related to accounting fraud is a long prison sentence, it’s imperative that you get a competent criminal defense attorney who has experience with accounting fraud cases. While the average lawyer might have an idea of how to conduct their defense so as to get your charges reduced or even hopefully dropped, only the experienced accounting fraud attorney will be able to get you there. With all of that said, you can find such an experienced attorney at the law firm of Joseph Potashnik and Associates, PC. So if you’re facing some kind of legal problem regarding accounting fraud, it’s best that you reach out today. We’ll be sure to get you the help that you need.