Auditors employed in a large corporation have more access to financial information than most employees and are perfectly positioned to engage in some form of white-collar crime.

If you find that you and other members of the accounting department are under investigation for fraud, what are your next steps?

Understanding white-collar crime

White-collar crime is a non-violent crime based on deception, one that often involves abusing a position of trust. In a corporate environment, it might be a crime such as embezzlement, accounting fraud, wire fraud or forgery. The company might not have the internal controls in place to identify issues such as these and the crime could continue undetected for months or even years. Fraud is often the result of pressure, such as personal financial problems, opportunity and rationalization.

Following up on a tip

It only takes a tip from a whistleblower for an investigation to begin. However, because white-collar crimes are complex, they are usually of long duration. Some take years to complete. While investigations can begin at the state level, teamwork often develops through the addition of federal resources such as agents from the FBI and IRS.

Seeking help

The federal government has the resources to pursue an in-depth investigation of any kind of suspected fraud. Therefore, it is important to begin building a defense strategy as early as possible. You should not delay in seeking legal help as soon as you become aware that investigators are directing their attention to you and your accounting department colleagues. If prosecution for fraudulent activity develops, you will want the best outcome possible for your case.