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The Litigation Side of Forensic Accounting Copyrighted 2001 D. Larry Crumbley, CPA, Cr.FA, CFD KPMG ... - page 99 / 275

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© D.L. Crumbley

Fingerprints Are Needed

Legal experts say it remains far easier to prosecute those directly involved in disputed transactions because they leave a paper trail that can be easy for prosecutors to follow.

“The government has been relatively successful against lower-level people in accounting cases,” said Howard Schiffman.

Top brass are much tougher to prosecute because they rarely come out and say “go cook the books” and are hardly ever directly involved in the details of individual transactions, particularly smaller ones, legal experts say. Instead, bosses tell subordinates more-ambiguous things about not disappointing Wall Street. Employees who extrapolate that as a code for “cheat” are at great risk since “their fingerprints are all over the documents,” Mr. Schiffman said.

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The Quest executives were acquitted in mid-April, 2004.

Source: Shawn Young, “Quest Case Shows Underlings Vulnerabilities,” WSJ, April 2, 2004, p. C-1.

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