Our professionals work with corporate and individual clients and their legal counsel to investigate and resolve fraudulent activities. Members of our senior team have served in high-profile fraud investigations across multiple industries ranging from large-scale, multinational corporations to small family offices.
CCA’s services are private and confidential. We have never published a client list. Our services have helped organizations uncover multimillion dollar frauds, complicated money-laundering schemes, and revealed otherwise unknown personal information that has changed investment, management, and hiring decisions. We have published our knowledge of fraud in The Handbook of Fraud Deterrence, a textbook distributed by John Wiley & Sons.
Example Engagement: Asset Tracing and Shell Companies
We were engaged by a receiver as forensic accounting experts to assist the Federal Trade Commission with an investigation of a debt collection scheme. The defendants allegedly threatened and intimidated consumers to collect phantom payday loan “debts” they did not owe, or did not owe to the defendants. Also, the defendants illegally provided portfolios of fake debt to other debt collectors. The Federal Trade Commission pursued them on a claim that it is illegal to harass people for debts they clearly do not owe and to sell phony debts to other debt collectors. The defendants had operated under numerous names and most recently held themselves out as a law firm, alleging they had authority to sue consumers who did not pay. Due to all the threats, harassment, and false assertions, many consumers did pay these debts, even though they legitimately did not owe any money. The court granted the FTC’s request for a temporary restraining order, asset freeze, and appointment of a receiver.
We were tasked with understanding the details and finances of the Receivership Defendant’s business activities, along with locating and consolidating assets of the receivership estate. We collected and reviewed financial records of the receivership defendants in an attempt to understand business operations and consolidate receivables under the control of the receiver. Through our investigation, it was found that the receivership defendants did not have any records of financial statements nor did they file any tax returns. It was decided that the best course of action was to subpoena various banks for account statements and other information needed to recreate the financial picture. From our efforts, we were able to locate assets and trace funds flowing to and from multiple affiliated entity accounts. Most notably, the majority of the phantom debt collection funds were being transferred into a shell company, used as the defendants own personal piggy bank.
Our investigation showed that this shell company conducted no business operations of its own and was solely used to fund the owner’s luxurious lifestyle. By tracing check deposits, it was discovered that the defendants were receiving monthly rent checks for properties that they owned. Additional research on said properties discovered that the defendants used illicit funds from the phantom debt collection to buy these properties, as well as their own homes. The receiver was able to sell all properties and add these funds to the receivership estate to be returned to creditors. We also discovered through our analysis, multiple hidden bank and brokerage accounts, as well other assets.
The operators of this fake debt collection scheme have been banned from the debt collection business and from selling debt portfolios. The Federal Trade Commission was able to reach a favorable settlement against the defendants, with additional identified assets being added back to the receivership estate. The assets of the receivership estate were paid back to the consumers who fell victim to the scheme.