A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is an accounting professional who has passed the Uniform CPA examination and has met all additional state certification and experience requirements. This is done by acquiring the necessary college credits by studying accounting, economics, statistics, and business. Generally, they do not have any training or experience in criminal law and the development of evidence of fraud—either oral or written.

In contrast, a Treasury Department—Internal Revenue Service—Special Agent is a professional investigator, generally with a degree in accounting, and possibly a CPA. This individual is trained in income tax law, procedure, and other federal law violations, including money laundering, Ponzi schemes, advance fees schemes, structuring, and other financial crimes. They are trained to recognize fraudulent activities, and how to use indirect methods of proof to prove unreported income, because they seldom see a set of books. They are trained in how to interview taxpayers and witnesses to develop evidence, and how to write memorandums of an interview, Special Agent Reports, and search warrants. They learn over their career how to work with the United States Attorney’s office and other State and Federal agencies, and they testify before Federal grand juries and in Federal and State Courts. Also, Special Agents are trained and skilled in the development of willfulness and intent, which is a key element in proving criminal violations of the Internal Revenue Code. Intent is developed by statements and actions of the taxpayer and is generally determined through inference drawn from circumstantial evidence.

Retired Special Agents are specifically suited to proving civil torts. They are instrumental in divorces in community property states, using their skills to analyze bank records and follow the money to locate hidden assets, trace funds of separate and community property, and to help inventory and divide the marital estate. They can be used to analyze and follow the money in an estate and trust matter where the executor or trustee takes money for his personal use and deprives the other family members of their share as dictated in the will. They can be used by attorneys as an expert witness to assist in proving theft by a partner or a corporate financial officer.

They can use their knowledge, experience, and skill to help defend subjects involved in complex financial investigations being considered for prosecution by helping develop defenses. They can develop information on acceptance of responsibility by the return preparer, CPA; demonstrate that the case would be de minimus; and that the taxpayer did not have the necessary intent to prove willfulness.

A retired Special Agent has more to offer than a CPA certificate; he was among the first to be considered a “forensic accountant” before the term became prominent, and Certified Fraud Examiners were trained beyond accounting by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners.

If you or your client needs a knowledgeable retired IRS Special Agent, fraud investigator, forensic accountant, and expert witness, call Edmond J. Martin Chief Investigator, at Sage Investigations, LLC call 512-659-3179 or email edmartin@sageinvestigations.com and visit our website at www.sageinvestigations.com and review Our Team Page and their CV’s. Sage Investigations is not a CPA firm and does not conduct audits or attestation of financial statements.

If you need the services of a CPA in your fraud investigation, we are associated with some very competent and experienced CPAs.