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Criminal investigations: Supporting the investigation of complex economic crime

Supporting the investigation of complex economic crime

Supporting the fight against economic crime

The scale and complexity of serious and organised crime, along with the money laundering of its proceeds, is increasing year on year. We work alongside criminal investigations teams to support their complex investigations, particularly those involving complicated financial aspects and large volumes of structured and unstructured data.

Complex crime requires a multifaceted response

As the financial world develops and innovates, criminals are finding new ways to exploit weaknesses and circumvent safeguards. Investigating complex economic crime is a painstaking, resource-intensive task that increasingly demands cutting-edge tools and advanced forensic investigation and data analysis skills.

With complex cases, agencies often need expert surge support – access to experienced investigators with the skills, innovative technology and capacity to respond within tight timescales, often across multiple jurisdictions to drive insight quickly.

How we can help

We have more than 20 years of experience supporting economic crime investigations – including money laundering, fraud, tax evasion, drug trafficking, illegal gambling, tachograph fraud, counterfeit goods and theft – providing rapid access to specialist forensic and intelligence analysis skills and technology. We have worked with a wide range of organisations including the National Crime Agency, regional police forces, the Criminal Assets Bureau, and the DVLA.

Our services include:

  • Forensic technology solutions, including computer and mobile phone imaging and analysis
  • Analysis and integration of large volumes of structured and unstructured data (comms data, open source, financial, imaged devices, hard copy)
  • Asset tracing
  • Corporate intelligence
  • Financial and non-financial investigations
  • Data presentation and visualisation for juries
  • Expert witness services, in written or oral form

While we typically help with large-scale, complex cases involving multiple entities, accounts and jurisdictions, we can help with an investigation of any size and complexity.

Why PwC?

We provide:

  • A dedicated criminal investigation team with extensive experience of supporting criminal investigations. All senior team members have appropriate security clearance.
  • Leading edge technology combined with extensive forensic accounting skills. We can add substantial value by integrating data feeds and analysing them in novel ways.
  • Extensive capacity and capability. We tailor our rapid response according to your needs.
  • Trained criminal investigators who conduct investigations to an evidential standard and have experience of operating under the Proceeds of Crime Act, the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act and the Police and Criminal Evidence Act.
  • Support throughout the investigation. We can help at any stage in the investigation, from accompanying police officers on search and seizure operations, to data presentation for evidential purposes.
  • Access to subject matter experts. As well as expert witness services, our wider network provides access to local, regional and global experts in accounting, business and tax.
Benefits: Dedicated experienced team; Technology led and enabled; Capacity and capability; Specialist trained investigators; End-to-end investigation support; Subject matter expertise

Case studies

Criminal gang money laundering investigation

A law enforcement agency believed that a business was being used to launder money by a criminal network that operated in a number of countries. We were called in to analyse and quantify its finances. The agency suspected that high value stock was being used as currency, so we traced stock seized in a seizure operation to the business’s financial books and records in order to identify the source of funds used to buy the stock, and determined where the stock was purchased. We summarised our findings in an Expert Witness report and a sworn Affidavit submitted to the court. Our client was successful in the initial confiscation proceedings relating to all assets included in our report.

Multi-national money laundering investigation

A national police force had created a task force to investigate the main suspect in a money laundering network with a global reach, but it had been disbanded after a year because of the scale and complexity of the suspected activities. Five years later, and in the space of 18 months, we put together a 300-page expert witness report detailing the flow of funds into, within and out of the network. We quantified that the suspected funds laundered were worth around £215 million, making it one of the UK’s largest money laundering investigations.

Illegal use of tachograph investigation

We were asked to support an investigation into the illegal use of tachograph interruption devices – and in particular to design a solution that could identify illegal usage in more than 100 vehicles over a one year period. Traditional methods would have taken two officers up to a year to investigate, including overtime and weekend work. In under six weeks, we designed and created investigative dashboards which allowed the client to complete its review accurately in less than six months – saving more than £80,000 in costs. 

Contact us

Melanie Butler

Melanie Butler

Partner, Digital & Forensic Investigations, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7801 216737

Andrew Newsham

Andrew Newsham

Partner, National Lead for Policing, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7850 516169

Clare Kennedy

Clare Kennedy

Director, Digital & Forensic Investigations, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7841 563537

Ronan Magee

Ronan Magee

Digital & Forensic Investigations Director, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7715 211319

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