DIGITAL FORENSICS & EDISCOVERY
Electronic discovery (also called e-discovery) refers to any process in which electronic data is sought, located, secured, and searched with the intent of using it as evidence in a civil or criminal legal proceeding. E-discovery can be executed offline on a particular computer or it can be done in a network. Data of all types can serve as evidence, including text, images, calendar files, databases, spreadsheets, audio files, animation, web sites, and computer programs. Even malware such as viruses, trojans, and spyware can be secured and investigated. E-mail can be an especially valuable source of evidence in civil or criminal litigation as people are often less careful in these exchanges than with hard-copy correspondence such as written memos and postal letters.
As part of our computer forensic and e-discovery services, we can retrieve, preserve, catalogue, and analyze electronic data stored on computer hard drives, servers, e-mail systems, phone systems, cell phones, tablets and even personal entertainment systems such as iPods. We can assist in a wide range of matters including financial investigations, employee terminations, litigation support and regulatory proceedings.
FFP’s electronic discovery experts work directly with outside counsel, general counsel, corporate executives, bank examiners, bankruptcy trustees, forensic accountants, fraud examiners, and damages experts to deliver objective advice in all phases of the electronic discovery process.
IT Forensic Services
FFP’s e-discovery team combines specialized technical skills, an investigative mindset and practical knowledge to provide the following “total-evidence strategies and recovery” services throughout the litigation cycle:
- Litigation readiness planning
- “Meet & Confer” consulting
- Discovery planning
- Application of Sedona Canada Principles in addressing electronic document production
- Planning, consulting and execution of court orders, i.e. Anton Piller
- Forensic preservation of user hard drives and/or other storage media
- Deleted and active file investigations
- Password/encryption recovery
- Internal investigations
- Complex litigation
- Enterprise data acquisition and analysis
- E-mail reconstruction and analysis
- Relationship and fact link analysis
- Transaction anomaly detection
- Corporate litigation planning
The accounting and auditing profession is under increasing public and regulatory scrutiny due to ongoing accounting scandals, alleged fraud and financial reporting manipulations. Consequently, the number of lawsuits alleging negligence of public accountants and auditors is on the rise. The professionals at FFP have unparalleled expertise in objectively evaluating the professional conduct of public accountants (including tax accountants) and auditors, and in providing independent opinions on matters involving the alleged violation of professional auditing and accounting standards.
Canadian and international accounting standards as well as the professional standards applicable to auditors and public accountants are continously changing. The professionals at FFP have trained expertise in evaluating and opining on matters involving the alleged violation of:
- Accounting standards, such as International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), Canadian Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), U.S. GAAP, and cash and other disclosed bases of accounting.
- Standards applicable to auditors and public accountants, including Canadian Auditing Standards (CAS), Generally Accepted Auditing Standards (GAAS), Professional Standards for Review Engagements, Professional Standards for Compilation Engagements, and standards applicable to other assurance-related services.
Our Services Include:
- Consulting on the basis for actionable claims
- Identifying key accounting and working paper documents required for production
- Performing a detailed review and analysis of the auditor’s or public accountant’s working paper files
- Identifying key accounting and auditing issues to be explored in examinations for discovery
- Evaluating the auditor’s or public accountant’s conduct against relevant professional standards
- Analyzing whether financial reporting was prepared in accordance with applicable professional accounting standards
- Assessing loss quantification issues related to the auditor’s or public accountant’s conduct
- Preparing independent and objective written expert opinions
- Responding to opposing expert reports
- Assisting in mediation and other settlement proceedings
- Providing expert witness testimony
FFP’s qualified and knowledgeable team is certified with Chartered Professional Accountants Canada (formerly the Canadian Institute of Charted Accountants) and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. We have significant experience in analyzing complex accounting, auditing and taxation issues, and in preparing meticulously researched and independent expert opinions.
FINANCIAL FRAUD & FORENSIC INVESTIGATION
You need to feel confident that investigations into allegations of fraud, theft or suspected wrongdoing are well managed, loss recovery is being pursued, and the chance of reoccurrence is minimized. FFP’s investigative and forensic accounting assistance will help clarify, simplify and resolve the issues at hand.
Organizations in all sectors of the economy have retained FFP when suddenly faced with an internal investigation related to allegations of impropriety such as alleged insider trading, financial irregularities, conflicts of interest, suspected wrongdoing or when faced with a complex business dispute.
Strategic response to allegations
We work with your organization or your client to immediately develop a strategic response to any allegations. Our team helps you gather relevant information to assess the merits of the allegation and to mitigate any potential future loss. If a response to the allegations is required, we will assist you in making informed business decisions.
FFP's, investigative and forensic team includes forensic accountants and investigators, IT forensic specialists, former law enforcement officers, and investigative researchers. We will assemble a team to best match your specific needs in matters such as unresolved disputes, unusual or suspicious transactions, fraud, and theft or allegations of wrongdoing. We also have extensive experience quantifying values in disputes. Many of our professionals have extensive experience testifying as expert witnesses in various levels of courts and tribunals.
Forensic Accounting Services
FFP team members combine extensive financial, investigative and practical knowledge and skills to provide the following services:
- Forensic accounting
- Expert witness testimony
- Civil and criminal fraud and theft investigations (employee, management, shareholder etc...)
- Insurance investigations (fidelity bond claims, business interruption & stock loss)
- Litigation support
- Economic loss/damage quantification
- Asset tracing and recovery
- IT Forensics
- Investigative research
- Risk assessments
- Fraud prevention and awareness training
The dependability of a new supplier, the integrity of a new hire, or the honesty of a potential business partner for a new investment - these are just some situations where the decisions you make come with various degrees of risk.
The FFP investigative team can help you and your organization manage these risks. We can provide factual, reliable information about the people with whom you plan to do business.
Making sound business decisions depends on due diligence, on being well-informed about the strengths, vulnerabilities and history of the people and organizations you plan to engage.
FFP investigators dig their way through public record systems, databases and open sources while respecting all applicable privacy laws.
Background investigation is an essential tool in the collection and analysis of information. The impact of an insufficient background investigation can be costly. Our service provides a valuable means through which profiles may be compiled for any company or individual and provide you with critical information for:
- Accepting new clients
- Entering vendor/supplier partnerships
- Pre-employment screening
- Assessing merger and acquisition opportunities
- Knowing the backgrounds of those with whom you are investing
- Verifying representations made by companies and individuals
- Seeking out competitive intelligence
- Trademark inquiries
- General due diligence
FFP has extensive experience assisting in civil litigation matters that require the quantification of financial damages or financial losses. Our approach is to ensure that our reports are not only accurate and insightful but also reasonable and capable of withstanding scrutiny in a court, if required. Confident expert witnesses, we are proud of our ability to articulate our findings in a clear and credible manner.
Our services include:
- Assistance in establishing the basis for an actionable claim
- Assistance in establishing potential areas of loss (i.e. heads of damage)
- Identification of key documents required to complete the analysis (used in the preparation of the Affidavit of Documents or to request documents from the opposing counsel)
- Assistance in developing lines of questioning for the Examination for Discovery
- Industry research and analysis
- Quantitative analysis
- Preparation of an opinion report outlining our analyses and conclusions
- Review of the opposing expert's report including the preparation of a formal written critique
- Assistance in assessing settlement offers (from a financial perspective)
- Provision of expert testimony at trial
- Preparing demonstrative evidence for trial
- Assistance in preparing lines of questioning for the cross examination of the opposing expert at trial
- Assessing loss issues in proposed class actions
- Evaluating losses associated with auditor/accountant performance
FFP is particularly experienced in matters involving alleged wrongdoing, such as the alleged breach of a contract, active shareholders allegedly receiving improper personal benefits, individuals colluding to take advantage of companies or the government, and assets and income being concealed from former spouses or joint venture partners.
Our Services are Provided in the Context of:
- Breach of contract
- Breach of fiduciary duty
- Complex commercial damages
- Shareholder oppression & appraisal remedies
- Matrimonial disputes and family law matters
- Construction disputes
- Accounting Negligence
- Professional misconduct
- Product liability
- Lender liability
- Intellectual property infringement
- Predatory pricing and dumping
- International trade disputes
- Insurance claims
- NAFTA claims
- Personal injury and wrongful death
- Medical malpractice
- Constructive dismissal
A shareholder dispute, income tax planning, a divorce, or the sale of a business - these are just some of the situations when you make decisions about the value of a business.
Business valuation is the process of quantifying the worth of all, or part, of a business or its securities, or its intangible assets, including brand and intellectual property. Business valuation expertise is used as part of due diligence and transaction support, for litigation, corporate finance and transaction-based activities.
The FFP Business Valuation team has extensive experience preparing business valuation and related expert reports for a variety of purposes. Our approach is to ensure that our reports are not only accurate and insightful but also reasonable and capable of withstanding scrutiny by Boards of Directors, stakeholders, or in court, if required. Confident expert witnesses, we are proud of our ability to articulate our findings in a clear and credible manner.
Business Valuation Services
Our services include the preparation of:
- Business valuation reports
- Intangible asset valuation reports
- Fairness opinions
- Formal Valuations pursuant to Securities Regulation or Policies
- Income calculations for matrimonial matters
- Purchase price allocation reports
- Goodwill impairment testing reports
- Calculations and expert reports in connection with oppression and appraisal remedy actions
- Pricing analyses to support proposed transactions
- Due diligence support
Our Business Valuation team members include experienced Chartered Business Valuators (CBVs), CFA’s, and CPAs. FFP Business Valuators are accredited by the Canadian Institute of Chartered Business Valuators. The CICBV is widely recognized as the preeminent organization of business valuators in Canada.
FFP is unique in that we bring not only our experience and expertise in business valuation, but we combine this expertise with our Financial Loss, Forensic Investigation, and Computer Forensics expertise when needed. For matters that involve business valuation as well as allegations of suspected wrongdoing, a credible and comprehensive approach will require a combination of these disciplines, such as in matrimonial matters, breach of contract cases, intellectual property infringement, oppression cases, and other kinds of disputes.
Whether for taxation matters, litigation, financing or potential acquisition or divestiture, the preparation of a credible and objective business valuation will help ensure a successful outcome. In today’s rapidly changing business environment, the valuation of a business or intangible asset is a complex task that often requires valuation expertise.
Our team of CBV’s prepare valuation reports for various purposes including:
- Shareholder disputes
- Income tax
- Corporate reorganization
- Matrimonial matters
- Securities Regulation
- Management buy-outs
- Employee stock option plans
- Dissent and oppression remedies
- Financial reporting
- Litigation matters
Engaging our qualified CBVs will provide you with an informed analysis and opinion as to value – information critical to making informed business decisions, supporting litigation and assessing settlement or transaction offers.
Level of Assurance
Different circumstances may require different levels of assurance.
FFP experts can assist you in determining the appropriate scope of review for your matter. Our team will tailor a work program that will adapt to changing requirements as the assignment evolves.
Fraud perpetrators will go to great lengths to hide the proceeds they illegally acquired from their victims, often relying on hiding and protecting the assets through third party entities, offshore trusts and/or foundations. Others will do the same in order to protect their assets from being available for things such as the enforcement of a judgment, dispute resolutions (estate, divorce, partnership, etc.), and structured settlements. There are several reasons why an asset search may be necessary including determining whether it is worthwhile to litigate against a person and/or company, and for other pre-and-post litigation reasons. Whatever the reason, asset tracing is a crucial undertaking for resolving contentious situations and/or making decisions with respect to civil litigation matters.
Tracing and recovering assets, especially those concealed through complex webs of individuals, shell companies or businesses and/or hidden offshore, can be a challenging task. FFP investigators have a sound understanding of the legal developments, tactics, tools, and strategies to successfully trace tangible and intangible assets for their clients. Driven by their desire to do what is right for their clients, a global reach, and creative thinking and solutions, FFP investigators will conduct a preliminary value-added asset search. Based on the results of the preliminary research, consideration for the potential legal issues and obstacles that may be present, and consultation with the client and their instructions, FFP investigators may proceed to an exhaustive search in order to gather the evidence to trace and recover assets.
Asset tracing can be complex but when properly executed and monitored will be a strong and value-added pillar of your civil litigation strategy.
The frequency, complexity and scope of class action proceedings in Canada are on the rise. Due to the complex nature of today’s claims, expert accounting opinions in both the pre-and-post certification phases of litigation are common.
In recent years, experts involved in class action litigation have come under increased scrutiny by Counsel and Triers of Fact in relation to their perceived independence and objectivity. The professionals at FFP provide independent, objective and relevant expert accounting opinions and advice. We have been retained on numerous occasions, to assist in various class action subject areas, including:
- Securities litigation involving allegations of secondary market misrepresentations or omissions
- Franchise disputes
- Employment and pension-related claims
- Corporate governance
- Consumer protection and alleged unfair practices
- Alleged tax shelter and charity shams
Our Class Actions team consists of highly qualified and experienced financial investigative and accounting professionals who are established Chartered Professional Accountants, Chartered Accountants, Chartered Business Valuators, Certified Forensic Investigators, Certified Fraud Examiners, Investigative and Forensic Accountants, Certified Public Accountants (in the U.S.) and professionals who are Certified in Financial Forensics (in the U.S.). Our services include:
➢ Expert consultation on financial accounting and investigative issues
➢ Expert evaluation of:
- Alleged material misrepresentations, or omissions, in financial reporting and other publicly-available securities documents
- Accounting practices and internal controls disclosed in publicly-available securities documents
- Whether an entity’s financial statements were prepared in accordance with applicable accounting standards including Canadian Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), U.S. GAAP and International Financial Reporting Standards
- The conduct of auditors of publicly-traded corporations
➢ Quantification of economic losses
➢ Financial statement analyses
➢ Preparing independent and objective expert opinions
➢ Responding to opposing expert reports
➢ Assisting in mediation and other settlement proceedings
➢ Providing expert witness testimony
FFP’s Class Actions team has a strong reputation for independent, thoughtful and objective expertise, and can assist you in navigating through the accounting and financial complexities associated with class action litigation.