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4.5 An Example
The forensic accounting department of Lafferman Messer and Fuorchette (LMF)
has been hired to examine the recent financial activity of a small Eastern European
firm, Purvanov Imports (PI), with operations in Houston, Texas. PI is involved in
international trade and is suspected of money laundering. In particular, LMF has
been asked to examine invoices in a database received from what are believed to be
front organizations. Thus, PI may be using illegally obtained funds and passing them
on to other firms in what appears to be a legitimate business transaction. As forensic
accounting experts, LMF is skilled in preparing evidence for potential litigation.
The investigation is being conducted by the federal prosecutor, Trini Lopez, in
the Houston district. The chief forensic investigator from LMF is McKayla Chan.
Also, recall that the data we will use in the analysis is that found in Table 4.1.
Lopez and Chan meet in Houston to discuss the investigation and plan their
strategy:
Lopez: Ms. Chan, we need to conduct this investigation quickly. We fear that
LMF may soon know of our investigation to uncover money laundering.
Chan: I understand the need for quick action, but I need access to their financial
statements.
Lopez: That is no problem. I have the statements here on a portable mass storage
device.
Chan: Great. I’ll get started tomorrow morning when I return to my office in
Chicago.
Lopez: I’m afraid that will be too late. We need to have evidence to make an arrest
today. In fact, we need to do so in less than an hour.
Chan: Well, that may be a difficult time limit to satisfy, but if you have the data
and you know the records that you want to examine, we can give it a go. I
did bring my laptop.
After importing the database into Excel from a Word file, Lopez provides Chan
with the specifics of the queries that he is interested in conducting:
1. What is the low-to-high ranking of the $ Amount for the entire quarter.
2. What is the monthly $ Amount total for each account— Office Supply , Printing ,
etc. during the month of February?
3. What is the max, min, and count for $ Amount of each account also in the month
of February?
4. What is the average, max, sum, and count for $ Amount of each Account?
5. We are particularly interested in Projects X and Y. What $ Amount charges to
these projects occurred between 1/1/04 and 1/13/04 and after 3/1/04?
Lopez believes that there are many more issues of interest, but it is sufficient to
begin with these questions. The results of the queries can easily provide sufficient
evidence to obtain an arrest warrant and charge PI with fraud.
We will use all we have learned in this chapter to perform these database manip-
ulations, focusing on the Sort , Filter , and Advanced Filter tools. In the process, we
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