Nature of Case: Misuse of Client Funds
Location: Collier County, FL
Investigated by: Collier County Sheriff’s Office, Economic Crimes Section.
Problem: An investor, who lives in Hong Kong, purchased properties in Naples, FL and retained a Naples accountant to manage the financial transactions and send him the profits monthly. The monthly payments became erratic and then stopped coming.
Solution: Using Excelerate Technology’s Financial Investigation Toolkit and Financial Analysis Toolbar, the Collier County Sheriff’s Office was able to trace the flow of funds and uncover the fraud.
Typical Flow of Funds
Fund Flow Discovered by Excelerate
The victim, Michael, owns two residential rental properties in Naples, FL. Michael lives in China, so he contracted with a local accounting firm, Rush Accounting and Tax LLC, to manage the financial transactions for the properties. Rush’s responsibilities included collecting rent, paying expenses, and wiring the net profit to Michael’s HSBC account. All US transactions were supposed to go through a Capital Bank account, which was set up by Michael. Rush had full control over all financial transactions and was the single signer on the Capital account.
Several months went by without Michael receiving any payments. He contacted a Naples attorney who forwarded the case to CCSO’s Economic Crimes Section. The lead investigator, Sgt. Steve Macera, using Altia’s Toolkit and Toolbar, discovered suspicious checks (lots of zeros) going from the Capital Bank account to Wells Fargo accounts. He subpoenaed the Wells Fargo accounts and found four of them, two in the name of Rush Accounting and two in the owner’s name, Robert Rush. Sgt. Macera used our Toolkit and Toolbar to analyze the Wells Fargo accounts and found payments from these accounts were made to Cindy Rush, Robert’s wife, and used for day-today living expenses from November 2015 to May 2017. (It was undetermined if Cindy Rush had knowledge of the scheme to defraud.)
The Conclusion: Using the reports generated by Altia’s software, Sgt. Macera was able to demonstrate there was, indeed, misuse of client funds of over $59,000. Robert Rush passed away prior to issuing a warrant request. However, there was ample evidence to support the submission of an arrest warrant application.