On Law and Order and other TV crime shows, most of the action is focused on DNA and high tech evidence procedures. Of course, real law enforcement professionals know that you don't get DNA results back in 20 minutes, and some crimes, like fraud and embezzlement are often difficult to prove.
That's where forensic accounting often plays a critical role. While the professionals who help law enforcement or small businesses don't often get the fame, theirs is hard work, nevertheless. After all, it's quite similar to the most tedious part of write-up work: Digging through thousands of transactions looking for irregularities, going back over potentially years' of bank account data, and other tasks.
But sometimes they do get a little bit of the limelight. Six forensic accounting students from Central Michigan University were recently praised by state police for helping them get a conviction in an embezzlement case.
The students started working the cases when Michigan State Police investigators, led by Lt. Jerry Carter, asked their professor Tom Weirich for assistance. After scrutinizing the books from a local Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), they were able to provide evidence that the police were then able to use to get a get a guilty plea from the suspect.
Carter said that police likely wouldn't have been able to get the plea without the work done by the students.
I can imagine the what the convicted felon, who was sentenced to up to five years in prison, probably thought (a la Scooby Doo): "I would have gotten away with it, if it hadn't been for those meddling kids."