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Basics of Accounting for Lawyers 2021

Speaker(s): Adam M. Harris, Andrea C. Fox, Anthony R. Milazzo, Clara Chin, David Oliwenstein, Jimmy Fokas, John L. Scott, Lisa M. Collura, Martin Wilczynski, Mary R. Duffy, Osman E. Nawaz, Philip B. Wright, Richard J. Bernard, Robert J. Malionek, Tara A. Mulkeen
Recorded on: May. 12, 2021
PLI Program #: 306451

Clara Chin is a Managing Director in the Forensic & Litigation Consulting segment and is based in New York. Ms. Chin has more than 15 years of experience in providing consulting services related to solvency, fraudulent conveyances, breach of contract, due diligence review of fund managers, accountant malpractice, audit assistance, fraudulent financial reporting, regulatory investigations and other litigation matters.

Ms. Chin’s litigation consulting assignments have included solvency analysis, piercing the corporate veil, recalculation of management fees, operational due diligence of fund managers, audit malpractice, bankruptcy litigation, post-acquisition disputes and breach of contract claims.

Ms. Chin’s financial investigative assignments have included fraudulent accounting investigations, embezzlement of corporate funds and government subsidy payments, fraudulent trade allocations, and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations.

Ms. Chin has exposure to a range of industries including financial services, banking, investment management, financial derivatives (including CLO and CDO), consumer products, retail, aerospace, healthcare and energy.

Prior to joining FTI, Ms. Chin was a Senior Associate in PwC’s Assurance practice in New York. During her PwC career in audit, Ms. Chin supported audit engagements of investment management companies with securities pricing and portfolio valuations. In addition, Ms. Chin has experience as an Associate in PwC’s International Tax practice in New York.

Ms. Chin holds a B.A. in economics from Barnard College and a M.S. in accounting from Queens College. She is a Certified Public Accountant in Maine and a Certified Fraud Examiner. She is a member of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners.

Adam M. Harris is a partner in Ropes & Gray’s Litigation and Enforcement practice group, where he litigates complex, high-profile disputes before trial and appellate courts and arbitration forums nationwide.

Adam regularly defends public companies, officers, directors, and underwriters in securities class action cases. In addition, Adam is frequently called upon in corporate governance and control disputes, as well as complex commercial and transactional cases, including matters involving contracts, mergers and acquisitions, allegations of fraud and other business torts, and restructuring.   

Adam’s clients include Fortune 500 companies, private equity firms and their portfolio companies, investment banks, asset managers, and prominent individuals.

Andrea C. Fox has worked in the SEC’s Division of Enforcement since 2016 as an Assistant Chief Accountant.  She previously spent fourteen years working at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP both in the audit practice and more recently as a Director in the Forensic Services Advisory practice.  Ms. Fox has spent her career investigating allegations of accounting and disclosure improprieties on topics that include revenue recognition, contingent liabilities, capitalization of expenses, classification of variable interest entities, stock-based compensation, misappropriation of assets, and key performance indicators.  Ms. Fox is a Certified Public Accountant, a Certified Fraud Examiner, is Certified in Financial Forensics, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Boston College.

David Oliwenstein draws on his experience at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and in private practice to advise clients on complex investigations, securities litigation, and regulatory matters.

David offers a unique perspective gained from his experience at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. During his five years in the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, including as a Senior Counsel in the Market Abuse Unit, David conducted all aspects of investigations regarding potential violations of the federal securities laws including insider trading, cyber matters, accounting misconduct, market manipulation, algorithmic trading cases, disclosure issues, broker-dealer violations, and offering frauds.

Representative Experience

  • Represent public companies, broker-dealers, investment advisers, other entities, and individuals in government investigations regarding insider trading, digital currency matters, accounting issues, and other securities and regulatory matters. 
  • As Senior Counsel in the SEC’s Enforcement Division, investigated sophisticated insider trading schemes, complex market manipulation cases and market structure violations , and litigated accounting cases, insider trading actions, and broker-dealer cases in federal district court and SEC administrative proceedings.
  • Extensive experience collaborating with federal and state criminal and regulatory authorities including DOJ, FBI, DHS, CFTC, the New York Attorney General’s Office, and FINRA.

Professional Highlights

  • Received Directors’ Awards from co-Directors of SEC Enforcement Division (2017 and 2018)
  • Frequent contributor to a variety of publications on topics involving SEC enforcement, white collar defense, and regulatory issues
  • Finalist for the Chairman’s Award for Serving the Interests of Main Street Investors (2019)
  • Federal Bar Council (Secretary of the Public Service Committee, 2012—2014; Program Coordinator, Annual Trial Advocacy Training for Pro Bono Counsel, 2014; Co-chair, Annual Judges Reception, 2014)


New York

Jimmy Fokas practices in the areas of securities litigation, regulatory enforcement, white collar defense and corporate investigations. Jimmy is a co-leader of the firm’s Financial Investigations, Restatement and Accounting team. His practice includes representation of public and private companies and regulated entities, including their officers, directors and employees, before the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Department of Justice (DOJ), New York Office of the Attorney General and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in investigations and enforcement proceedings concerning a variety of securities law issues, including insider trading and accounting and offering fraud. He also counsels broker-dealers and others with respect to compliance issues, including the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). Jimmy has conducted internal investigations of public companies involving accounting and financial reporting issues and compliance with the Controlled Substances Act, and has represented individuals in criminal investigations concerning tax and healthcare fraud.

Prior to joining the firm, Jimmy served as senior counsel in the Division of Enforcement in the New York regional office of the SEC, where he conducted investigations of securities law violations, including allegations of accounting and offering fraud and fraudulent trading practices. Due to his developed understanding of the operations of these government agencies, Jimmy helps his clients navigate complex fact patterns and the intricacies of government investigations in order to deliver favorable outcomes while minimizing reputational and financial risks.

Prior Position

  •  U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, New York Regional Office, Division of Enforcement: Senior Counsel


  • J.D., St. John’s University School of Law, 2000, cum laude
  • B.A., State University of New York at Albany, 1997, magna cum laude

John L. Scott is a Director in Capital One’s Commercial Bank Legal Department and helps manage the Commercial Bank’s litigation portfolio.  John is based in New York and has almost 20 years of experience advising corporate clients and financial institutions in a broad range of litigation-related matters. 

Prior to joining Capital One in January 2020, John was a partner in the Financial Industries Group of a major global law firm where he was based in New York.   His practice focused on representing hedge funds, banks and other financial institutions in fraud, breach of fiduciary duty and breach of contract cases around the country.  John also represented court-appointed receivers and liquidators in insolvency related matters, including in two high profile cases involving accounting malpractice claims.  During much of his time at the firm, John was head of the New York office’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee.

John received a B.A. in Political Science and African American Studies from Columbia University and a J.D. from Fordham Law School.   

Lisa M. Collura is a Senior Managing Director at FTI Consulting and is based in New York. Ms. Collura has over 25 years of experience in accounting, auditing and litigation consulting services, including forensic accounting and fraud investigations. Ms. Collura specializes in providing complex forensic accounting and financial fraud investigative services in connection with SEC investigations and internal investigations on behalf of Trustees, Boards of Directors, Audit Committees and creditors of both public and private companies. She also has experience in matters involving technical accounting and auditing issues, accounting malpractice and bankruptcy-related litigation.

Among her areas of professional expertise, Ms. Collura manages and directs large-scale financial fraud investigations. Ms. Collura’s forensic accounting and financial investigation engagements include fact-finding and examinations into matters involving alleged Ponzi schemes, fraudulent financial reporting and the misapplication of GAAP. Her engagements have also involved tracing significant flows of funds among accounts and related entities and conducting internal investigations on behalf of Audit Committees in connection with restatements of financial results.

Ms. Collura has assisted in the investigation of several of the largest fraud cases in the United States. She is currently managing a team of FTI Consulting professionals providing investigative services and litigation support to the court-appointed trustee for the liquidation of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities and his counsel. In addition, Ms. Collura led the investigation into the facts surrounding the fraudulent activities at Refco and testified as a witness in the United States District Court in the Southern District of New York in connection with the investigation.

Ms. Collura has also assisted in writing expert reports and preparing for depositions for cases involving accounting and auditing malpractice. One of her notable cases included a multi-billion-dollar accounting malpractice case filed by a lender against one of the major accounting firms.

Prior to joining FTI Consulting in 2001, Ms. Collura was the Assistant Corporate Controller for an information technology services company in Denver, Colorado. Ms. Collura was responsible for SEC reporting requirements and all internal financial reporting. She conducted due diligence procedures and managed the subsequent accounting for several company acquisitions and acted as the direct liaison with the outside auditors. Ms. Collura began her career as a Senior Auditor for Deloitte & Touche, where she audited one of the largest publicly traded steel manufacturing companies in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Ms. Collura holds a B.S. in business administration from John Carroll University. She is a Certified Public Accountant, a Certified Fraud Examiner, and is Certified in Financial Forensics. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants and the Association of Fraud Examiners. Ms. Collura is a recurring panel member for accounting programs offered by the Practising Law Institute in New York and has been a frequent guest lecturer at Fordham University.

Martin Wilczynski is a Senior Managing Director at Ankura based in Washington, DC.  Martin has 35 years of professional experience in accounting, internal, and forensic investigations.  In addition to his nearly 20 years of consulting experience, Martin’s background includes 10 years of auditing experience at an international accounting firm and six years on the staff of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, where he served for five years within the enforcement division.

At Ankura, Martin collaborates with his team to provide a range of investigation, forensic accounting, technical advisory, and regulatory services to clients.

Prior to joining Ankura, Martin served as the leader of the forensic accounting practice at FTI Consulting. In addition, Martin was a shareholder at Ten Eyck Associates, a boutique forensic accounting and SEC enforcement consulting firm.  Since leaving the SEC in 1998, Martin has focused his consulting practice on SEC enforcement proceedings, internal and forensic investigations, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and anti-corruption reviews, litigation support, financial reporting, and revenue recognition issues.  He has worked with outside counsel in representing boards and special committees in a number of complex, fact-finding accounting investigations involving financial restatements, whistleblower allegations, and SEC enforcement and reporting issues.   

Martin frequently assists counsel in translating and communicating the results of those investigations to the SEC staff and other regulators.

Among other high-profile engagements, while at FTI, Martin served for more than seven years as co-leader of the consulting team providing investigative and litigation support to the trustee and his counsel on the landmark Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities SIPA liquidation.

While he was at the SEC, Martin was responsible for numerous financial and accounting investigations, including the critical evaluation of investigatory evidence used in making recommendations to the commission.  In addition, he has expertise with respect to actions brought against accounting and auditing professionals pursuant to Rule 102(e) of the Commission’s Rules of Practice.  In 1997, Martin was awarded the SEC’s   awarded the SEC’s Sydney C. Orbach Award in recognition of significant accounting contributions to the commission’s full disclosure program and to the protection of investors.

Mary Duffy is a Managing Director in Andersen’s US National Tax office and is the co-leader of Andersen’s accounting methods team. Mary also advises clients on tax policy and legislative matters and is a frequent speaker for Tax Executive Institute, BNA seminars, Andersen’s Family Office Roundtables and other events. 

Mary’s experience includes advising clients on complex tax accounting methods issues. Mary has years of experience practicing before IRS National Office handling accounting method change and ruling requests.  Mary works with businesses of all sizes and structures, including managing accounting methods implementation projects, advising on issues arising in IRS examinations, and consulting on the financial statement implications of such issues under Accounting Standards Codification 740.

Immediately prior to joining Andersen, Mary served as one of two Legislation Tax Accountants with the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) from 2011 to 2013. While with the JCT, Mary worked with key tax personnel within Congress on the development and drafting of tax legislation as well as various tax reform proposals. Mary also assisted in the review of large taxpayer refund claims submitted by the Internal Revenue Service for JCT review.

Prior to joining the JCT, Mary was part of Deloitte's National Federal Tax Solutions tax practice and specialized in tax methods of accounting. Mary began her career at Arthur Andersen in Chicago.  Mary graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a bachelor’s degree in Accounting.  Mary has a master’s degree from Northwestern University and recently completed a Master in Legal Studies in Taxation at the University of San Francisco.  She is licensed to practice as a certified public accountant. 


Osman E. Nawaz is an Assistant Regional Director for the Division of Enforcement in the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s New York Regional Office. Mr. Nawaz leads teams of lawyers and industry experts as part of the SEC’s Complex Financial Instruments Unit. His cases focus on complex and emerging issues, as well as the structuring, sale, trading, and valuation of complex products. Prior to becoming an Assistant Director, Mr. Nawaz served as Senior Counsel in Enforcement, where he worked on matters concerning all aspects of the federal securities laws and involving financial institutions, public companies, investment advisers, and broker-dealers, among others. Before joining the SEC in 2010, Mr. Nawaz practiced law at Morrison & Foerster LLP from 2005 to 2010 where his practice involved commercial litigation and white collar work. He is an honors graduate of Baylor University and Denver University Law School.

Philip B. Wright is a Partner in the law firm of Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP and member of the Tax Advice and Controversy Client Practice Group.  His practice is concentrated primarily on advising clients in respect of the domestic and international tax aspects of inbound and outbound investment including acquisition structuring and related financing in all industries.  He regularly advises clients regarding the federal income tax aspects of the formation and operation of business entities.  In addition, he advises clients in controversy matters with the Internal Revenue Service principally regarding issue involved in corporate acquisitions and divestitures.

Phil received his B.A. degree in Accounting from the University of Missouri, magna cum laude (1979), J.D. degree from Georgetown University, cum laude (1982), and his LL.M. from New York University (1985).  He serves as an adjunct professor in the School of Accountancy Master's program at the University of Missouri – Columbia where he has taught Partnership Taxation and Mergers and Acquisitions Taxation.  He has served as an adjunct professor in the Masters Tax Program at Washington University School of Law.  He frequently writes and speaks on tax issues involved in cross border merger and acquisitions.  His prior professional experience includes practice as a tax specialist and CPA with a Big Four accounting firm.

Phil is a member of the Tax Section of the American Bar Association and New York State Bar Association. Phil also serves as a Member of Bloomberg BNA's Corporate Taxation Advisory Board.  He is a Fellow of the American College of Tax Counsel and is listed in The Best Lawyers In America.  He is admitted to practice in Missouri, New York and the District of Columbia.


Richard J. Bernard is a partner in Faegre Drinker’s global finance and restructuring practice, comprising more than 100 professionals who advise clients across diverse industries on matters from financial transactions, to corporate debt restructurings, to bankruptcy and litigation.

Richard counsels clients in the areas of corporate and financial restructuring, business solutions, bankruptcy litigation, secured transactions, corporate governance, mergers and acquisitions, and debtors’ and creditors’ rights.

Richard represents debtors, official and ad hoc committees, and other constituencies in large-asset bankruptcies, out-of-court workouts and adversary proceedings. His experience spans numerous industries, including energy, mining, aviation, retail, manufacturing, telecommunications, financial services, heavy industry, real estate and hospitality.

Richard is a past-president of the New York City chapter and a former member of the Global Board of the Turnaround Management Association. He clerked for the Honorable Robert A. Mark, United States Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of Florida. Richard earned his bachelor’s degree from Columbia College, Columbia University and his Juris Doctor, cum laude, from the University of Miami School of Law.

Robert J. Malionek, a partner in the Complex Commercial Litigation and Securities Litigation & Professional Liability Practices, brings more than two decades of experience and insight to clients navigating financial litigation, creditors’ rights, bankruptcy, securities fraud, and professional liability matters.

Mr. Malionek largely focuses his practice on complex financial and deal-related litigation for financial institutions, creditors, and lender groups. He represents issuers, underwriters, and accounting and law firms in matters involving securities litigation, financial reporting obligations, financial fraud, and other professional liability issues, as well as both debtor-side and creditor-side insolvency litigation. Mr. Malionek has represented clients in several bench and jury trials in state and federal courts across the country, and has handled arbitrations and appeals in a variety of areas. He also counsels clients and the firm on issues of ethics, privilege, and professional responsibility.

Mr. Malionek advises clients on:

  • Accountants’ and professional liability matters
  • Financial fraud claims
  • Fraudulent transfer claims
  • Insolvency and restructuring-related litigation
  • Internal investigations
  • Lender liability and credit disputes
  • Securities class actions
  • Trade secret disputes

Mr. Malionek is a longtime member of the firm’s Ethics Committee and serves on the Ethics and Professional Responsibility Committees of the New York County Lawyers’ Association and New York City Bar.

Mr. Malionek has led dozens of presentations and written more than 50 articles on issues of securities litigation, financial disputes, and bankruptcy and workout litigation, as well as attorney-client privilege and ethics, for publications such as the New York Law Journal, The Lawyer, Harvard Law School Forum, and Compliance Week.

Prior to joining Latham, Mr. Malionek served as a clerk to Judge Ruggero J. Aldisert on the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Mr. Malionek’s experience includes representing:

  • All Big 4 accounting firms in class actions and arbitrations, including one firm in hundreds of tax shelter matters, some through binding arbitration
  • Ernst & Young in securing Daubert and summary judgment victories, and Tenth Circuit affirmance, in a Private Securities Litigation Reform Act (PSLRA) class action arising out of a US$3 billion impairment by Williams Communications Group
  • Financial institutions in disputes with borrowers, and in securities regulatory and internal investigations
  • Law firms in malpractice claims as well as aiding and abetting fraudulent activity by clients
  • The Special Committee of Feedzai Inc. in an accounting-related internal investigation
  • SIFMA in response to a comment letter regarding FASB ASC regulations

Tara A. Mulkeen is a Senior Managing Director at FTI Consulting and is based in New York. Ms. Mulkeen specializes in leading large-scale accounting investigations and post-acquisition disputes.

Ms. Mulkeen’s forensic accounting experience includes directing financial consulting services engagements, Audit Committee investigations and whistle blower investigations for clients involved in various types of fraud and forensic accounting matters. She has successfully assisted corporations in responding to SEC inquiries, investigating accounting issues and completing financial statement restatements. Ms. Mulkeen has extensive experience advising audit committee members and legal counsel, conducting investigative interviews and preparing expert reports.

Ms. Mulkeen has advised on contract dispute matters involving financial accounting and reporting issues (potential violations of GAAP) and related auditing issues (potential violations of GAAS). Ms. Mulkeen’s litigation and dispute advisory services experience includes assisting domestic and international clients in commercial disputes involving corporate transactions, working capital adjustments, post-closing balance sheet adjustments and earn out calculations. She has extensive experience with damages analyses, including drafting expert reports and participating in arbitration proceedings.

Prior to joining FTI Consulting, Ms. Mulkeen worked as a Senior Manager in Ernst & Young’s Fraud Investigation & Dispute Services practice performing financial accounting and forensic investigations and litigation support. Ms. Mulkeen began her career as an Auditor in Ernst & Young’s Assurance and Advisory Business Services practice conducting financial statement audits.

Ms. Mulkeen earned a M.S. and B.S. in accounting from Wake Forest University. She is a Certified Public Accountant in the states of New York and North Carolina. Ms. Mulkeen is also Certified in Financial Forensics and is a Certified Fraud Examiner. Ms. Mulkeen is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants; the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants; and the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners.


Anthony R. Milazzo is a Senior Managing Director at Ankura with over 24 years of experience in auditing, corporate finance, and forensic accounting. He leads forensic accounting engagements including internal investigations, disputes, and general accounting advisory matters. Anthony manages teams on accounting investigations that include unraveling complex accounting transactions, advising legal counsel, and presenting findings to various third parties. He provides forensic accounting litigation support including accounting research, expert reports, testimony, and advisory services and technical accounting advice on a variety of GAAP, GAAS, and SEC matters, including restatement projects, drafting technical accounting white papers, and coordinating with management, directors, audit firms, counsel, and government authorities. He is based in New York.