Dan Ray, CPA/CFF, CFE
Director in the Litigation and Forensic Consulting Services Group, Hemming Morse, Inc.
Bringing about justice and working with students
I have been an adjunct professor at Golden Gate University for the past three years. A number of other professionals at Hemming Morse, Inc. teach courses relating to forensic accounting services at GGU. These courses are also being utilized to provide the necessary preparation for taking the examination offered by the American Institute for Certified Public Accountants (“AICPA”) for their CFF (Certified in Financial Forensics) credential.
I really enjoy working with students; both high school and college, to tell them about all of the possible careers that are available with an accounting degree. Being a CPA is more than just performing audits and preparing tax returns. I majored in accounting in college with the express goal of becoming a Special Agent with the FBI. While any four-year degree would qualify for applying for a position as a Special Agent, it was made clear that certain degrees or skills (accounting, law, science, and language) would make the very competitive selection process to become a Special Agent a little easier. This and other sage advice was given to me as I was entering college, and helped to shape my career.
As an instructor at GGU, it’s nice to have the opportunity to perhaps make a positive impact on the careers of students. I am one of these rare people that really enjoy what they do for a living, and I hope that is conveyed to students. As an FBI Agent my job was to investigate allegation of violations of federal law, with the goal being to assist in bringing about justice -- punishment to the perpetrator and restitution to the victim. As a forensic accountant concentrating my practice in financial investigations and white collar crimes, the goal is relatively the same.
CPAs in private practice performing forensic accounting services can help remedy the white collar crime problem. Investigations that commence in civil matters often serve as the basis for the initiation of criminal investigations. The evidence obtained by forensic accountants can sometimes be used in the parallel civil and criminal proceedings. In addition, forensic accountants are occasionally retained directly by law enforcement to assist with criminal investigations. As an example, the defendant in my last jury trial was accused of attempted murder and murder. My work as a forensic accountant, on behalf of the Modesto District Attorney’s Office, provided the financial motivation for the crime. The defendant was convicted on all counts.
In my office I have poster that I first received when I was an FBI Agent. It is an arrest photo of Al Capone that says “Only an accountant could catch Al Capone.” This highlights for me the importance of financial investigations in both criminal and civil matters.