TOP CPAS AND FINANCIAL PROFESSIONALS
Morrison, Brown, Argiz & Farra, LLP
An experienced forensic accountant, Marta Alfonso, CPA/CFF, JD, provides litigation support for a wide range of cases. “I enjoy variety,” said Alfonso, a partner in the Litigation Support Department of Morrison, Brown, Argiz & Farra, LLP, Coral Gables. “I do work for law firms, corporations and wealthy individuals, depending on the situation.”
Alfonso has been working in forensic accounting, insolvency and bankruptcy, turnarounds, litigation consulting, and financial management matters since 1983. She has been involved in more than 50 cases as a qualified and trial-tested expert or consultant in various matters. For example, she led a forensic accounting project involving more than $200 million in cash, 25 bank accounts, and 15,000 customers.
“My original career started in auditing, then I became a consultant,” she said. “For the last eight years, my practice has been exclusively litigation support.”
Alfonso’s practice includes internal corporate investigations in civil and criminal cases, tracing assets in marital dissolution matters, and calculating damages in various types of litigation. She also has extensive experience in receiverships and other fiduciary responsibilities, including serving as financial advisor and accountant for Chapter 7 and 11 federal bankruptcies.
“As a receiver or personal representative, I can marshal the assets, provide a full accounting for the court, and disburse the proceeds as directed,” she said. For example, Alfonso served as federal receiver in a multi-million healthcare company fraud with other real estate holdings and recovered $54 million in proceeds for the estate.
Alfonso earned a bachelor of business administration in accounting at the University of Miami, an MBA at Florida International University and her law degree at the University of Miami. She is a member of the American Bankruptcy Institute, Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists, Certified Fraud Examiners, Cuban American Bar Association and other professional organizations.
In the community, Alfonso has been active in the Collaborative Family Law Institute, which offers a non-litigation approach to marital dissolution matters. She also does readings for the blind, recording books and articles for individuals from elementary school to college.
Sabadell United Bank
As executive vice president, Sabadell United Bank in Miami, Dwight L. Hill provides financial advice and assistance to South Florida attorneys and law firms. “We help lawyers prosper,” he said. “We understand that a plaintiff ’s trial lawyer, a criminal defense lawyer and an estate and probate lawyer have very different practices with their own sets of financial and business needs.”
Hill works with startup firms, merging firms and growing firms that need support with their transactions, working capital and longer-term financing. When an attorney leaves an established practice, his team at Sabadell United Bank can provide guidance with business decisions, as well as assistance in bridging the gap before their receivables begin to arrive.
“We are champions of the legal profession in other ways,” added Hill, who has served on Bar grievance committees and lobbied for an increase in state funding for Florida’s court system. “We also support our clients’ pro bono causes and activities, and we try to help them achieve their goals.”
Hill earned his bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Florida in 1978, and has been with Sabadell United Bank, N. A. (formerly Mellon United National Bank) since 1984. He is responsible for business development, strategic planning, and implementation of new services in the South Florida market. He also is a board member of the American Red Cross, CarrFour Supportive Housing, and Florida Bankers Association, as well as a member of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce’s audit committee.
Hill recently spoke to the Cuban American Bar Association on “Commercial Receiverships 101” and to the Florida Justice Association on “Ten Things to Know About Working with Your Bank and Making Your Practice Grow.”
Noting that his father was a lawyer, Hill says he considered becoming an attorney before finding his niche in the financial profession. “I’m glad about my choice, because I’m much better as a banker,” he said. “But my affinity for the law and respect for the profession have played a big part in shaping my career as a financial professional.”
A partner in the Advisory Services division of MarcumRachlin, a division of Marcum LLP, Morris I. Berger brings more than 35 years of experience to every engagement. As a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and Certified Valuation Analyst (CVA) Berger has been called on by courts and engaged by attorneys to perform forensic accounting, financial investigation and valuation services.
He has also conducted investigations in conjunction with the FBI, the IRS, the Department of Treasury and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
A qualified expert witness in numerous federal, state and bankruptcy court cases,Berger has also been appointed to be an Examiner with Expanded Powers in several cases, a Circuit Court Receiver, a Trustee in Bankruptcy as well as a Special Disbursing Agent for a liquidating trust.
“During the course of my career, I have been involved in many cases which have included but were not limited to analyzing shareholder disputes, money laundering, Ponzi schemes and fraudulent conveyance cases. “In recent years, I’ve seen an upturn in criminal defense cases,” he added. “These may involve fraud cases, fraudulent investment Schemes or tracing the flow of assets.”
During his professional career, Berger has been engaged by attorneys and trustees to assist with commercial transactions, represent debtors and creditors in leading bankruptcy cases, structure out-of-court workouts and assist with state court actions involving the assignment of assets for the benefit of creditors.
In addition, Berger has represented trustees in bankruptcies, examiners in bankruptcy cases, assignees in Circuit Court proceedings, receivers in both federal and state court proceedings, secured creditors, parties in fraudulent conveyance actions, plaintiffs and defendants in business damage cases, debtor and unsecured creditor committees in Chapter 11 cases and misappropriation of trust fund matters.
Alan P. Fiske
Fiske & Company
Since establishing Fiske & Company in 1972, managing director Alan P. Fiske has nurtured the Plantation firm’s reputation for expertise in business valuation and litigation consulting services. “We see the legal team as the ‘quarterback’ and our role as the ‘coach,’ offering hands-on advice and assistance throughout the litigation process,” said Fiske. “We frequently leverage our expertise in information technology to streamline the discovery, investigative, and analysis processes, resulting in cost-effective and high quality work products for our clients.”
For example, Fiske & Company successfully rebutted a plaintiff ’s expert’s multimillion-dollar lost revenues claim against a large gasoline station convenience store as a result of a gas leak in a tank manufactured by the defendant. “Our analysis of sales data proved the majority of lost revenues to be attributable to other causes, reducing the claim to under $50,000,” Fiske says.
In a nationwide class action lawsuit on overtime wage calculations, Fiske & Company used advanced data mining techniques to prove that the defendant’s methodology resulted in an understatement of damages exceeding $1 million. In another matter, Fiske used data from the defendant’s database to secure a final judgment in excess of $4 million for a plaintiff in a shareholder’s business dispute.
A Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Fiske holds the Accreditation in Business Valuation (ABV) and Certification in Financial Forensics (CFF) from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and is a member of the National Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. He has been retained on cases involving business damages and valuations, breach of contract disputes, divorces, eminent domain and many other issues.
He has appeared as an expert on valuation and patent infringement and intellectual property matters. He was a guest on CNN’s “For Your Money” show on divorce issues, and has spoken on financial radio talk shows around the country.
Fiske also serves on the Board of Governors of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and is chairman of the audit committee for the American Friends of Hebrew University and a national board member. He is also a board member for the Truman Institute for Peace.
Fiske began his professional career in 1960 after earning his accounting degree at the University of Miami. He worked for a national accounting firm, and then became an Internal Revenue Service agent in Miami. He was also president of Florida International Systems, a software company.
Perez-Abreu, Aguerrebere, Sueiro & Torres PL
As a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and Certified Forensic Accountant, Carlos Perez-Abreu works closely with attorneys and their clients to uncover frauds, trace assets and provide valuation services.
“We combine our audit and investigative knowledge with accounting skills to identify how fraud is perpetrated and to unravel highly complex matters,” said Perez-Abreu, partner and co-founder of Perez-Abreu, Aguerrebere, Sueiro & Torres P.L. Prior to co-founding the Coral Gables accounting firm 11 years ago, Perez-Abreu was a manager in the audit department of a large regional public accounting firm.
“I have been involved in several major cases involving the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC),” said Perez-Abreu. “The firm has also been appointed as the forensic accountant for receiverships in several Ponzi schemes and other frauds.”
Perez-Abreu has also testified in a number of cases involving business valuations and damages. He has traced assets in theft cases and shareholder disputes, and investigated misappropriation of funds from various corporate accounts. In addition, Perez-Abreu has examined the activities of corporate officers to detect hidden or undervalued assets, diverted or unreported income, and inappropriate expense allocations.
“We provide ongoing training in fraud detection to the members of our firm, helping us stay one step ahead of the criminals and their ever-evolving fraud schemes,” he said. “We have participated in state and national litigation and fraud conferences organized by both the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants (FICPA).
Perez-Abreu earned a bachelor’s degree in business and an MBA at the University of Miami. He is active in a number of professional organizations, and currently serves on the AICPA’s Technical Issues Committee as a representative for smaller accounting firms. He is also active in the Cuban‐American CPA’s Association, Inc., serving as president in 2002. Perez-Abreu was also involved in United Way of Miami-Dade County.
“Our firm has extensive experience and resources in providing litigation support,” he said. “Our comprehensive analyses are thoroughly documented and supported by expert witness testimony.”
Raymond J. Zomerfeld
OcarzZ, Gitlin & Zomerfeld, LLP
From complex business valuations to calculating damages and losses, Raymond J. Zomerfeld, , CPA, CVA, understands the complexities of the valuation process. “We do complete valuation work, as well as expert witness testimony,” said Zomerfeld, a founding partner at Ocariz, Gitlin & Zomerfeld, LLP in Coral Gables. “We try to help our clients build a strong position at an early stage of the case, so the other side would prefer to settle rather than going to court.”
Zomerfeld has more than 20 years of experience helping clients in litigation support matters, including insurance claims and economic losses. “Perhaps a manufacturer buys inferior components from a vendor and loses sales as a result,” he said. “We also look at the damages due to the loss of customers for an extended period of time.” He also does complete valuation work for estate planning, gifts and divorce litigation.
As a certified valuation analyst, Zomerfeld is a highly regarded expert on claims involving business litigation, windstorm, fire and economic loss, particularly in the commercial printing industry. In addition to his CPA credentials, Zomerfeld is a former member of the Florida Bar’s grievance committee and the National Association of Certified Valuation Analysts.
A native of Miami, Zomerfeld attended the University of Miami, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1981 and a master’s degree in taxation in 1987. He received his state accreditation as a certified public accountant in 1986 and cofounded Ocariz, Gitlin & Zomerfeld with Hiram Ocariz and Mark Gitlin in 1989.
He currently is chairman of the City of Coral Gables Economic Development Board, whose priorities include strengthening tourism and bringing new tenants to the Miracle Mile business district. He also served on the board of the Riviera Country Club in Coral Gables. As a board member of Doral Championship Charities (formerly known as South Florida Golf Foundation), Zomerfeld helps raise and distribute about $2 million annually to South Florida organizations. “We are looking to expand our charitable role,” he said, “through additional strategic partnerships.”
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