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CPA and forensic accountant Chris Davis doesn’t leap over buildings in a single bound, but she is a modern-day corporate crime fighter. She gathers evidence that explains why audits failed and how corporations ignored the accounting rules––
conditions that usually result in massive investor losses.
Her more than two years of forensic investigation helped settle a widely publicized case involving Sunbeam Corp. and its auditors, in which the allegations included violations of federal securities laws and professional gross negligence.
Davis, who has testified as an expert witness, is a director in the litigation consulting and forensic accounting group of Hemming Morse, a San Francisco-based CPA firm with several offices in California.
“It’s investigative work, retracing what happened and what went wrong, and communicating our findings to the trier of fact,” she says. “I like it because we constantly refer to the standards of the accounting profession. I’m able to keep in touch with what I should know.”
It is only fitting that one of Davis’ heroes is Sherron Watkins, the Enron executive and former outside auditor who blew the whistle on the energy trading company after she discovered financial irregularities.
“She was very brave and stood up for what she believed and what she thought was right against very powerful individuals,” Davis says.
Davis is the mother of two teen-aged daughters, one an elite tennis player who trains six hours a day and plans to turn pro, the other, a talented artist. Her husband is the tennis player’s full-time coach and trainer.
Born in the Philippines, Davis came to live in the United States after high school with her mother and younger brother, who is also an accountant.
If Davis were a superhero, she says she would be Buffy the Vampire Slayer: “She appears small and apparently harmless, but turns out to have very strong convictions and amazing strength—always saves the day. She is a modern-day superhero.”
Takes one to know one.
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