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The September 1997 American Bar Association Journal described him as an "accounting gumshoe"; in prior articles, two national news services have called him an "accounting bulldog" and "ace forensic accountant." Currently serving as a chapter 11 examiner in the District of Columbia, long-time ABI member Frederick W. Smolen is a CPA who, over the years, has worked on uncommon complex financial investigations and acquired a reputation for doing so. Earlier this year these efforts included work in pulling together the business and financial affairs of Harold J. Nicholson, the high-level CIA employee who also served as a Russian double agent, as well as a nearly two-year stint as Chief Forensic Accountant in the Office of Independent Counsel, in re Secretary of Agriculture Espy, where his efforts in the trial of Sun-Diamond Growers of California, the largest fruit and nut cooperative in the United States, helped achieve a corporate conviction on matters involving illegal gratuity payments and corporate governance.

Mr. Smolen, who has now rejoined the Washington-based consulting organization of Financial Investigations & Services Inc., previously had been employed by a "Big 6" CPA firm and the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) during its heyday of investigations into illegal overseas payments and financial fraud. Since leaving the SEC, Mr. Smolen's work has been both civil and criminal dealing, in part, with valuation and environmental matters, failing businesses and bankruptcies. The better-known of these have included Landbank Equity Corporation; Freedlander Financial Services, called Virginia's longest paper trail and one of its largest bankruptcies; CenTrust Savings Bank, the second-largest bank failure in the country; and T.R. Network Inc. a massive Southwestern ponzi scheme.

Mr. Smolen uses his education, experience and business acumen to simplify the complex. He says, "It's an approach born out of necessity" that includes using "logic trees," "decision matrices," "event sequencing" and "project management" techniques to identify and define issues, run resources cost-effectively and simplify the complex. Although his recent work at the Office of Independent Counsel restricted his involvement with the professional community, previous programs before the Bar and CPA societies include: Time, Cost & Resource Management for Reporting by Public Companies During and After Bankruptcy Proceedings; Managing the Complex Litigation: Some Practical Approaches; When Does Your Client Need a Fraud Audit; Bankruptcy: Practical Aspects & Tax Consequences; Contemporary Strategies, Problems & Pitfalls on CPA Engagements; Accounting & Finance for Non-CPAs; and Financial Institution Fraud & Embezzlement. Other professional activities encompass various offices and committee work with the Greater Washington Society of CPAs. Mr. Smolen earned his graduate degree from New York University's Stern School of Business and an undergraduate degree from Pace University.

Journal Date: 
Monday, December 1, 1997

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