Finding Inspiration in Unlikely Places
Rich Gordon was always fascinated by detective shows on television. He hoped to one day become a police ofﬁcer or an undercover agent. In fact, Rich entered the accounting ﬁeld because it was an FBI-approved major. However, upon graduating—when the realities of undercover life and frequent relocation set in—Rich chose to go down the more traditional accounting path. He joined a mid-size certiﬁed public accounting ﬁrm in downtown Chicago. There, he learned the ropes of audit and tax and dabbled in consulting. He successfully climbed the ranks from staff to partner in a career spanning 21 years.
But he just couldn’t shake the investigative bug.
“I’m passionate about the investigative aspect of forensic accounting,” says Rich. “I’ve always had a knack for interacting with all different kinds of people and adapting to any situation.”
So when Rich and his family decided to make a cross-country move to California’s Central Valley, he took the opportunity to start his own practice and work exclusively in forensic accounting and litigation support. He worked with attorneys, clients and governmental branches in various cities within the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Los Angeles, Marin, Monterey, Orange, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Joaquin and Stanislaus. He gained valuable expertise in all areas of forensics, including family law, ﬁnancial statement and tax fraud, contract disputes, economic damages, bankruptcy fraud and embezzlement cases in which he successfully represented both prosecution and defense.
In 2014, Rich joined Lindquist LLP. The ﬁrm’s partners had been looking for a forensic specialist as part of their strategy to diversify services for new and existing clients. Rich’s talents, background and personality make him an ideal ﬁt for Lindquist, and Rich was eager to gain the resources and support of a larger firm.
Ahead of the Curve
Rich became a Certiﬁed Fraud Examiner (CFE) in 1996, when the Association of Certiﬁed Fraud Examiners had 7,000 members. Today, there are over 70,000 CFEs world-wide.
As Rich says, “Now, it’s one of accounting’s hottest niches.” In addition to being a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and CFE, Rich is Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV), Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF) and is a Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA).
A Unique Approach to Forensics and Investigation
“I’m like a method actor who gets absorbed in his role,” Rich says. “I put myself in the shoes of the players. What’s the embezzler thinking? What kinds of pressure is he under … what makes him tick, what’s driving him? And then I argue against myself. I anticipate the argument the other way and try to make my case as bulletproof as possible.”
Rich says, “Sometimes going to court is unavoidable, but I try to measure my successes by the number of cases that I can keep out of court.”
Rich does not take cases in which he does not believe in the side he represents, only those for which he truly believes he can issue a report or give testimony that can stand up to anything.
According to Rich, “I’d rather take the underdog’s side every time—as long as it’s right. I’d never compromise my integrity or reputation by arguing for something I didn’t believe in.”
Rich is also the main contributor to our Forensic blog. Read more of his Forensic Friday blog posts here.
I try to measure my successes by the number of cases that I can keep out of court.
Though he has earned several designations, Rich’s ofﬁce isn’t plastered with certiﬁcates and degrees—it’s decorated with movie posters and his daughters’ artwork. One of his favorite pieces depicts a stick-ﬁgure version of Rich at his desk, complete with nameplate. He smiles and says, “My daughters love to visit me at work.”
Although his days are spent chauffeuring his girls to the mall and extra-curricular activities, Rich’s FBI spirit lives on. In 2015, Rich was one of only 20 individuals in the San Francisco area selected to participate in the prestigious FBI Citizens Academy. As an alumnus, Rich now serves as a liaison between the FBI and the public. Rich—a former boxer—also hopes to someday take up Krav Maga, the self-defense system used by Israeli Defense Forces.
B.S., Accounting, Eastern Illinois University
Professional Memberships and Activities