Southern California

Take your skills to the next level with a diverse community of Fincrime professionals

Southern California

Take your skills to the next level with a diverse community of Fincrime professionals

Our chapter promotes ACFCS as a platform for collaboration between public and private financial crime industry specialists to facilitate better compliance, investigations, and enforcement. By hosting educational programs and a wide range of events of local interest, featuring speakers from private-sector and financial regulatory enforcement agencies, our chapter offers unique career development and professional networking opportunities to our members in the Southern California area.

OUR MISSION

The mission of the ACFCS Southern California Chapter is to increase access to practical tools, knowledge, and emerging trends to help industry professionals detect and prevent financial crime.
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Katya Gozias

Chair

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Katya Gozias (Chair) is a Managing Director at FTI Consulting. She manages complex investigative, business intelligence and risk mitigation consulting assignments undertaken globally and domestically.

Ms. Gozias has served as an advisor and problem solver to senior executives of multinational corporations and law firms for nearly 15 years, overseeing clients’ most complex and sensitive problems around the globe involving integrity and reputational risks. Ms. Gozias is an expert at blending desktop-based public records, database, and social media research with extensive field work and interviewing techniques. She has managed a wide array of cases ranging from product tampering to internal fraud investigations and has also conducted complex multi-jurisdictional asset searches and investigations on the Dark Web.

As a compliance professional she has helped craft, review, improve and implement Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) compliance programs as well as conducted AML reviews for money service businesses, payment processors, credit unions, and insurance companies.

Ms. Gozias has an advanced anti-money laundering specialist certification (CAMS-Audit) and is a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE). She is also trained in the Advanced Course of the Reid Technique of Interviewing and Interrogation. She currently serves as president of the Los Angeles Chapter of the ACFE (Association of Certified Fraud Examiners). She also assisted in crafting questions for and beta testing the CFCS certification exam.

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Kathy Bazoian Phelps

Programming Director

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Kathy Bazoian Phelps (Programming Director) has been a lawyer since 1991 and is currently a partner at Raines Feldman LLP in the Los Angeles office. In addition to individually serving as a fiduciary in certain matters, Kathy practices in the area of insolvency law, fiduciary representation, and fraud litigation, where she represents federal equity and state court receivers and bankruptcy trustees. Kathy frequently serves as special litigation counsel for fiduciaries and interested parties in fraud-related litigation, cases arising out of receivership and bankruptcy as well as parallel criminal and civil forfeiture proceedings. She is particularly knowledgeable about the administration of Ponzi scheme cases and has extensive litigation experience in claims arising in these types of cases.

Kathy has lectured widely and written on bankruptcy and receivership matters, with a focus on Ponzi schemes. Her book entitled The Ponzi Book: A Legal Resource for Unraveling Ponzi Schemes, co-authored with Hon. Steven Rhodes, has garnered national and international attention as the authoritative work on Ponzi scheme law. In addition to her roles as lawyer, speaker and author, Kathy also serves as a mediator and is currently on the mediation and arbitration rosters for the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, as well as the Bankruptcy Mediation Panel for the Central District of California and the Bankruptcy Mediation Panel for the District of Arizona.

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Michael Buffardi

Programming Director

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Michael Buffardi (Programming Director) is a Managing Director at FTI Consulting, Inc. In his role, Michael assists financial institutions with compliance best practices, developing and assessing policies and procedures, and assisting financial institutions with remediation efforts, with a concentration in securities regulations and Bank Secrecy Act/anti-money laundering (“BSA/AML”).

Before taking on his role at FTI Consulting, Inc., Michael worked as a senior attorney at the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) in the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (“OCIE”) and the Office of Enforcement. In those positions, he conducted both examinations and formal investigations of SEC registrants in various areas, including BSA/AML and Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) sanctions, supervisory controls and sales practices, microcap/penny stock trading analysis, pump-and-dump schemes, and insider trading. His enforcement investigations resulted in some of the highest AML civil money penalties imposed by the SEC.

Prior to joining the SEC, Michael worked at the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) as both a special advisor in the Regulatory Policy and Programs Division and as the bureau’s liaison between the Undersecretary of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence and two FinCEN Directors. He was also the bureau’s liaison to the Law Enforcement and Non-Bank Financial Institutions Subcommittees of the Bank Secrecy Act Advisory Group (“BSAAG”). While at FinCEN, he drafted advisories on emerging threats to financial institutions, multiple BSA regulations, and BSA/AML interpretive guidance. He also assisted a variety of financial institutions, including depository institutions, money services businesses, casinos and card clubs, and securities/futures firms, with BSA/AML compliance and regulatory interpretations.

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Lieut. Stephan Margolis (Ret.)

Event Coordinator

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Lieutenant Stephan Margolis (Event Coordinator) has worked for over 40 years on a broad spectrum of law enforcement issues. Over the last decade his assignment was the Officer-in-Charge of Transnational Organized Crime, Major Crimes Division of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). In this role he partnered with federal and international agencies to investigate and prosecute global criminal enterprises.

Stephan has also managed the Anti-Terrorism Intelligence Section, Gang Intervention Team (gang and narcotics), Divisional Detectives, Patrol, and Mobile Field Forces. As an officer, detective, and sergeant, he has worked patrol, detectives, homicide, crime analysis, and several other specialized units. Over his career, Stephan co-developed five pilot programs that were recognized as “best practices” and instituted in LAPD.

Since 1985, Stephan has worked in National Security as a federal contractor developing and teaching responses to international terrorism. He has worked over a decade as a principal Subject Matter Expert and trainer for DOE’s Senior Energy Officials responding to radiological/nuclear crises. Lieutenant Margolis developed (for the National Nuclear Security Administration) the Crisis Decision Making (CDM) model to manage critical incidents.

As a California state POST certified Master Instructor, Lieutenant Margolis co-developed and delivered a wide spectrum of training for local, state, and federal law enforcement. He has held a previous appointment as adjunct faculty for California State University, Dominguez Hills, where he taught courses on Systems Theory, Scientific Methodology, and Contemporary Political Issues in the United States.

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Sal Randazzo

Event Coordinator

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Sal Randazzo (Event Coordinator) was appointed as the Deputy Inspector General, Investigations in May 2019 for the Los Angeles Unified School District’s (LAUSD), Office of the Inspector General. He leads a team responsible for investigating allegations of improper or illegal activities by LAUSD employees, contractors or other entities doing business with the LAUSD. His team’s workload consists of proactive projects and investigations designed to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse.

Before taking on his role at the LAUSD, Sal Randazzo had a twenty-eight-year career in the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), most of which was spent here in the Los Angeles area. He held several roles within the FBI, to include Supervisor of the Los Angeles Filed Offices’ Civil Rights squad, and the Assistant Special Agent in Charge over the White-Collar Crime programs.

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E.J. Hilbert

Membership Director

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E.J. Hilbert (Membership Director) is the President of KCECyber. E.J. has over 25 years of experience in the Security, Privacy, Risk Mitigation and Compliance fields. E.J.’s primary expertise is in helping clients establish a practical and effective Cyber Security and Privacy strategy and executing on that plan.

Prior to starting KCECyber, E.J. has held executive roles in Cyber Security and Privacy at CNM, GDBA, PriceWaterhouse Coopers, Kroll (US and Europe) and MySpace. During which he has served as Practice Leader, Consultant, Educator and CISO for employers and clients.

E.J. also served as an FBI Special Agent addressing White Collar Crime, Cybercrime, Counterintelligence and Counterterrorism. He spent 4 years undercover; two years working against Eastern European hackers and two infiltrating Al Qaeda online.

E.J. began his professional career as a High School teacher and has also worked as a sandwich maker, bricklayer, tuxedo salesman, limo driver, pizza cook and janitor. E.J. has a degree in History from the University of San Diego. Has undergone advanced training in cyber security, privacy, fraud, investigations, and interrogations. E.J. has received numerous awards including 3 FBI Distinguished Service awards and 2 US. Attorney Awards. He has also been cited by various news and media outlets to include- MSNBC, Rolling Stone, CNN, BBC, Wired, and the WSJ.

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Michael Spindler

Membership Director

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Michael Spindler (Membership Director) is a CPA and Certified Fraud Examiner who brings approximately 40 years of experience to complex disputes including matters related to forensic accounting and business fraud investigations across a wide range of industries. He has provided expert testimony on dozens of occasions in bench trials, jury trials and arbitration proceedings. He has provided Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigations and training services in various countries around the world, including China, Russia, India and Saudi Arabia. Having conducted numerous high-profile investigations of public company financial statement fraud and other matters, Mr. Spindler has presented his findings to special committees and various government agencies on behalf of clients, including the Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service and the Office of Thrift Supervision.

Michael’s clients include law firms, corporations, individuals, government agencies and non-profit organizations.

Prior to joining GlassRatner (now doing business as B. Riley Advisory Services), Michael held senior leadership positions with several forensic accounting firms and was a Partner at two national public accounting firms. An experienced public speaker, Michael has authored or co-authored several publications on fraud-related topics and developed and presented seminars and courses on forensic accounting and litigation support issues. He is a past President of the Los Angeles Chapter of CALCPA and of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. He is also a past member of the Board of Trustees of the CALCPA Education Foundation and of CALCPA Council.

Michael is a Certified Public Accountant (licensed in California, New York, Nevada, Arizona, Utah and Hawaii), is Certified in Financial Forensics, is Accredited in Business Valuation (both issued by the AICPA) is a Certified Fraud Examiner (issued by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners) and is a Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist (“CAMS”). Mr. Spindler graduated from the State University of New York at Albany with a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting in 1981.

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Miguel Salcedo

Communications Director

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Miguel Salcedo (Communications Director) is a Director in FTI Consulting’s Global Risk and Investigations Practice, based in Los Angeles, California. Miguel works primarily on complex, multi-jurisdictional due diligence investigations, asset tracing, anti-bribery and corruption reviews, money laundering and terror finance analysis, and business intelligence work for both public- and private-sector clients. Miguel’s work is aimed primarily at helping clients mitigate legal and operational risks, protect corporate assets, navigate hostile/challenging commercial environments, and ensure compliance with economic sanctions regimes and anti-corruption laws.

His operational focus spans numerous domains including tech, energy, Hollywood, cannabis, global sporting, mining, aerospace, sovereign debt arbitration, digital media, private equity, online gaming, adult entertainment, construction, online gaming, agriculture, finance, and maritime. He focuses heavily on Latin America, the Middle East/North Africa, and East Asia, drawing heavily on social media analytics software, open and proprietary public records databases, and human intelligence gathered through onsite data collection and confidential source inquiries.  

Miguel’s experience includes: overseeing multiple workstreams in the monitorship of an international bank sanctioned for AML and terror finance deficiencies; drafting the AML policies and procedures of a payment processor servicing the high-risk adult entertainment industry; carrying out an onsite investigation into an international mining company operating in South America following whistleblower allegations of bribery and corruption; performing a gap analysis into the financial controls of a major cannabis producer with licenses across multiple states; and conducting OSINT research and business intelligence gathering to reveal the financial relationships and potential regulatory/sanctions violations involving a high-profile military contractor with potential links to hostile foreign powers.

Prior to joining FTI, Miguel was an Editor at Control Risks, a political and security risk consultancy, where he was responsible for English-, Spanish- and Portuguese-language editing. While at Control Risks, he participated in investigations focusing on price-fixing, environmental regulation and corruption in Latin America. Prior to Control Risks, Miguel worked as a freelance translator and interpreter and was a teacher in South Korea and Brazil. Miguel has a bachelor’s degree in International Studies from the University of St. Thomas in Houston and a master’s degree in Cognitive Science (with honors) from the University of Barcelona, Spain. He received a State Department scholarship for undergraduate study in Chile and was a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar taking graduate coursework in International Relations at PUC-Rio in Brazil. He is a Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist.

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Parsia Moshiri

Secretary

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Parsia Moshiri (Secretary) serves as PayQwick’s Chief Compliance Officer, and brings expertise in compliance, operational risk and cash management from his experience at MUFG Union Bank. In his role, Parsia works with financial institutions, state regulators and customers to ensure PayQwick’s regulatory compliance is held to the highest standards.

Experienced Chief Compliance Officer with a demonstrated history of working in the financial services industry. Highly motivated and committed professional. Possessing excellent communication skills and the ability to develop and maintain mutually beneficial internal and external relationships.

Skilled in BSA/AML Compliance, CDD, KYC, EDD, MSBs, SARs/CTRs, Transaction Monitoring, Cannabis Banking.

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Rabia Qureshi

Secretary

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Rabia Qureshi (Secretary) is a Director in the Forensic & Litigation Consulting segment at FTI Consulting providing accounting expertise with issues related to litigation, disputes resolution, and financial statement fraud investigations.

Throughout her career, Ms. Qureshi has directed investigations under the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Committee of Foreign Investments in the United States (CFIUS), the Office of Mortgage Settlement Oversight (OMSO), as well as Federal and State Courts. She has assisted counsel with complex and high-profile criminal investigations involving money laundering, tax evasion, international and domestic bank related crimes and other criminal activity where there is a financial nexus or motive.

Prior to joining FTI Consulting, she was in similar roles at accounting firms Grant Thornton and BDO.

Ms. Qureshi holds a M.S in accountancy and a B.B.A in accounting from Baruch College in New York. She is a CPA and CFE and a member of the American Institute of CPAs, the California Society of Certified Public Accountant, the New York State Society of CPAs and the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners.

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Jannies Burlingame

Treasurer

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Jannies Burlingame (Treasurer) most recently served as the Executive Director of Internal Audit for Polaris Pharmaceutical Inc. and played a key role in achieving their Asia IPO by building the risk management framework from the ground up. Her contributions resulted in reaching a successful level of regulatory compliance both domestically and internationally.  

Jannies is also the founder and Principal Consultant of SS&B Global Consulting Corporation, which specializes in delivering business solutions to Fortune 1000 Companies in the areas of risk and audit advisory. Throughout her collective 20+ year tenure in audit which started with PricewaterhouseCoopers, Jannies worked in a variety of industries including Bio-Pharmaceutical, Banking, Tech., Tele-communications, and Entertainment, either as a leader or key member of audit engagement team.

A National James Burn Scholar from the University of Southern California Leventhal School of Accounting, as well as a proud Wolverine from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor Business School, Jannies has a perpetual and insatiable desire for knowledge.

As a trilingual audit professional, Jannies has traveled extensively throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia, spearheading multilingual audits. With 900+ hours of speaking experience, she has trained numerous global corporations on flowcharts, audit methodology, risk management, Sarbanes-Oxley/J-SOX, and Emotional/Cultural Intelligence (EI/CI). She is most passionate about educating her fellow auditors on how to develop their EQ skills to become more valuable team members and leaders in the profession.

Jannies’ dissertation topic is “Communication and Negotiation Tactics in the Virtual Setting.” This topic is a combination of her passion in learning more about EI and applying it to improve communication strategies for business professionals. Her plan is to publish a book on the topic based on her research.

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Manny Medrano

Chapter Advisor

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Manny Medrano (Chapter Advisor) is an experienced trial attorney who focuses on white collar criminal defense, financial litigation, and internal investigations. He has defended corporations, senior executives, public officials and private individuals in criminal investigations, regulatory actions, trials, and appeals.

Prior to joining Zuber Lawler & Del Duca, Mr. Medrano served as a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles. He served as Chief of the Asset Forfeiture Section, and Deputy Chief of the Criminal Complaints Unit. During Mr. Medrano’s time as a federal prosecutor, he conducted lengthy grand jury investigations, and prosecuted cases involving complex financial crime and RICO, money laundering, narcotics, government fraud and violent crime. He was recognized for his outstanding government service with numerous awards and commendations from federal investigative agencies, including the DEA, FBI, ATF and IRS, among others. He tried numerous precedent-setting cases as lead prosecutor, including the 1985 kidnapping, torture, and murder of DEA Special Agent Enrique Camarena in Mexico, which was the subject of the Netflix show Narcos Mexico. For his work on that case he received the prestigious Department of Justice Director’s Award for Superior Performance. As a federal prosecutor he tried 60 cases to verdict, never losing a jury trial.

A sought-after speaker, Mr. Medrano served as a Lecturer and Group Leader for the U.S. Attorney General’s Trial Advocacy Program. He is an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Southern California Law School, Loyola Law School, Pepperdine University School of Law, and Southwestern University School of Law, where he has taught Evidence, Trial Advocacy, Ethics and Negotiation. He has also taught as a visiting faculty member at the Harvard Law School’s nationally recognized Trial Advocacy Workshop. Mr. Medrano has lectured at numerous training sessions for state and federal law enforcement officials around the country. He is a featured keynoter and panelist at bar and judicial association conferences on a wide range of legal and media topics. He has served as a Judge Pro Tem in Los Angeles County.

Mr. Medrano is a former member of the prestigious ranks of the U.S. Supreme Court press corps, where he served as a Supreme Court/Legal Affairs correspondent for ABC News in Washington, D.C. He has further distinguished himself as an Emmy award-winning reporter/anchor for KTLA News and KNBC News in Los Angeles. He appears regularly as a legal commentator on network and local television and radio programs, including ABC, NBC, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, and NPR. He has been profiled and quoted in numerous publications, including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Los Angeles Daily Journal.

Mr. Medrano understands that even the mere allegation of criminal conduct can be devastating for an individual or business entity. With his journalism background, he is able to provide legal and strategic advice in high-profile matters to protect clients’ interests when they are unwillingly thrust into the public arena.

Mr. Medrano is active in numerous charities. He has received numerous awards and recognition for his work benefiting the community from members of Congress and state legislators, as well as corporations, government agencies, non-profit entities, and universities.

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Stephanie Yonekura

Chapter Advisor

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Stephanie Yonekura (Chapter Advisor) leads the global Investigations, White Collar, and Fraud practice for Hogan Lovells US. She is a member of the firm’s Crisis Leadership Team and regularly advises clients on corporate compliance issues and policies.

She brings a unique perspective to any internal investigation. Having served as a federal prosecutor for 14 years and as the Acting U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles, Stephanie knows the hot-button issues that are considered in every stage of any government investigation. As the Acting U.S. Attorney of the largest office outside of Washington, D.C., Stephanie was an active participant in the larger U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) community, serving on nationwide committees on white collar fraud, cybercrime, and intellectual property.

In private practice, Stephanie uses her substantial experience in the trenches, in the courtroom, and as the chief law enforcement officer in Los Angeles to help clients understand the key issues and investigate matters strategically and surgically.

See What Certified Financial Crime Specialists Are Saying

"The CFCS tests the skills necessary to fight financial crime. It's comprehensive. Passing it should be considered a mark of high achievement, distinguishing qualified experts in this growing specialty area."

KENNETH E. BARDEN 

(JD, Washington)

"It's a vigorous exam. Anyone passing it should have a great sense of achievement."

DANIEL DWAIN

(CFCS, Official Superior

de Cumplimiento Cidel

Bank & Trust Inc. Nueva York)

"The exam tests one's ability to apply concepts in practical scenarios. Passing it can be a great asset for professionals in the converging disciplines of financial crime."

MORRIS GUY

(CFCS, Royal Band of

Canada, Montreal)

"The Exam is far-reaching. I love that the questions are scenario based. I recommend it to anyone in the financial crime detection and prevention profession."

BECKI LAPORTE

(CFCS, CAMS Lead Compliance

Trainer, FINRA, Member Regulation

Training, Washington, DC)

"This certification comes at a very ripe time. Professionals can no longer get away with having siloed knowledge. Compliance is all-encompassing and enterprise-driven."

KATYA HIROSE
CFCS, CAMS, CFE, CSAR
Director, Global Risk
& Investigation Practice
FTI Consulting, Los Angeles

READY TO BEGIN YOUR JOURNEY TOWARDS
CFCS CERTIFICATION?