14 Mar

$68,000 to be Paid in Family Battle

Insurer settles in Gardners’ bitter dispute.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
By Rick Romell

An insurance company will pay Northern Rail Car Corp. $68,000 to settle a claim arising from the alleged actions of former company president Daniel J. Gardner. The development comes amid a bitter dispute between Gardner and his father, William E. Gardner, who owned Northern and is chief executive and majority owner of the Wisconsin & Southern Railroad Co.

The Gardners are waging a legal battle in federal court. The son accuses his father of reneging on a deal to transfer ownership of Northern and a large piece of industrial real estate to him. The father denies there was such a deal, and he accuses his son of trying to take the company and the real estate by fraud. Read More

30 May

Entrepreneurs Group Gets Started

The Business Journal of Milwaukee
By Becca Mader

Owners of new businesses in the Milwaukee area who are navigating their growing pains can access ideas through a new group.

Emerging Entrepreneurs, a professional development group, will hold a kickoff event June 9 at Eve Restaurant, 718 N. Milwaukee St., Milwaukee.

Two Milwaukee entrepreneurs – Ben Sherwood of Sherwood Personal Security and Tracy Coenen of Sequence Inc. – are spearheading the group with support from the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce and Marquette University’s Kohler Center for Entrepreneurship.

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21 Feb

Attorneys, Accountants, Bankers Share Ideas in Corporate Casual

Small Business Times
By Heather Stur

Networking events tend to be either happy hour gatherings or continuing education opportunities. But there is at least one group in Milwaukee’s business community that provides the best of both worlds. Corporate Casual is a business development group for attorneys, accountants, and bankers.

The idea was born in October of 2001, when a group of executives got together to create a way to connect attorneys, accountants and bankers in a different way than the standard networking event.

“The focus was narrowed to attorneys, accountants and bankers because of the natural business connections between the three professions,” said Tracy Coenen, president of Corporate Causal and owner of Sequence Inc. in Milwaukee.

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23 Dec

Hired Guns Can Keep Identity Thieves Away

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
By Stan Miller

Sometimes, technology privacy and security are so important that you bring in a hired gun to make sure you are adequately protected against the forces of evil on the Internet and beyond.

Ben Sherwood, a privacy adviser and chief of Sherwood Personal Security, is one of those hired guns, a leader of a team of mercenaries skilled in the arts of computer security, intrusion detection and network integrity. Sherwood – who lives in Milwaukee and whose company is based in Oak Brook, Ill. – said his small team analyzes the technology its clients use, finds the privacy and security problems and then recommends remedies.

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01 Nov

Women of Influence Awards

The Business Journal
By Marci Pelzer

White-collar crooks, beware. Sequence Inc., Tracy Coenen’s nearly 3-year-old forensic accounting business, has grown 300 percent in 2002. It’s as if she looked into a crystal ball and saw the fates of Enron, Tyco and Worldcom coming before anyone else did.

When attorneys, claims adjusters and CEOs need to document embezzlement and fraud, win contract disputes, or resolve tax controversy, they call on Coenen to document misdeeds and testify in court. “My clients tell me to go find the money,” she says.

Coenen studied accounting and criminology at Marquette University. A class exploring the different kinds of white-collar crime piqued her interest, but at the time she was unsure of a practical application for her quirky passion. “I’m a numbers person,” she says.

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08 Oct

Workplace Fraud

The evening newscast featured Tracy Coenen giving her expert opinion on occupational fraud and abuse. A fraud committed by an employee of restaurateur Johnny Vassallo prompted the story, to raise awareness of the issue.

Text Version:

WTMJ Milwaukee – 4 On Your Side
10:00 news, October 8, 2002 Read More
07 Sep

Do the Prosecution Thing

The Business Journal of Milwaukee
By Kathy Bergstrom

Johnny Vassallo wants to send a message in his pursuit of a forgery case against his former employee. Rather than simply firing his bookkeeper and seeking restitution, Vassallo, owner of Mo’s, A Place for Steaks, 720 N. Plankinton Ave., worked to make sure the Milwaukee restaurant’s bookkeeper was charged criminally for forging checks.

“We’d like to send out a message that it’s not the right thing to do,” Vassallo said of the theft. Vassallo also owns Mo’s Market – A Place for Wine, a wine market/bar at 717 N. Plankinton Ave., Milwaukee, and Ten Eleven, a restaurant in the Park East Hotel, Milwaukee.

The employee, Lisa Hillsley, 33, of West Allis was charged Aug. 8 with three counts of forgery. Hillsley forged checks and took bank deposits that she estimated to total between$12,000 and $20,000 according to the criminal complaint in the case.

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01 Feb

CPAs Magnify Their Interest in Forensics

The Wisconsin CPA – Excerpts from Cover Story
By Amy Gaeth, Managing Editor

Many people consider fraud and litigation to be unpleasant business. A growing number of Wisconsin CPAs are willingly getting involved in these areas, however. CPAs’ reputation for financial expertise and integrity has led litigants and attorneys to hire CPAs as expert witnesses and resulted in increased demand for forensic accountants.

Forensic accountants provide expert witness services, damage calculations for contract disputes or lawsuits, audits for insurance fraud or business fraud cases, and business valuations.

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01 Dec

CPA, Detective, or Both?

The Biz – A publication of The Business Journal
By Becca Mader

Tracy Coenen is both a certified public accountant (CPA) and a detective, of sorts. She is a forensic accountant. Looking beyond the numbers, Coenen digs into records, asks questions, forms an opinion and stands by it, testifying in court, if necessary, as an expert witness about what she’s discovered.

Forensic accountants work with the legal and insurance industries to provide damage calculations for contract disputes or lawsuits, search through documents to find or dispute evidence of insurance or business fraud, and calculate and place values on businesses that are being bought or sold or are collecting on an insurance claim.

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