Sareena M. Sawhney featured in "Who's Who in Forensic Accounting"

January 9, 2012

Sareena M. Sawhney, MB, CFE, CFFA is a Director in the Litigation and Corporate Financial Advisory Services Group at Marks Paneth with offices in Woodbury, New York City, Tarrytown, NY, and the Cayman Islands. Sawhney focuses on providing services in the areas of complex fraud investigations and forensic accounting examinations.

Sawhney's experience includes conducting white collar crime investigations for the District Attorney's office, forensic accounting examinations, and assessing internal controls for midsize to Fortune 500 companies.

As the economy starts to improve, companies and/or nonprofit organizations should begin to reevaluating their systems and existing financial controls to determine if any potential deficiencies exist, Sawhney said.

"Ask yourself one simple question - 'Are your present internal controls adequate for expected growth?,'" she said. "If your answer is no, your organization may be at risk as it may not have the systems in place to detect fraud and prevent or limit losses. Often this can result in the typical organization losing five percent of its annual revenues to fraud."

Examples of such fraud can include employee or vendor fraud wherein checks can be made payable to an employee, an unknown person or an unapproved vendor, Sawhney noted.

"It's common for employees to commit fraud by inflating their expenses or submitting fictitious expense reports," she said.

A strong control environment is one in which employees have clear lines of authority, and where financial performance is monitored and reported regularly and assets are safeguarded, Sawhney said.

Sawhney has served as a testifying expert witness. She has worked with counsel to develop case strategies, assisted counsel with depositions and with preparing reports and exhibits for trials.

Prior to joining Marks Paneth, Sawhney worked in the consulting practice of a Big Four accounting firm. She focused on complex fraud and forensic investigations and bankruptcy fraud matters. She has worked on a variety of cases including assisting attorneys representing a Fortune 500 company in a case involving allegations of fraud, misrepresentations of financial statements and criminal activity of certain individual employees. She has also assisted attorneys in reviewing certain alleged fraudulent transactions that required reporting her findings to an audit committee.

Sawhney earned the designations of Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) and Certified Forensic Financial Analyst (CFFA). She is a member of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners and the National Association of Certified Valuations Analysts as well as the Financial Women's Business Association and the Long Island Business and Professional Women Association.

She earned a master's degree in business administration from Loyola University in New Orleans. She divides her time between the firm's Manhattan and Long Island offices.

Marks Paneth LLP is a large, regional professional services firm with nearly 475 people, including 60 partners and principals. The firm offers a wide range of accounting, auditing, tax, consulting, restructuring, bankruptcy and advisory services, as well as litigation and corporate financial advisory services to domestic and international clients in selected industries.

Marks Paneth, whose origins date back to 1907, has a long history of providing attentive and responsive client service. Client satisfaction and retention are reflected are reflected in its industry rankings. Marks Paneth is the 13th largest firm in the New York area (Crain's New York Business) and the 32nd largest firm in the nation (Accounting Today).

The firm serves a broad spectrum of clients ranging from high-net-worth individuals and their families to lawyers and law firms to closely held businesses and corporations to trusts and estates to nonprofit and governmental entities.