Paul Fontanot is the National Practice Group Leader of the Forensic and Technology Services team.
He is a Chartered Accountant and licensed forensic investigator. He has worked with many multinational clients in identifying and managing fraud and corruption risk, as well as cyber-risk. His experience includes conducting fraud and regulatory investigations, designing and implementing Anti-Fraud Programs and corporate compliance programs, managing IT forensic analysis, preservation and data review programmes, as well as forensic accounting.
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He has extensive experience in finance and business management, communication, and corporate governance across Asia-Pacific, USA, Canada, UK, Germany and Africa, where he has worked with Boards and Audit Committees. He has also assisted legal teams with financial analysis, accounting interpretation and quantification of economic damages during civil and criminal proceedings.
Paul is also a member of ICAA and AICD and an associate member of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (USA). He also holds other positions as the Deputy Chair of Abbotsleigh and the ex-officio Director for Abbotsleigh Foundation.
- Lawyers Weekly awards: Innovator of the Year finalist (2020)
Bachelor of Accounting Science (Hons), University of South Africa (1996)
Certificate III – Investigative Services
Justice of the Peace
Commercial & Private Inquiry Agents Licence NSW
Security and Investigation Agents Licence VIC, SA, WA, QLD, TAS, NT
Private Investigators Licence NZ
- The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia – ICAA (2008)
- Australian Institute of Company Directors (2016)
- Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (USA), Associate Member (2001)
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Mining / Oil & Gas
- Forensic due diligence investigation into proportionality of shared assets, as well as investigation into the misallocation of expenses and assets.
- Led a team in conducting anti-bribery and corruption analytics at one of Australia’s largest mining companies, seeking behavioural trends within the supply chain.
- Forensic due diligence investigation as part of a pre-acquisition of a company in PNG.
- Forensic accounting expert in determining the accounting treatment of funds paid to a community trust set up for the payment of royalties for the use of mining on native lands.
- Forensic accounting expert in a High Court matter involving a counter claim for a repudiation of an oil and gas agreement.
- Investigated the purpose and nature of additional payments made to local and regional governments to further the economic development of host communities.
- Forensic accounting expert in a due diligence investigation, resulting in the mining company acquiring more assets for the same purchase price.
- Investigated a Matched Giving Program to support not-for-profit organisations to ensure compliance with company’s internal policies
- Investigated allegations that senior management at mine-site may be involved in theft of materials, money and the misappropriation of assets.
- Investigated activities relating to areas such as theft of the proceeds of scrap metal sales, ghost employees, improper use of mine-site materials for personal gain, theft of site assets, kickbacks and improper practices concerning the awarding of contracts, false accounting and improper allowance and expense claims.
- Conducted a forensic contract review to verify and validate payments made to suppliers are proportionate to the work done.
- Due diligence investigation into proportionality of shared assets, as well as investigation into the misallocation of expenses and assets.
- Led a team who conducted anti-bribery and corruption analytics, seeking behavioural trends within the supply chain.
- Issued an Independent Auditors determination report in a dispute involving the calculation of a licence payment with reference to an agreement.
- Conducted forensic data analytics for a large listed construction company to detect Payroll and Procurement fraud.
- Conducted an investigation into illegal transfers of funds from controlled money accounts, whereby purchases of properties had paid deposits therein.
- Investigated an employee/vendor fraud ‒ $22 million for a large construction company.
- Prepared an expert report for arbitration in the United Kingdom. The dispute involved the calculation of escalated costs and damages incurred, as a result of the contractor’s delays.
Financial Services and Insurance
- Conducted an investigative audit into an international provident fund following concerns raised publicly alleging nepotism and mismanagement.
- Successfully investigated a fraud, had the person of interested arrested, and then assisted the client compile a claim against their Fidelity Insurance, and recovered 98% of the misappropriated funds.
- Assisted various clients in their insurance claims preparation for the hailstorm damage in Melbourne during March 2010, the Queensland floods in 2011, as well as the Christchurch earthquakes in 2011.
- Investigated superannuation fraud whereby an employee used inside information to arbitrage his super fund. Also assisted with the quantification of the loss for insurance purposes.
- Investigated the financial misconduct of a CEO, after discovering the abuse of trust, corporate credit card and running personal expenses through the company, which resulted in his suspension.
- Forensic accounting expert for joint liquidators to report on the information and documentation in relation to the underlying books and records of an entity and its subsidiaries.
- Shadow forensic accounting expert in a Sale and Purchase Agreement dispute, in determining the net tangible asset target amount.
- Presented an expert report for an inquiry, investigating the causes as to why a large listed retail company was placed into liquidation, and the quantification of the effects.
- Managed a large team in a multibillion dollar restatement of an international company’s AFS. The company had overstated its prior year’s results, which resulted in millions of dollars been paid out to management, fraudulently.
- Assisted a global mobile operator in extracting and analysis fraudulent activities from electronic media, to successfully prove a fraud and misrepresentations made.
Federal and State Government (Health, Transport, Education)
- Investigation into alleged irregularity in premium refunds, whereby it was suspected that there was collusion between the various staff members.
- Performed certain investigative services in relation to alleged misconduct by an employee, whereby it was alleged that they misused departmental assets.
- Independent forensic accountant appointed to present the allocation of revenue and expenditure, borrowings, cash and reserves of a council and its activities since amalgamation as a precursor to a report on the financial implications of de-amalgamation.
- Conducted an analysis of the potential overpayment bus services contracts.
- Performed forensic data analysis on the accounts payable and claims data to assess risk of fraud, identify and/or quantify potential control breakdowns.
- Provided an independent forensic assessment of hospital’s operations to understand the potential for fraud risk and mismanagement.
- Forensic investigation at a Private Health Network into conflict of interest allegations.
- Investigation into an anonymous allegation in relation to certain inappropriate procurement practices.
Donor Funded Organisations
- Donor funded organisation ‒ investigated a whistle-blower allegation of improper conduct, involving the inflation of certain product and service prices by one expatriate officer of the project.
- Donor funded organisation ‒ provided a forensic accounting opinion on whether the fund accountability statement for the donor funded programs presented fairly, in all material respects, revenues received, costs incurred, and commodities and technical assistance directly procured by the organisation.
- Overseas audit office ‒ acted as the forensic accounting expert in the investigation into irregularities pertaining to the management of funds at a donor funded organisation.
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