Follow the money: Jessica Gilmore and Mark Calvert are partners in forensic analysis

Some internships begin with an orientation. Jessica Gilmore’s (BA 2016) first day with Cascade Capital Group was more of a disorientation.

“Take notes,” was the directive from Mark Calvert (BA 1982), managing director of the financial consulting firm, as they drove to interview a man whom their client suspected of fraud.

Wanting to make a good impression, Gilmore dutifully chronicled every word, rat-a-tatting furiously on her laptop to capture the conversation to its last detail.

“So,” Calvert asked afterward, “what did you think?”

He listened as the earnest 21-year-old rookie regurgitated her notes on the interview, complimenting his probing lines of inquiry.

Wrong answer. “If you’re just going to agree with me,” he said, dismissively, “I have no use for you.”

“I’ve made him regret that statement for the past two-and-a-half years,” says Gilmore today, earning a snort of confirmation from Calvert.

One-two punch

Over those eventful months, working closely on the road or in their spartan Seattle office, the two have formed a bond as challenging as it is caring.

Mark Calvert

Gilmore is all fresh perspective and fearless tenacity, with a mind at once analytic and empathetic—a problem-solving people person. And Calvert is the eclectic expert, with a cool, been-there-done-that confidence that’s hard-earned from decades of accounting, finance, operations and consulting experience in a wide swath of industries.

He founded Cascade Capital, after many years with EY (and its predecessors), nearly 20 years ago as a boutique advisory and operational firm that provides whatever its wide array of clients needs. That means accounting, writ large, which can take the form of advice on investments or acquisitions, operational or financial restructuring, or even the forensic investigation of potential fraud.

It was the latter that initially drew the attention of Gilmore.

Crime fighter

As a kid growing up in the Tri-Cities, Gilmore watched TV crime procedurals with unnatural attention and intent. “I thought, I’m going to do that someday,” she says. “That’s the way my mind works.”

At the Foster School, she studied accounting and was on her way to a conventional career, with two years of small firm tax experience under her belt and designs on a Big Four job. But in her final year, she enrolled in Nancy Pasternack’s elective fraud class and everything changed.

Calvert was a guest lecturer one session, speaking about his role in uncovering the state’s biggest Ponzi scheme. As it happens, he was working on another potential fraud case and needed an intern.

Gilmore jumped at the opportunity.

“We’re fixers”

Jessica Gilmore

Quickly getting her bearings in Calvert’s world, she became an essential asset on that project and many others. Using her considerable powers of forensic analysis, she has advised clients in real estate, precious metals, higher education, pot, lighting, gaming, auto sales, banking, hotels and healthcare. She has helped save family businesses through restructuring and settled partnership disputes. Her work has been subpoenaed by the FBI and she has testified in federal court.

The variety suits her. “We walk into chaos, clean it up and then move to the next thing. Like a SWAT team,” says Gilmore, who is a CPA, a private investigator and working on her financial forensics certification. “We’re fixers.”

Embracing discomfort

Calvert is delighted to have found such a worthy protégé.

“There’s a difference between delegating and dumping,” he says. “Now, I’m totally comfortable saying to Jessica: go figure it out and tell me what the answer is.”

“He knows I’m too stubborn not to figure it out,” says Gilmore.

That may be the key to Cascade Capital’s success: addressing any challenge from every possible perspective until they find and implement a solution.

“That’s kind of where I am right now, too,” adds Gilmore. “When Mark comes at me with something I’ve never seen before, he’s pushed me enough and given me enough confidence that I’m not afraid I won’t figure it out. I am used to dealing with ambiguity, to being uncomfortable. It’s a lot more fun to be excited about it than it is to be afraid of it.”

  • Jodie

    It’s time to point to the facts regarding your so called……”state’s largest ponzi scheme.’ Mark Calvert as trustee in the most recent orders in Case No.16-11767-CMA USBC Western District of Washington at Seattle has accomplished something remarkable in the order for compensation and fees, judge Austin rightfully denied mr. Mr Calvert all and Annie request for payment and awards for services rendered in fact Mr Calvert was ordered to discorge over $18,000 due tohis lack of fiduciary responsibility tothe creditors….for repeatedly misrepresenting his actions as US trustee to the court about the case…..for overbilling….for mismanagement of the affairs of the estate….for denying parties to the case due process….for inappropriately and repeatedly bungling an auction and sale….for submitting timesheets that were innaccurate and excessive to the USBC….for allowing employees to walk off with or loose estate assets…and there for it follows that Ms. Gilmour who also was sanctioned by Judge Alston and denied pay for similar activities and actions was not simply an innocent bystander but was an active participant in fraud….perjury….malfeasance….nonfeasance….theft and heaven knows what else….the record is clear…they were attempting to unjustly enrich themselves and their Pals Michael J Guerin David C. Neu and Brian T Peterson at the law firm of K&L Gates LLP and their pal Mark D Northrop of the firm Miller Nash Graham & Dunn LLP both firms of Seattle. The record is very clear….so clear that the Judge ordered that immunity did not attach to Mr. Calvert in any subsequent proceedings based on his performance in the case….look it up…..and to the writer of this drivel…..its yellow journalism at its worst…. In my opinion Mr Calvert should be jailed for his actions and not merely sanctioned by the Judge .As party to the case (creditor) holder of an executory contract…. I have first-hand knowledge of Mr. CALVERT and his nasty ways …as you stated to me about the contract I still hold….”so sue me.” Now that immunity does not attach….it’s going to be a whole lot easier…