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Heroes with spreadsheets: Sonoma County FAST team targets thieves who prey on elderly

Updated: May 9


May 5, 2022 Santa Rosa Press Democrat, by AUSTIN MURPHY


This particular crooked contractor had a taste for travel, and a fondness for vintage automobiles. When his bank account was low, he’d hit up his elderly victim,” recalled Gail Goring, who helped send the man to prison four years ago. “If he wanted to go on a trip, he’d hit up his victim,” she said. “If he needed money for his car hobby, or if he had an IRS lien, he’d hit up his victim.” Goring, 67, retired seven years ago from her job as chief fiscal officer of Sonoma County’s Department of Human Services. One would not peg her as a crime fighter.

Woe betide, however, the swindler whose subpoenaed bank statements end up splashed across the monitor in her home office. With her trained eye and next-level Excel spreadsheet skills, Goring will suss out the damning patterns, the withdrawals and deposits that end up incriminating the suspect and often resulting in a conviction.

Goring is a member of Sonoma County’s FAST team, a legion of accountants, fraud examiners and assorted other sleuths, most of them retired, who volunteer their specialized services to help area police and the Sheriff’s Office prosecute complex financial cases.


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