Tom Sterner is a Managing Director at FTI Consulting and is based in Chicago. Mr. Sterner leads domestic and international investigations for corporate clients and law firms in a variety of areas including theft of trade secrets, employee fraud & misconduct, asset investigations, commercial disputes, and pre-deal due diligence. He works closely with his clients to assess and prioritize key issues in a case, and then design and execute a suitable and cost-effective investigative strategy. Mr. Sterner has studied computer forensics and data recovery techniques, which are often central to his investigations, and supervises forensic accounting work on fraud matters. He is a skilled interviewer and expert in public record sources.
Prior to FTI Consulting, Mr. Sterner was managing director at Kroll, specializing in complex investigations for companies and counsel. From 1998 to 2003, he was vice president of investigations at Control Risks Group, and previously director at PricewaterhouseCoopers, both in New York. Mr. Sterner began his investigative career in 1988 at The Investigative Group (IGI) in Washington D.C.
During his 20-year career, Mr. Sterner has handled a wide variety of sensitive matters, including:
Theft of Trade Secrets - When a production worker stole a client’s closely guarded formulas and tried to sell them, Mr. Sterner led the investigation to build a bullet-proof case in pursuit of a civil search warrant to raid the worker’s home. The warrant was granted and the secret formulas were recovered. A subsequent analysis of the worker’s computer files, Internet activity, and banking records, as well as in-country investigative work in South America, confirmed the formulas were never sold or otherwise compromised. The worker was eventually arrested for his crimes.
Information Security Investigation - Mr. Sterner led a methodical investigation into a company with 10,000 employees to identify a leak of proprietary information, a classic ‘needle in the haystack’ case. An exhaustive analysis of email, recovered computer files, network logs, phone records, coupled with internal and external interviews, led to the identification of both current and former employees involved in the leak.
Unlawful Business Competition - A client received an unsubstantiated tip that members of senior management were secretly running a competing business. Mr. Sterner’s investigation culminated in a series of coordinated, simultaneous confrontational interviews with the suspects, which resulted in confessions, terminations and a lawsuit. The client won a favorable financial settlement based on the information from Mr. Sterner’s investigation.
International Asset Investigation - In an effort to collect on a $25 million court judgment against an indicted European financial advisor, Mr. Sterner undertook a broad international asset investigation, which included investigative research in the U.S., Europe, the Caribbean Islands, and the Far East. The investigation identified assets ranging from hidden shareholdings in a publicly traded U.S. company, to real property on the coast of Spain, to business and financial interests on the island of Vanuatu.
Mr. Sterner grew up in a family of intelligence officers and diplomats, and lived abroad for many years. Mr. Sterner has a B.A. in political science & international relations from Carleton College.