Accounting Students Earn College Credit and a Conviction


Jeff Kubiszyn
ACFE Chapter Development Manager

I often preach that involvement in your local ACFE Chapter is more than just attending meetings and seminars. It is about giving something back to the profession and the community. Some ACFE Chapter members work with charities to raise food or money for the disadvantaged. Others speak to civic groups about the dangers of fraud and how to effectively protect assets and investments. And some go even further by working hand-in-hand with law enforcement to help make fraud a less-lucrative business in their communities.

Last year, the Spokane Chapter of Washington leadership asked its members to participate in a program full of potential, if not a little ambitious. Dubbed the Justice for Fraud Victims Project, their task was to work with graduate students from Gonzaga University, investigators and prosecutors to review and submit cases the Assistant U.S. Attorney’s Office did not have the manpower to investigate. Chapter members helped the students test theories and prepare reports on their findings. They spent time with the students reviewing books and records, and ultimately, proving a white collar crime to a jury.

Last month, the accounting students of Gonzaga University celebrated their first victory: the program’s first conviction. After months of combing through statements and bills, the students found that the treasurer of a local Knights of Columbus Chapter was writing checks to himself. Thanks to the members of the Justice for Fraud Victims Project, the people who may not have otherwise had any prospect of recovering ill-gotten gains received justice.

Lenore Romney, CPA, CFE, CVA, and Spokane Chapter member was the CFE mentor working with students on the convicted case. “Working all semester with my student team was personally rewarding regardless of the case outcome,” Romney said. “My team of students was incredibly bright and diligent, and really took ownership in our investigation – they were like sponges soaking up the practical knowledge I was trying to share with them in only one semester’s time together. I was proud of my team’s effort the day they gave their final class presentation, the day I submitted our report to law enforcement, and especially the day I was notified that charges were filed! Obtaining a guilty plea and restitution within a year of submitting our case was the icing on the cake!”

It’s a rewarding experience when you see the positive outcome of a local project, and one of the reasons Chapter involvement is a tremendous benefit to ACFE membership.

Are you involved in your local ACFE Chapter? What are some of the ways you give back to your community?