Scholarship Recipient Heads Back to School With Goals in Tow

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Cora Bullock
Assistant Editor, Fraud Magazine

School has swung into action with the start of the fall semester. For Oral Roberts University student Monica Hostetler, it means another step closer to her dream of earning her CFE credential.

When Hostetler learned she had received the ACFE’s Ritchie-Jennings Memorial Scholarship in 2010, she was thrilled. She heard of the scholarship through one of her accounting professors at Oral Roberts and had applied. She sat at the same table as ACFE president Jim Ratley at ORU’s School of Business breakfast for her and past recipients and says that made receiving the scholarship even more special. The ACFE doesn’t just send in a check; it makes the effort to personally connect with these students, the future fraud-fighters of the world.

Hostetler was valedictorian of her high school in tiny Pratt, Kan. Her parents both attended ORU, and she always felt a special kinship with the university. Hearing about its great business school sealed the deal for her.

She is an accounting major on a fast track to earn her MBA by December 2012. She is a member of the Accounting Honor Society, an ORU Honors Program Scholar, student assistant in the ORU College of Business and is a team leader for the Children’s Medical Center Outreach. Oh, and in her spare time, she enjoys reading, playing the piano, running, cooking and spending time with her family.

Hostetler not only loved receiving the scholarship, she enjoyed the application process itself. “One of the application requirements was a recommendation from a Certified Fraud Examiner,” she said. “Through the course of obtaining a recommendation, I was given the opportunity to meet a CFE and learn much more about the certification and fraud investigation profession than I ever would have through my own research.”

After graduating, she plans to take the CPA exam as she will meet the required hours because of her MBA and concentration in accounting. After that, she wants to become an auditor. “Fraud examination is definitely of interest to me. As a result, I am still considering forensic accounting as a possible long-term career goal. Obtaining a CFE credential would be a primary objective for my career in forensic accounting,” she said.  

Fraud No Longer a Dirty Word

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Kevin Taparauskas, CFE
ACFE Events & Marketing Director

Fraud is no longer a dirty word. Ten to 15 years ago, you couldn’t find a company executive out there who was willing to speak frankly on the subject. I suppose they thought that if they didn’t talk about it, everyone would think that it didn’t exist within their organization. Then came Enron…and Worldcom…and Madoff. Thanks in part to these high-profile scandals and publications such as the ACFE’s 2010 Report to the Nations, the prevailing opinion regarding occupational fraud has shifted. It is no longer a question of whether it is taking place within your company, but rather what are you doing about it?

Clearly, the answer to that question for many professionals was to join the ACFE and learn, develop and hone their anti-fraud skill set. Our association has grown exponentially over the past 10 years at a time when many trade groups are either treading water or shrinking in size. Throughout the course of our history, it has been largely an individual decision to become involved with the association and pursue the CFE credential. The reason for this was simple: it was about the knowledge and skills of that particular person. To that end, we built and cultivated relationships with people and not companies. And this model has proven to be successful – both for the anti-fraud professionals that have gained personally and professionally and for the ACFE, which has thrived as an association.

With the changing mindset towards the subject of white collar crime, many large organizations are now interested in making it clear to shareholders, regulators, the media and investors that they are taking proactive measures to prevent, detect and deter fraud. And it’s no wonder, as a recent study found that news of an alleged fraud resulted in a 17 percent stock price decline in the two days surrounding the announcement. Wanting to send a strong message, many members have reached out to us over the last few years seeking opportunities for their companies to become involved with the ACFE. And we have listened.

Last month, at the ACFE Annual Fraud Conference in San Diego, we rolled out the new ACFE Corporate Alliance Program to the delight of many members. This program has been in the works for several years and in pilot mode since last December with three Fortune 150 organizations. Our goal is to support anti-fraud best practices by providing large companies with access to the world-class tools, training and resources that the ACFE has come to be known for. Oh, and they will get to use a cool new logo, too.

In the coming months, the ACFE will be forging partnerships with companies choosing to join the new Corporate Alliance. I invite you to learn more about the program and find out whether it is a fit for your organization.

You Learn Something New Every Day

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Cora Bullock
Assistant Editor, Fraud Magazine

I’ve been at the ACFE for almost three months, and I’m still in the middle of a deep learning curve. The latest subject was the Ritchie-Jennings Memorial Scholarship. Events planner Ashlee Beck-Hanna (see my profile of her in the upcoming May/June Fraud Magazine) asked me to write articles about two past recipients, and I was struck by how quickly they responded to my interview request. One, Monica Hostetler, is a full-time student on a fast-track to an MBA; the other, Kerri O’Donnell, is earning her Ph.D. and teaching at the University of Tasmania in Australia.

The Ritchie-Jennings Memorial Scholarship is named after two CFEs, Tracy Ritchie and Larry Jennings, who were killed by terrorists in Pakistan when they were on a business trip. Some good came from this horrible tragedy, as the ACFE awards 30 college accounting and criminal justice students scholarships ranging from $1,000-$10,000. That may not sound like a lot of money to some people, but to these students, it can make a difference between barely keeping their heads above water and catching that break they really needed. O’Donnell used hers to buy textbooks (always expensive) and get an Internet connection so she could work and study from home, which was critical at the time since she was a single mom of two young daughters. Hostetler is attending a private college and really needed the help with tuition.

But the scholarship is more than just a check. Hostetler was thrilled that ACFE President and CEO James D. Ratley, CFE, took the time to fly in for the presentation and visit with her, along with other past recipients. That personal touch really made a lasting impression.

I also was struck by the passion these recipients have for their fields. These are not long-time fraud-fighters who’ve seen it all; they’re just starting out, yet already have a fire in their belly to fight the injustice that fraudsters perpetuate. It makes me feel better knowing that the ACFE is helping to guide and assist these students – we need all the fraud-fighting heroes we can get.

Looking for ways you can contribute? Check out our volunteer opportunities and our upcoming Silent Auction at the 22nd Annual Fraud Conference in San Diego this June.

5 Reasons to Join Your Local ACFE Chapter

The first ACFE chapter was formed in 1989 in Austin, Texas, just one year after the organization opened its doors in a historic three-story house in the heart of downtown Austin. The first officers were Ed Martin, president, Don Cox, vice president, and Bill Charboneau, secretary/treasurer. What began as one chapter more than 20 years ago has now turned into a group of more than 130 worldwide. Because of the leadership of ACFE members like Martin, Cox and Charboneau, chapters have played an important role in the lives of CFEs.

Below are five reasons to join your local ACFE chapter:

  1. Network: network with other fraud fighters; participate in local programs and events that promote anti-fraud awareness.
  2. Earn CPE: local chapters hold breakfast, lunch or dinner meetings with a speaker generally lasting one to two hours. Ask questions and gain valuable information you can apply to your job. Chapters also conduct full-day seminars offering a range of speakers and topics.
  3. Learn and mentor: chapter membership is made up of fraud fighters from all backgrounds and with all different levels of experience. You can learn from the best or mentor the next generation.
  4. Get involved in your community: become more personally involved in the anti-fraud profession through training that also meets the needs of the local community.
  5. Lead the way: hone your leadership skills by serving on the chapter Board of Directors or speaking at chapter events.

To locate a chapter near you or to find out how to establish one, go here.

ACFE Foundation Scholarships Instill Confidence, Sense of Achievement

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Lupe DeLeon, ACFE Higher Education Coordinator

Of the many programs and committees the ACFE is proud to be a part of, one still stands out from the rest at this time of year. As we reflect on a year of achievement and growth for our organization and our members, we remain focused on the future CFEs who will one day lead the fight against fraud.

The Ritchie-Jennings Memorial Scholarship was established in 1992 by the ACFE Foundation and is named after Larry Jennings, CFE, and Tracy Ritchie, CFE. Jennings and Ritchie were fatally wounded when terrorists fired upon their vehicle in Karachi, Pakistan on Nov. 14, 1997. The scholarship was then named in their honor and supports the education of collegiate accounting, business, finance and criminal justice students worldwide.

Anthony Sperduti is a past scholarship winner and a student at Post University in Connecticut. He attributes much more to the award than just a monetary incentive. According to Sperduti, he found confidence, a whole new world of networking and the motivation to pursue a career in fraud prevention and forensic accounting.

“The award provided much more to me than financial gain,” Sperduti said. “The feeling of achieving something of this nature will give anyone the confidence boost they are looking for. Not only that, it is a great resume builder, and gives the applicant the opportunity to network with CFEs. The application requires a letter of recommendation from a CFE, so it really makes the applicant build the confidence and go out there and network. It helps the applicant become known in the field of fraud prevention.”

This year the ACFE Foundation Board of Directors voted to increase the amount of scholarship awards available. There will be one $10,000 scholarship, two $5,000 scholarships, four $2,500 scholarships and 23 $1,000 scholarships. Other changes include a scholarship questionnaire in place of the essay, as well as the acceptance of “unofficial” transcripts.

The 2011-2012 scholarship schedule is as follows:

  • Application Deadline – Postmarked by January 21, 2011
  • 2011-2012 Scholarship Recipients Announced – April 15, 2011
  • Scholarships Distributed – April 30, 2011

To find out more information about the ACFE Foundation or the Ritchie-Jennings Memorial Scholarship, go here.