Veteran Investigator Lends Expertise to Katrina Recovery Effort
42 State Agencies Unite to Combat Disaster Fraud
AUSTIN, TX - January 10, 2006 - With federal relief funding estimated in the billions, the demand for anti-fraud experts is on the rise in Louisiana to combat potential post-Katrina corruption. Louisiana native Allen Brown has dedicated his career to catching fraudsters, including three sheriffs who ended up behind bars. Today, Brown, a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) and CPA, is training others to fight fraud in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Devoted to supporting his community, Brown recently led a training initiative in conjunction with the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) by conducting free anti-fraud training to auditors and state employees. "The state of Louisiana is still suffering great economic loss due to the hurricanes. As part of the rebuilding process, there will be an inflow of large amounts of money," explains Brown. "The governor, the legislature and state leadership at all levels have made a commitment that these funds will be audited to ensure that they are used properly."
Brown, an adjunct ACFE faculty member, taught a two-day course, Conducting Internal Investigations, to help stave off fraud in the region. The course provided the opportunity for state employees who hold certifications and licenses to obtain required continuing professional education hours. "We had 165 attendees from 42 different state agencies including the Louisiana Legislative Auditor's Office [Compliance Division], Louisiana State Employees Retirement System, Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, University of Louisiana System, Department of Revenue and the entire Inspector Generalâes Office, including Inspector General Sharon Robinson."
"The response and gratitude expressed to me after the course was tremendous," said Brown. "Some people have not only lost their homes, but also their jobs," he explains. "Due to Katrina, training budgets have been eliminated, making it tough for professionals in the area to retain their certification. This training and education was a positive step towards reinvigorating Louisiana's economy."
Brown, whose hometown is Ferriday, Louisiana, was with the Louisiana Legislative Auditor's Office for 18 years, rising to Assistant Legislative Auditor and Director of Investigative Audit. "My main goal was to get these criminals away from the taxpayer's dollars," Brown said.
He succeeded. Together with federal and state prosecutors, he collaborated to prove fraud, which in turn led to felony convictions. "This type of white collar crime was a new concept in the 1980s," explains Brown. "Some say we were pioneers."
Results of these audits included felony convictions of four sheriffs, three of whom went to prison. The statewide elected Commissioner of Elections was also convicted of felony charges and sentenced to prison. Moreover, 25 others were indicted and convicted including vendors from New Jersey, Florida and Alabama.
"There must be results," Brown says of his work. "Too many times in government and in the private sector, people are caught doing bad things and they simply change agencies. They move from school board to department of transportation,"he explains. "In many instances, government thieves don't go away, they just transfer."
A graduate of the University of Louisiana at Monroe, Brown currently serves as Director of Internal Audit for the Louisiana Community and Technical College System. Prior to Hurricane Katrina, the system had 49 campuses throughout the state. "Today, nearly half of our students have been displaced because of Katrina,"Brown says. Five campuses were completely devastated. "Our main goal today is get our students back, rebuild our facilities and reopen."
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