Starting Out: For and About Fraud-Fighting Students in Higher-Ed

Student shares insights about expense fraud


Who learns more, the teacher or the student? The answer to this question is irrelevant in today's world since each of us needs to be CONTINUALLY learning as a student and sharing our knowledge as a teacher. In this column we get to access the knowledge of the best and brightest who are entering the fraud profession. This approach lets each student become a teacher and share what they've learned with the rest of the profession. My experience as a teacher is that when a student takes this role, everyone is better off. The teacher sees things differently and the student deepens his or her understanding.

Remember, I welcome any submission from those of you who are or recently were considered students and want to share your insights with others. Please consider sending an article to me at:

The following article was written by Candice Bartle, who attended the graduate fraud examination course at the University of Texas (UT) at Austin, taught by Joseph T. Wells, CFE, CPA, founder and Chairman of the ACFE. (She graduated from the McCombs School of Business at UT in May 2004 with a bachelor's of business administration and a master's of accounting in taxation.) Candice describes an intriguing story of expense fraud that took place in an organization where you might least expect it. In doing so she also identifies ways to prevent and detect expense fraud.

Major expense fraud in a once-premier consulting firm:
Case study illustrates how to prevent and detect expense fraud

What began as an addiction for fine jewelry and clothing, ended in a major expense reimbursement fraud totaling $240,000. The perpetrator became a first-time offender shortly after acquiring a management position in a worldwide consulting firm in Chicago. Her position created an opportunity to abuse expense reimbursements. According to Donald Cressey's fraud model, a non-sharable financial problem resulted from the perpetrator's excessive shopping habits which racked up tens of thousands in debt. She rationalized her exorbitant purchases of consumer goods as the only remedy for her severe depression. This case will give us insights into the ingredients that lead to such significant expense fraud losses and ways to strengthen weak internal controls to help prevent similar frauds.


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