Nearly 1,000 people representing more than 100 companies attended the 14th annual UT Dallas Fraud Summit March 28 and 29. Presented and hosted by the Center for Internal Auditing Excellence at the Naveen Jindal School of Management, the summit is one of the leading fraud conferences in the United States for professionals in the field of internal auditing.
Keynote speakers for the 2019 summit were:
• William K. Black, currently a professor at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, and the man who accused then-speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Jim Wright and five U.S. senators of doing favors for savings and loan associations in exchange for contributions and other perks. The resulting political uproar and investigation — part of a wider savings and loan crisis at the time — became known as the Keating Five Scandal.
• Shamoil Shipchandler, a partner at Jones Day law firm, and the former director of the Fort Worth regional office of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. He also served as deputy criminal chief with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Texas.
• Nathan Mueller, a reformed fraudster who served more than five years in prison for stealing $8.5 million from his employer. Mueller, an accountant and formerly licensed CPA, speaks at numerous conferences, sharing his story and talking about what goes through the mind of someone who commits fraud.
Making sure the culture of corporate compliance is the right fit for a company was the focus of Shipchandler’s program. Typical compliance programs are not customized to individual companies. “It is important to understand how culture affects compliance,” he said, “and how you are going to do compliance. … If you focus on obeying the law, what else are you missing?”
Black’s presentation was on rethinking the fraud triangle, a concept created in the 1940s as a means of identifying individuals who might commit workplace fraud. When it was created, experts believed the things that could identify employees who might commit fraud were pressure, such as debt; opportunity, and the ability to rationalize the crime.
In the 1940s, women were the most likely to commit fraud, Black said, because they worked in office jobs where opportunity existed. Today, many fraudsters have triple A ratings. Black pointed to the so-called subprime mortgage company crisis of 2007 to 2009 and the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s. Both involved many companies deemed at the time to be reputable.
“If you have a top audit company working for you, people tend to believe you will never commit fraud,” Black said.
Sponsored by the Dallas chapter of the Institute of Internal Auditors, the summit benefits the Jindal School’s Internal Auditing Excellence program. More than 100 students in the program volunteered to work on the event this year.
The Fraud Summit has grown consistently since it started 14 years ago, when there were 100 attendees. Joseph Mauriello, director of the Center of Internal Auditing Excellence, said one of the reasons is its educational value. Attendees receive eight hours of continuing professional education (CPE) credit each for workshops and eight hours CPE for the conference.
“We deliver a quality education experience, and folks recognize that,” Mauriello said. “They make this a must-attend event. Also, people love coming to the UT Dallas campus, interacting with students and meeting the next generation of auditors.”
Another reason for the summit’s growth, said Chris Linsteadt, assistant director of the center, is the thriving business community in Dallas and the surrounding area. “We’re lucky in Dallas to have so many corporate headquarters located here,” he said. “These companies recognize the value of what we do at UT Dallas.”
James Kirkland of State Farm Insurance Company attends the summit every year with one or more of his colleagues. “Our company has an internal audit department, so the summit is a good fit for us,” he said. “I get new information from this event every year.”
Mueller, who was the general session keynote speaker, said he was impressed by the event. “It has been a great crowd,” he said. “The audience was very engaged.”
— Glenda Vosburgh