West Virginia University Creates Guide to White Collar Crime
West Virginia University has developed guidelines to help whistleblowers and law enforcement officials spot hidden debt, inflated profits and accounting tricks and other used by former executives of scandal-ridden Enron and other white-collar criminals.
The 60-page guide was created over two years using a $612,000 grant from the National Institute for Justice. The school consulted 46 experts from various private and government organizations, including the nation’s major accounting firms; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; FBI; IRS; and the National White Collar Crime Center.
“While America’s chances of being mugged are at an all-time low, being robbed by unscrupulous corporations has never been higher,” said Joseph T. Wells, chairman of the board of directors and founder of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners in Austin, Texas. “That is why it is vital that auditors receive the necessary education to ferret out fraud and corruption.”
The project was led by WVU accounting professors Richard Riley and Bonnie Morris.
The guide will be primarily used to train those both inside and outside organizations to notice telltale signs of corruption. It will be useful for many professions, but could be especially useful for law enforcement officers who need to develop their accounting skills and be able to track money through books, Riley said.
“Academic accounting programs traditionally have focused on the knowledge and skills required for financial statement preparation, audits and analysis,” Riley said. “Although this knowledge overlaps in many ways with those required for forensic accounting investigations, there are significant differences.”
— Associated Press
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