Fraud and Corruption Seminar Review

Schneider Downs was proud to sponsor a Fraud and Corruption Awareness Seminar on May 13, 2019 alongside the Pittsburgh chapters of The Institute of Internal Auditors and the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners.  The yearly seminar has become the premier fraud education event in the area, and this year it welcomed a record-setting 500 attendees.

Nicholas Smyth, the Assistant Director for Consumer Financial Protection and the Senior Deputy Attorney General of Pennsylvania, spoke about several fraud schemes that impact consumers around the Commonwealth and the country.  He discussed an effort by his office to change the way retailers manage their gift card programs as they were being used for fraud and the preventative controls in place were ineffective.  Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Target have agreed to make changes nationwide to the dollar amount of gift card transactions permitted and are using data to gain insight into the way that fraud has been perpetrated in the past.

Schneider Downs Shareholder Eric Wright followed with an informative discussion on “Strengthening Cyber Resilience to Thwart Cyber Theft and Disruption”.  Mr. Wright provided numerous practical cybersecurity tips to the audience.  Participants discussed the best practices at their table and noted the suggestions for when they returned to their respective organizations. 

Later in the morning, Kelly Paxton, nationally known speaker and founder of gave a though-provoking presentation entitled: “Honestly Dishonest: A Fraud Examiner’s Perspective”.  Ms. Paxton posed various ethical questions to the group and shared videos on the research conducted by noted Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University, Dan Ariely.

Following lunch, social cognitive scientist Dr. Toby Groves discussed a timeline of events which began with a promise to his father that he would not follow in the footsteps of his brother, who was previously sentenced for fraud. However, this promise didn’t last, and twenty-two years later he was sentenced for a multi-million dollar bank fraud by the exact same judge who had sentenced his brother.  Dr. Groves also led an interactive session that included audience members self-administering a test to determine how they scored on a psychopathy scale. 

Supervisory Special Agent (SSA) of the FBI Pittsburgh Division, Gregory Heeb, spoke about the FBI’s Financial Crimes Program and the many different types of crimes investigated under the program.  The breadth and depth of local financial crime investigation experience was highlighted in SSA Heeb’s presentation when he discussed a local case that involved an individual who committed a wide variety of different frauds and crimes.

The final speaker of the day was Bill O’Rourke, who has held a number of positions over his career, mostly at Alcoa, and most recently as an advisor to the Tree of Life Synagogue.  Mr. O’Rourke’s fast-paced and entertaining presentation focused on the ethical decisions he faced in business.  Mr. O’Rourke relied on his wealth of experience to provide the context for decisions that he and Alcoa faced throughout his career. 

Schneider Downs hosted a networking event and happy hour following the seminar and the entire day was well-received by those in attendance.  We look forward to sponsoring the event next year and continuing our tradition of supporting quality fraud and corruption awareness training.  If you have questions or concerns about fraud at your organization, rely on our wealth of experience to help you find answers.  Please contact Shareholders Tom Pratt at 412.697.5615 or or Joel Rosenthal at 412.697.5387 or

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