in-person conference Sessions

Conference Day 1 - Thursday, October 10, 2024

Note: Schedule may change up to and including the day of the conference, subject to the vagaries of human existence.

Session 1

~ General Session ~

October 10th @ 8:15 a.m. – 9:15 a.m.  Alamdar Hamdani, US Attorney (Southern District of Texas)

BIO:   Alamdar Hamdani is the 24th United States Attorney (USA) for the Southern District of Texas. Nominated by President Biden in October 2022 and confirmed by the United States Senate in December 2022, Hamdani is the chief federal law enforcement officer for the Southern District of Texas (SDTX). The district was established in 1902 and encompasses seven divisions with federal district courts in Houston, Galveston, Victoria, Corpus Christi, Brownsville, McAllen and Laredo. As USA, Hamdani supervises the investigation and prosecution of all federal crimes and the litigation of all civil matters in which the United States has an interest. 

Hamdani joined the SDTX in 2014 but has been with the Department of Justice since 2008. As an AUSA with the SDTX, he was primarily responsible for the investigation and prosecution of national security and official corruption crimes. From 2010 to 2014, Hamdani served in the Counterterrorism Section of the Department of Justice’s National Security Division, holding the position of deputy chief from 2012 to 2014. Prior to that, he was an AUSA in the Eastern District of Kentucky.

Prior to his government service, Hamdani was a partner at the law firm of Hamdani & Simon LLP in Texas from 2005 to 2008 where he litigated corporate disputes and civil rights matters. In 2003, he helped form the South Asian Bar Association of North America, holding various leadership positions in the organization, including president from 2007 to 2008. From 2001 to 2005, Hamdani was an associate attorney in the Houston office of the law firm Winstead P.C.

During his tenure as an AUSA with the SDTX, Hamdani was also an adjunct professor at the University of Houston Law Center.  Hamdani received his J.D. from the University of Houston Law Center in 1999 and his B.B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin in 1993.


Session 2

Breakout 1 ~

October 10th @ 9:30 a.m. – 11:10 a.m.Frank Perri JD, CPA, CFE

TITLE:  When White Collars Turn Red

DESCRIPTION:   Federal grants are one of the most powerful tools of the U.S. government; they fund scientific breakthroughs, social science research, transportation infrastructure, education and much more. However, as with all activities involving money, there are fraud risks ranging from simple asset misappropriation to more nuanced research misconduct and complex accounting schemes. In this session, we will discuss the basics of grant programs, address the common fraud risks and empower you to make an impact in preventing, detecting and investigating issues related to the misuse of these funds. Whether you receive, oversee, audit or investigate grant-funded programs, you will benefit from learning about what can and does go wrong and how you can better prepare yourself to mitigate the risks.

BIO: Ken has over 28 years’ experience leading teams in the proactive identification, assessment, and investigation of a wide variety of complex and sensitive public corruption, ethics, employee misconduct, classified programs, and grant and contract fraud issues related to U.S. Air Force, U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Energy personnel and programs.

Widely recognized as a subject matter expert on internal and external fraud risks related to federal grants, cooperative agreements, contracts, conflicts of interest and other integrity issues, Ken has broad experience with the Truth in Negotiations Act, indirect cost rate fraud schemes, the civil False Claims Act, the Sherman Antitrust Act, the Clayton Act, Mandatory Disclosure Rules, 2 CFR Part 200 Uniform Grants Guidance, the Federal Acquisition Regulation, and innovative data analytics efforts to identify fraud.

He is highly skilled at coordinating criminal, civil, and administrative remedies, including procedural reform and process improvement recommendations to help agencies mitigate fraud and corruption risks.  He is a member of the Senior Executive Service, and a CFE.

He has been recognized with the U.S. Attorney General's Distinguished Service Award, the Council of Inspectors General’s Alexander Hamilton Award, and the U.S. Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division's Exceptional Service Award.

~ Breakout 2 ~

October 10th @ 9:30 a.m.11:10 a.m. Nikki E. Hawkins, JD (Hamilton, Miller & Birthisel, LLP)

TITLE: Fraud in First Party Property Cases

DESCRIPTION: TBD

BIO: Nikki Hawkins is a trial lawyer and Partner for Hamilton, Miller & Birthisel LLP.  She has considerable experience also in defending automobile and trucking claims, SIU and fraud-related matters, and first-party property (FPP) insurance defense.

Nikki has almost two decades of experience within two major insurance carriers where she also spent three years as a Special Investigator of medical billing fraud and insurance fraud. Her time and expertise within Special Investigations led to two arrests in one year’s time, the recovery of over $600,000 with an additional $400,000.00 of non-payment of pended PIP billing. As the project manager, Nikki led a coalition Task Force in the investigation of medical billing fraud with Florida Department of Insurance Fraud, and Federal Medicaid/Medicare Special Agents which ultimately led to a recovery of over $400,000 in Medicare/Worker’s Compensation fraud for the state of Florida.  Nikki resides in the Jacksonville area with her husband (retired after 30 years of Naval Service), five children and six grandchildren


Session 3

~ Breakout 1 ~

October 10th @ 11:15 a.m. – 12:05 p.m. Steve Lenderman (Quantexa)

TITLE:   Deep Fakes & Synthetics Data Now Have a Face!!!

DESCRIPTION:  Synthetic Identities are not new; in fact, they have been around for nearly 20 years. What is new is how they evolved into new industries, the speed that it occurs and how artificial intelligence and machine learning are now being utilized to give synthetic identities a face. This session will review synthetic identities, how they are made and used to commit fraud. Additionally, we will review how deep fakes are giving synthetic identities realistic features such as a face and voice. In conclusion the session will educate those on who to detect synthetics and deepfakes.

BIO: Steve Lenderman has been working in the financial crimes sector for over 25 years and is currently the Head of Fraud Solutions North America at Quantexa. At Quantexa he is the fraud subject matter expert and assists future and current clients with their fraud prevention needs using artificial intelligence to fight fraud, financial crimes, and regulatory compliance by uncovering the relationships and entities behind the activity.

In prior roles, Steve has been the SVP of Fraud Prevention and Investigations at Bank Mobile Technology (BMTX), was the Director of Strategic Fraud Prevention at ADP, and the Fraud Operations Lead for PayPal Business Loans. Early in his career, Lenderman spent time with Barclaycard US where he oversaw major investigations, internal investigations, bust outs / credit abuse, and synthetics identities. Lenderman has been heavily involved in investigating and identifying synthetic identities and entities. He is considered an industry expert and serves as the Co-Chair of the Bust Out Synthetic Identity (BOSI) working group. Lenderman is the President of the IAFCI Delaware Valley Chapter, the ACFE Delaware Chapter and is a regular speaker at numerous fraud conferences, law enforcement trainings and community outreach programs. He is a graduate of the University of Delaware with a degree in Criminal Justice and a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE).

~ Breakout 2 ~

October 10th @ 11:15 a.m. – 12:05 p.m. Austin Harris, CFE, CFCI

TITLE: Fighting Fraud with the Fuzz

DESCRIPTION: Let’s explore actionable strategies for enhancing collaboration between public and private sectors in fraud investigations. I'll demonstrate practical techniques through a compelling case study to help you become more effective at having success when combating fraud.

BIO: I accidentally became a fraud fighter after getting injured during a house fire as a law enforcement officer, and I currently work as a senior fraud analyst at Cross River Bank. I’m the founder of Fraud Warfare and the host of the Fraud Files Unleashed podcast - a true crime podcast, mixed with humor, that dives into real fraud investigations I worked throughout my law enforcement career.


Session 4

Breakout 1

October 10th @ 1:00 p.m. – 1:50 p.m. Heather Hughes (Stroz Friedberg)

TITLE: CYBERSECURITY THREATS & PROACTIVE TIPS

DESCRIPTION: This presentation will cover recent cyber-attacks and how the threat actors gain and maintain access into systems with sensitive information.  AI and Deep Fake attacks will also be discussed.  The costs of a cyber-attack and whether to pay or not pay ransom demands will be covered as well as proactive measures that can reduce the risk of a cyber-attack.  The cyber insurance market and new minimum cybersecurity controls that are required to obtain or renew cyber insurance will also be discussed.

BIO: Heather Hughes, J.D. is a Vice President for Stroz Friedberg’s Houston office where she leads a wide variety of engagements, including data breach, ransomware and other incident response matters, complex digital forensics investigations, proactive security risk assessments, and cyber due diligence investigations.  Heather has over 25 years’ experience in privacy and data security and since joining Stroz Friedberg in 2018, she has led and managed some of the firm's most complex incident response engagements, including the largest healthcare ransomware event in U.S. history which was perpetrated by threat actors during the COVID pandemic.  Heather has also managed the ransomware response engagements involving large trucking companies, the shutdown of operations of a national food supplier, manufacturing plants and several energy producers. Heather also works closely with cyber insurance brokers to assist clients in obtaining cybersecurity maturity.


Breakout 1.2 ~

October 10th @ 1:50 p.m. – 2:40 p.m. Dr. William Kresse (Western Governors University)

TITLE: ELECTIONS, INFORMATION ASYMMETRY, AND THE ROLE CPA/CFES CAN PLAY IN ENHANCING VOTER CONFIDENCE

DESCRIPTION:  Citizen confidence in America’s elections is at an alarmingly low level. Accounting professor and election official William Kresse believes that much of this low confidence stems from a structural flaw in our electoral system known as “information asymmetry.” This phenomenon is common in business transactions and is usually addressed through the use of “information intermediaries”: independent experts who assess and opine on the information in question. Unfortunately, there are currently no such intermediaries for elections, such as Certified Election Auditors. Research indicates that the use of Certified Election Auditors would both greatly enhance citizen confidence in elections and increase voter turnout. CPA/CFEs would be the most appropriate group to draw from for these Certified Election Auditors, and, in fact, CPA/CFEs may be the only group that can take on this significant role.

BIO: Associate Professor, College of Business, Governors State University. (Academic work centers on Fraud Examination, Auditing, Business Law, and Accounting.) · Commissioner, Chicago Board of Election Commissioners. · President of the Institute of Election Auditors. · CEO of Professor Fraud LLC. · Attorney, Certified Public Accountant, Certified in Financial Forensics, Certified Fraud Examiner, Chartered Global Management Accountant. · Former Law Clerk to the Honorable Abraham Lincoln Marovitz, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. · Former Associate Attorney at major Chicago law firms. · Former CPA/Auditor at Deloitte. · Former CEO of MicroRecords Company. · BBA (Accountancy), University of Notre Dame. · MS (Accounting), University of Illinois. · JD, University of Illinois. · “Educator of the Year,” Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. ·Authored numerous academic and professional articles. · Conducted scores of professional and academic seminars. · Appeared on ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, FOX, NPR, C-SPAN, CBC, Inside Edition, and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. · Former show host on WGN Radio (Chicago). · Quoted in New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Christian Science Monitor, Huffington Post and Dallas Morning News. ·Board and audit committee members for several organizations.


~ Breakout 2 ~

October 10th @ 1:00 p.m. – 2:40 p.m. Eric Havian (Whistleblower Partners)

TITLE: Operation Desert Fraud: My Ten-Year Whistleblower War with KBR

DESCRIPTION: The topic of this discussion will be the unprecedented False Claims Act case against KBR for defrauding the Army during the Gulf War. The case lasted longer than the main U.S. deployment in Iraq. In the end, KBR, a company known for refusing to settle even minor disputes, paid over $140 million. This is the story of that case.

BIO: Eric Havian is a partner at Whistleblower Partners. He has spent thirty years representing whistleblowers in nearly every type of case, recovering over $250 million for dozens of his clients, and has received widespread recognition for this work through various awards and media reports. After winning one $224 million whistleblower verdict, Eric was selected by the National Law Journal as one of the Top 10 “Winning” Attorneys in the nation. Two years later, after a string of additional whistleblower case successes, California Lawyer Magazine named him a “California Lawyer of the Year.”

Eric strongly believes that a whistleblower firm must be able to litigate matters that end up decided by a jury. He has deep experience and an extensive track record in the courtroom. Building on litigation skills developed as a federal prosecutor, Eric has litigated multiple successful court and jury trials, as well as successful appeals on behalf of whistleblowers. He has enjoyed mentoring law students in various contexts—as an Adjunct Professor teaching a fraud seminar at Stanford Law School and Berkeley Law School; and more recently as a Wasserstein Fellow at Harvard advising law students on careers in public interest law.


Session 5

~ Breakout 1 ~

October 10th @ 3:00 p.m. – 4:40 p.m.  Paul Eckloff and Brett Johnson

TITLE: The Evolution and Future of Fraud: From Gift Cards to AI

DESCRIPTION:  CLEANUP ON AISLE 7 - Explore the intricate world of fraud through an in-depth analysis of Gift Card schemes, EBT, SNAP, and TANF fraud operations, supplemented by insights into the USSS’s role in fraud prevention. Join us for a comprehensive session that delves into recent advancements and the daunting future of fraud in the age of artificial intelligence. The second part, featuring a dynamic discussion with Brett Johnson – The Godfather of Cybercrime, will open the floor to audience interactions providing deeper insights into our experiences and perspectives on fraud’s past and evolving landscape.

BIO: Paul Eckloff: With over 30 years of experience in security, threat assessment, and communication, Paul leads the public relations portfolio at LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government and LexisNexis Special Services, global providers of information and analytics solutions for fraud prevention, identity verification, risk management, and government investigations. He is responsible for developing and executing strategic communication plans, media relations, crisis management, and stakeholder engagement, as well as overseeing the company's social media presence and corporate reputation.

As a former U.S. Secret Service agent and executive, Paul has a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing the security industry and the public sector. He leverages expertise in global security, homeland defense, and insider threat detection to support LexisNexis's mission of creating safer communities and enabling equitable access to digital government. He is also a certified agile practitioner, committed to continuous learning and improvement in my field. I am passionate about leading positive changes, delivering project results, and building dynamic teams.


Breakout 2

October 10th @ 3:00 p.m - 4:40 PM Ken Dieffenbach, CFE

TITLE: Grant Fraud and Related Data Analytics

DESCRIPTION: Federal grants are one of the most powerful tools of the U.S. government; they fund scientific breakthroughs, social science research, transportation infrastructure, education and much more. However, as with all activities involving money, there are fraud risks ranging from simple asset misappropriation to more nuanced research misconduct and complex accounting schemes. In this session, we will discuss the basics of grant programs, address the common fraud risks and empower you to make an impact in preventing, detecting and investigating issues related to the misuse of these funds. Whether you receive, oversee, audit or investigate grant-funded programs, you will benefit from learning about what can and does go wrong and how you can better prepare yourself to mitigate the risks.

BIO: Ken has over 28 years’ experience leading teams in the proactive identification, assessment, and investigation of a wide variety of complex and sensitive public corruption, ethics, employee misconduct, classified programs, and grant and contract fraud issues related to U.S. Air Force, U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Energy personnel and programs.

Widely recognized as a subject matter expert on internal and external fraud risks related to federal grants, cooperative agreements, contracts, conflicts of interest and other integrity issues, Ken has broad experience with the Truth in Negotiations Act, indirect cost rate fraud schemes, the civil False Claims Act, the Sherman Antitrust Act, the Clayton Act, Mandatory Disclosure Rules, 2 CFR Part 200 Uniform Grants Guidance, the Federal Acquisition Regulation, and innovative data analytics efforts to identify fraud.

He is highly skilled at coordinating criminal, civil, and administrative remedies, including procedural reform and process improvement recommendations to help agencies mitigate fraud and corruption risks.  He is a member of the Senior Executive Service, and a CFE.

He has been recognized with the U.S. Attorney General's Distinguished Service Award, the Council of Inspectors General’s Alexander Hamilton Award, and the U.S. Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division's Exceptional Service Award.

Conference Day 2 - Friday, October 11, 2024

Session 1

~ General Session ~

October 11th @ 8:15 a.m. – 9:15 a.m. Matthew Monson, JD (Monson Law Firm)

TITLE: How MMA Went Away - Louisiana’s Large Insurance Fraud Taken Down

DESCRIPTION:   It all started with a random marketing text on a Sunday afternoon, directed at residents of Louisiana, and specifically to attorney Katherine Monson, urging them to file claims for hurricane damage against their insurers “before it was too late.”  Curious about the apparent potentially illegal marketing message that appeared to come from a law firm, Matthew and Jessica Monson began an investigation into the marketing company, Velawcity, and the law firm behind it, McClenney Moselely Law Firm (MMA) based in Houston, Texas.   The initial investigation revealed that MMA paid nearly $14 million for client leads and filed more than 1,600 lawsuits over the course of three days in federal court in Louisiana.  Matthew’s own after-hours investigation, on his home computer, led to a website, HurricaneDamageLawsuit.com, which was operated by Velawcity, a high-tech marketing firm that works with litigation finance companies.  At Monson’s suggestion, US District Court Judge James D. Cain Jr. in Lake Charles ordered MMA to provide copies of its contracts with Velawcity which revealed that MMA had agreed to pay $3,000 to $3,500 for each “pre-screened client lead” provided, for a total of $13.9 million.  Monson suggested to federal judges to review the hurricane claims filed, and the investigation by the federal court revealed that many clients did not even know they were being represented by, nor had received funds from their insurance companies that MMA had pocketed.  The investigation is now in the hands of the Louisiana State Police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and other civil authorities in Louisiana.  The aftermath of the investigation to date includes actions by the Louisiana Supreme Court, who suspended indefinitely the law license of the attorneys who manages McClenny Moseley & Associates’ office in New Orleans and ultimately led to the firm breaking up and filing bankruptcy protection in 2024.  Another ultimate action was filed by Katherine Monson, the wife of defense attorney Matthew Monson, recipient of that first text.  She filed a class-action complaint in the US District Court in Houston that also names Tort Network LLC, the owner of Velawcity, as a defendant. The suit seeks damages more than $5 million for “unlawful acts of barratry,” meaning the improper solicitation of clients.

BIO: Matthew Monson is the Founder of The Monson Law Firm. With offices in Florida, Texas and Louisiana, The Monson Law Firm handles all areas of insurance defense with a particular emphasis on defending first-party claims in states across the southwest. In 2022-2023, Matthew recently discovered and brought down the largest ever insurance fraud, affecting policyholders and insurance companies in Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Alabama and Mississippi, in terms of numbers of policyholders. Matthew’s uncovering of the actions of McClenny, Moseley & Associates (“MMA”) and Apex Roofing and Restoration resulted in the lead MMA lawyer in Louisiana being disbarred, the entire firm being banned from practice in Louisiana and $2,000,000 in fines issued by the Louisiana Department of Insurance. The scheme also revealed illegal lead generation practices by Velawcity and $30,000,000 in Hedge Fund financing. Currently, Matthew is working with the investigation into these entities by both the FBI and Louisiana State Police. Matthew is the lead partner Monson Law Firm, LLP, in New Orleans, LA. 


Session 2

~ Breakout 1 ~

October 11th @ 9:30 a.m. – 10:20 a.m.  Nichole Devries, CFE & Chris Ekimoff, CFE CPA/CFF, RSM US

TITLE: Case Studies in Fraud and Data Analytics

DESCRIPTION: This presentation will walk through three case studies where analytics were used to uncover fraud

BIO: Nichole DeVries, CFE, is a member of RSM’s Financial Investigations and Dispute Advisory Services (FIDS). She has nearly eight years of accounting experience, four of which are from public accounting experience. In her time with RSM's FIDS practice, she has contributed to a variety of engagements, including internal fraud investigations, contract disputes, post-acquisition disputes, and whistleblower investigations.

Nichole has also provided audit services to clients in various industries, including oilfield services, energy, government, construction, manufacturing and distribution industries. She also has experience in internal audit where she performed SOX compliance and internal control testing/walkthroughs.

BIO: Christopher Ekimoff, CFE, CPA/CFF is a Director in the Financial Investigations & Dispute Services Group of RSM US LLP. 

Chris has considerable experience providing litigation consulting and forensic accounting services—including as an expert witness on behalf of his clients—performing internal investigations, applying and evaluating financial reporting methods, responding to allegations of accounting and auditing malpractice, asset tracing engagements, and other complex financial and accounting issues. He is a co-host of the Insecurities Podcast from the Practicing Law Institute, and an Adjunct Professor at the Antonin Scalia School of Law at George Mason University. Chris also heads the FIDS Blockchain and Crypto Solutions Incubator at RSM.

Chris leads engagements regarding SEC financial reporting matters, public company restatements, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) investigations and corporate compliance. Additionally, he has overseen the development and implementation of fraud risk management programs, as well as the performance of internal investigations at companies in the financial services, construction, hospitality, manufacturing, and technology industries. Chris has contributed to matters including revenue recognition issues, audit malpractice claims, alleged SEC reporting violations, complex GAAP & GAAS accounting policy issues, whistleblower allegations, and mortgage-backed securities litigation.

~ Breakout 2 ~

October 11th @ 9:30 a.m. – 10:20 a.m. Sonia Hurtado, CFE (IRS Criminal Investigations)

TITLE: The Benefits of Diversity in Fraud Audits: Case Examples and Investigative Techniques

DESCRIPTION:  This presentation highlights the impact of diversity in the IRS-Criminal Investigation, the role of the IRS-CI in financial fraud investigations, and how auditors can collaborate with federal investigators to identify and report financial fraud.   

Bio: Supervisory Special Agent (SSA) Sonia Hurtado began her career with IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) in 2003 as a criminal investigator. SSA Hurtado was promoted to supervisor for the IRS-CI Rio Grande Valley group in January 2023 and her responsibilities as group supervisor include overseeing a group of federal agents that investigate potential criminal violations of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code and related financial crimes, such as money laundering, Bank Secrecy Act violations, tax-related identity theft fraud, cybercrimes, and terrorist financing that adversely affect tax administration. SSA Hurtado started her career with IRS-CI in Austin, eventually transferred to Puerto Rico, and returned to the south TX border in 2006 to continue her career with IRS-CI as a criminal investigator, and now as a group supervisor leading a team of talented financial investigators.


Session 3

~ Breakout 1 ~

October 11th @ 10:25 a.m. – 11:15 a.m. Oscar Harvin, Ph.D, CFE, CPA

TITLE: Highly Skeptical and Financially Savvy Individuals Can be Vulnerable to Becoming Victims of Financial Fraud

DESCRIPTION:   Every day we hear about a new victim of fraud or scam. While there tends to be an impression that the victims are isolated, easily duped people, the reality is that anyone can be a victim of fraud.  Intelligent, highly skeptical individuals, with the right tools and methods, can be scammed into being victims.  Gaining a deeper understanding of these issues is the key to being able to develop a healthy awareness of the risk and reduce the prevalence of victimization.

BIO:   Dr. Oscar Harvin is an assistant professor of accounting at Sam Houston State University. He obtained his PhD from Florida Atlantic University and is a certified public accountant, certified fraud examiner as well as a licensed private investigator. His academic research examines the numerous factors that impair the ability of auditors to detect occupational and financial statement fraud. Another objective of his research is to inform both academicians and practitioners of the various fraudulent schemes that are being conducted by criminals. Dr. Harvin’s primary teaching interest is in fraud examination and auditing but is also experienced in teaching income tax related courses.

He has over two decades of auditing and fraud related professional experience. His expertise in conducting investigations from a financial perspective was developed during his many years as a Special Agent with the Criminal Investigation Division of the Internal Revenue Service. During his years as a special agent, he investigated crimes that involve tax fraud, Ponzi schemes, child pornography, domestic terrorism, money laundering and other criminal activities. Professor Harvin leverages his vast professional experiences to prepare students for careers that involve fraud examinations such as auditors, investigators, cyber security, law enforcement and other fraud related careers.


~ Breakout 2 ~

October 11th @ 10:25 a.m. – 11:15 a.m. Valerie Turner, J.D.  Harris County District Attorney’s Office

TITLE:  How Fraud Examiners Can Assist in Consumer Fraud Crimes

DESCRIPTION: 

Valerie Turner, a seasoned prosecutor with the Harris County District Attorney’s office, will peel back the curtains on what types of fraud prosecutions are occurring locally in the greater Houston area.  In a city of millions, the variety and depth of fraud schemes are many.  Valerie will discuss several diverse types of consumer fraud cases and how fraud examiners can help piece together those investigations/prosecutions.  In presenting these real world examples, she will summarize aggregate theft and give example fact patterns.  Cases mentioned will include construction fraud, investment fraud, land theft, car cases, mortgage fraud, Ponzi schemes, etc.

 BIO: Valerie Turner has been an Assistant District Attorney at the Harris County District Attorney's Office for over 26 years. She is the Chief of the Consumer Fraud section of the Financial Crimes Division after having worked in Consumer Fraud since 2003. Previously, Valerie has been assigned to the Trial Bureau, Family Criminal Law, Child Abuse, Grand Jury, and Juvenile divisions. She graduated from the University of Houston Law Center in May of 1997 and began working as an assistant district attorney after taking the Texas bar exam. During her career as a prosecutor, Valerie has handled misdemeanors and felonies of all levels. She has tried 70 felony jury trials, as well as handling court trials, punishment hearings, and at times, post-conviction writs.

As a Consumer Fraud prosecutor, Valerie prosecutes a variety of crimes involving victims who are consumers of goods or services. A consumer can be an individual or a business. She typically handles cases involving land theft, securities fraud, Ponzi schemes, pyramid schemes, trademark counterfeiting, construction fraud, and other large thefts involving numerous complainants. Valerie especially enjoys prosecuting real estate fraud.  Valerie has been married for 20 years and has two children.


Session 4

~ Breakout 1 ~

October 11th @ 11:20 a.m. – 12:10 p.m.  Paul Raffile

TITLE: INTERNATIONAL FRAUD INVESTIGATION TO TAKE DOWN SEXTORTIONISTS

DESCRIPTION:   Financial sextortion groups like the Yahoo Boys are "master manipulators" who usually open their conversation with a target with some flirty chat that quickly turns sexual before sending a (fake) explicit image and requesting the same.  Once compromised, criminals blackmail their targets with vicious and serious consequences, including financial ruin and suicide.  While the crime of sextortion is not exactly new, in the past two years, it has been increasingly weaponized for financial gain and the targets are getting younger.  On Instagram, scammers can 'catfish' up to 100 young users a day using the same fake profiles with the same profile photos.  "These are all detectable patterns that the platforms should be able to identify and then prevent this behavior from occurring.” While Meta's Dangerous Organizations and Individuals policy has done "a fairly good job" of de-platforming terrorist organizations like ISIS, Raffile says, they do not appear to view groups like the Yahoo Boys as dangerous because they are not necessarily violent. He disagrees with this assessment. Paul will speak about this dangerous trend and what its future is.

BIO:  TBD


~ Breakout 2 ~

October 11th @ 11:20 a.m. – 12:10 p.m. Speaker from Forvis Mazars

TITLE: TBD

DESCRIPTION: TBD

BIO: TBD


Session 5

Breakout 1 

October 11th @ 1:00 p.m. – 2:40 p.m. Catherine Manyoma, PWC

TITLE: Thought Leadership Corruption in Latin America - Opportunities, Challenges and Risks

DESCRIPTION:  TBD

BIO: Catherine is a Manager in PwC’s Investigations & Forensics practice in Houston, TX. Catherine has over 8 years of experience in Anti-Bribery and Anti-Corruption (ABAC) and fraud investigations, risk assessments, litigation support and compliance. Catherine’s experience also includes working for an Oilfield Services company performing the following types of audits: SOX compliance, financial, operational, and vendor audits at both domestic and international locations including France, Netherlands and Canada. Catherine is a native English and Spanish speaker and has led investigation in Latin America.​ Catherine received her Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from the Inter-American University of Puerto Rico.

 Breakout 2

October 11 @1:00 – 1:50 pm Tina Hernandez-Farrell, MFS, CFE Texas Education Agency

TITLE: Internal Fraud Investigations

DESCRIPTION:   TBD

BIO: Tina is the Director of the Investigations Unit for the Texas Education Agency.  She supervises a unit of investigators who perform highly complex investigative work for the Educator Investigations Unit for TEA, with a primary focus on planning, organizing, and conducting administrative investigations regarding allegations of Educator Misconduct. Have knowledge and understand investigative principles, techniques, and procedures, Knowledge of court procedures, practices and rules of evidence, and Knowledge of local, state, and federal laws and regulations. Conduct interviews, take statements, gather and analyze records, prepare investigative reports and referrals.  Tina has a Masters in Forensics from National University and an undergraduate degree from University of Texas San Antonio (UTSA).


 Session 6

General Session Red Oak Ballroom

October 11th @ : 2:00 PM – 2:50 PM Steve Lupo, FBI 

TITLE: Trends in Cybersecurity

DESCRIPTION:   Cybersecurity is a field which is changing faster than we can imagine.  There are several threats driving cyber risk:  Artificial intelligence (AI), which analyzes vast amounts of data often missed by humans. New risks of a remote workforce.  There is a growing Concern of Mobile Security  Cloud Security and Compliance Automation, and data breaches.  The abundance of an IOT (the Internet of Things), and of course, State-Sponsored Cyberthreats.  Steve will discuss how the FBI and the US government address these risks.

BIO: TBD


 Session 7 - Keynote Closing Session - General Session

October 11th @ : 2:55 pm - 3:55 pm Sherron Watkins, Enron Whistleblower

TITLE: Ethical Lessons from the Enron Scandal and Whistleblowing in the Era of Dodd-Frank Act

DESCRIPTION: “On the surface, Enron was a company of winners. At the dawn of the twenty-first century, those who were bright, young, and fiscally ambitious were reassessing their career choices. They could slave away in some fusty commercial bank or corporation for years at a salary in the high five figures. Or they could join a Wall Street investment bank, where they could make a lot of money but never really create anything of value. And then there was Enron. Those who packed their bags and raced to Houston were the ones who wanted to run their own show right away by the time they were twenty-five, salary commensurate with their genius.

Sherron Watkins had parlayed her background in accounting into one job as a portfolio manager for various multimillion-dollar funds, another job where she wined and dined bankers to keep loans flowing, and another job where she traveled the world to drum up new clients for Enron's international energy division. But every time she got comfortable, mastering the position and the attendant politics, she would get word that a reorganization was in the works, and she would have to start all over again. She knew from office gossip, in fact, that her boss was on the way out. If Sherron wasn't careful, she would be too. It didn’t take long to see that something was seriously wrong”. Someone had to step up…

Enron’s leadership pursued best practices on paper, but behaviors told a different story, setting up a culture and value system that became a breeding ground for not just thinking outside of the box, or pushing the envelope, but for actual fraud. Enron was known as the most innovative company – in fact Fortune Magazine named Enron just that, for seven years in a row. Unfortunately, the dark side of innovation is fraud. And the interesting thing about white collar crime is that it involves 3 key factors: extreme pressure to meet a goal (be that an earnings target or to obtain more money personally, etc.); the opportunity to cheat; and most importantly - the rationalization that it’s not cheating.

BIO: Known internationally as the Enron whistleblower, Sherron speaks around the globe to a broad range of audiences about ethics and leadership, and the lessons to be learned from the collapse of Enron, where she served in a variety of executive positions for 8 over years. Sherron was employed for over two decades as an executive for three large global companies, the accounting firm Arthur Andersen, Metallgessellschaft AG, the German metals giant, and Enron Corp. All were multi-billion dollar companies brought down by scandal. Sherron has seen firsthand the cost of an erosion in values. Her journey through the Enron crisis has inspired many, and has crystallized her focus to share and to improve the lot of whistleblowers and would-be whistleblowers.

Sherron Watkins is the former Vice President of Enron Corporation who alerted then chairman Ken Lay in August 2001 to accounting irregularities within the company, warning him that Enron ‘might implode in a wave of accounting scandals.’ She has testified before Congressional Committees investigating Enron’s demise from both the House and the Senate. Sherron received national acclaim for her courageous actions and TIME magazine named Sherron along with two others, Coleen Rowley of the FBI and Cynthia Cooper of WorldCom, as their 2002 Persons of the Year, calling it “The Year of the Whistleblower.”

In recognition of her outstanding demonstration of ethics in the workplace, Ms. Watkins has received numerous honors, including the Court TV Scales of Justice Award and its Everyday Hero’s Award, the Women Mean Business Award from the Business and Professional Women/USA Organization, and the 2003 Woman of the Year Award by Houston Baptist University. Glamour Magazine named her one of its 2002 Women of the Year, and Barbara Walters included her as one of the 10 Most Fascinating People of 2002. In 2003, the National Academy of Management presented Ms. Watkins with their Distinguished Executive Award and the Women’s Economic Round Table honored her with the Rolfe Award for Educating the Public about Business and Finance.

Watkins now lectures on leadership and ethics as Professor of the Practice at Kenan-Flagler at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Watkins is co-author of Power Failure, the Inside Story of the Collapse of Enron, (Doubleday, 2003). Ms. Watkins is a Certified Public Accountant. She holds a Masters in Professional Accounting as well as a B.B.A. in accounting and business honors from the University of Texas at Austin.

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software