Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Business Cards and Networking Basics - The Currency of Meetings, Training and Conferences

Professional networking is something all generations (old and new - baby boomers, millennials, gen x and gen y) need to understand and participate in for building careers, sharing ideas and generating opportunities. While social media and other venues such as LinkedIn are great for building a professional network there is no substitute for face to face, handshaking experiences of live meetings, training, and conferences. Recently I attended an IIA Chapter meeting held in a restaurant. The meetings are scheduled in a banquet room and they are set up with a number of tables, place settings etc. As soon as attendees arrive they begin by getting a drink and salads/appetizers. They then choose a table and sit (usually with their company peers). I am a firm believer that professional meetings should start with a meet and greet in order to network and work the room for new faces as well as old. Coming into a room where the tables are arranged and set is not conducive to networking. As it was apparent that people had already chosen their tables and were glued to their seats I had little choice but to do the same. I greeted my table mates, exchanged names and gave them my business card. The new people I met, awkwardly said they did not have business cards with them. Is this the next generation of leaders that see no need for a business card? When I am lucky enough to receive a business card from someone I try to learn something about them and then make a note on the back of the card for future reference. It is a great way to build your network and find people with shared interests or those who may have knowledge that you can tap into down the road.  Unfortunately I see this repeated when I go to conferences or training events. 

As the title of this post suggests business cards are currency and you can use them as a reminder of an individuals name, company, title and most importantly contact information. You can put them in your pocket for later reference to add into your networking database or list of contacts. Like currency when you need them you can withdraw them for follow up, advice or opportunities. Business cards are quite inexpensive to produce and they should be a staple in you networking tool box. More importantly meeting organizers and planners should incorporate a networking time perhaps in an area outside where the meal is served. Have the bar and some light appetizers so that attendees can mingle and meet new faces, share their business cards and develop new contacts.  

I am interested in what others have to say and share their experiences with business cards and networking. It may seem a bit old fashioned but it is definitely a way for all professionals to build and maintain a network. You never know when you need that network so why not make it a part of every business situation you experience!

If want other tips for networking and audit resources and tools check out AuditNet!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Fraud News - Nonprofit Official Admits Theft of Millions

Director/ Treasurer of Non-Profits Admits to Stealing over $2 Million

Fabricated Documents to Conceal Fraudulent Transfers of Money from the American Registry of Pathology over a Four Year Period

Greenbelt, Maryland – Michael Parry, age 58, of Windermere, Florida pleaded guilty today to wire fraud and money laundering.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Kevin Perkins of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Frank Robey, Director of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command's Major Procurement Fraud Unit.
According to his plea agreement, in 1998 Parry was hired by the American Registry of Pathology (ARP) as its director of operations, and was promoted to executive director in 2014, a role he had been acting in since October 2011.  The ARP is a non-profit organization that supports pathology services in the armed forces, and also engaged in non-governmental work, including the funding of fellowships and research studies in pathology. ARP has administrative offices in Rockville, Maryland and Camden, Delaware.
The International Registry of Pathology (IRP) is a non-profit organization that promotes the study of pathology on an international scale, by supporting pathologists and pathology students in less-developed countries.  Parry served as treasurer of IRP.  By October 2011, Parry was in control of IRP bank accounts.
From February 17, 2010 to April 21, 2014, Parry directed the payment of money from an ARP account to an IRP account by wire transfers.  Parry falsely described the wire transfers as related to medical studies, research grants or other activities normally funded by ARP.  Parry fabricated documents including: falsified invoices from a legitimate ARP vendor related to medical research studies; emails from himself to others purporting to memorialize conversations in which Parry sought and was granted approval for funding fictional research fellowships; and wire transfer documents purportedly showing that payments were made directly from ARP’s accounts to legitimate ARP vendors or educational institutions.
 Parry then transferred funds from the IRP account to a personal account he controlled.  The total loss to ARP as a result of the fraud scheme was $2,199,504.09.  Parry has agreed to the entry of an order to pay restitution in this amount.
Parry faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for wire fraud and 10 years in prison for money laundering.   U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte has scheduled sentencing for December 18, 2015 at 9:30 a.m.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the FBI and Army CID for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joseph R. Baldwin and David L. Salem, who are prosecuting the case.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Opportunity Opens the Door - Ex-Deputy Charged with Stealing over $200,000.

Fraud stories always intrigue me as a Certified Fraud Examiner and former Director of Internal Audit for local government.  The article in the Metro Section of the Washington Post on July 10, 2015 caught my eye. As I read the story I was not surprised to find the element of opportunity allowed this fraud to happen. It covered the same fraud scenarios and red flags that auditors and anti-fraud professionals see every day. The fraud spanned 3 years and the characteristics that allowed this to happen have been repeated over and over. The first control weakness was inadequate segregation of duties. The person in charge of the asset forfeiture program was given "unchecked authority". The suspect (in charge of the program) had access to money, seized vehicles and other assets. The individual took over the program in 2006 and began embezzling in 2010 and it continued until 2013. He deposited the money directly into his own bank account (what was he thinking)? The suspect was "well liked" in the agency and received a meritorious service award in 2011. Have you ever heard of a fraudster who was not a model employee and well liked by fellow workers? A check of his history found that he filed for bankruptcy ten years earlier. Statements by supervisors were "probably one of the last people I would have thought would steal". Red flags started in 2012 when money from narcotics seizures were missing from the escrow account.   In order to hide the fraud the suspect used a lapping scheme. 

When will business and government heed the warning signs and pay attention to the three pillars of the fraud triangle - motivation, opportunity and rationalization?

Do you have a fraud story to share that shows a breakdown in internal controls? Share them with us.

Jim Kaplan CIA CFE
AuditNet® founder