The Zicklin Forensic Accounting Association Board was honored to invite the most experienced Forensic Auditor from the NYS Office of the Inspector General, W. Valentine Douglas, back to Baruch for an amazingly informative event. This year, Mr. Douglas focused on combating corruption as one of the goals of a fraud investigation.
Why Fight Corruption?
As one of the main obstacles to sustainable economic, political and social development, amongst all types of economies, corruption reduces efficiency and increases inequality. We learned that according to estimates from the World Economic Forum and the World Bank, the cost of corruption equals more than 5% of global GDP ($2.6 Trillion), with over $1 trillion paid in bribes each year. It’s not only a question of ethics; we also cannot afford a waste of funds that could be better used on economical, educational, or infrastractural development. Moreover, corruption wastes, or makes inefficient use of, public resources, excludes poor people from public services and perpetuates poverty, corrodes public trust, and undermines the rule of law and ultimately delegitimizes the state. Mr. Douglas believes that ethical arousal within the young accountant community will eventually help to create a more ethical financial environment in the future.
Additionally, Mr. Douglas reminded us of the process of fraud investigation using one of the not-for-profit corruption cases that he had closed before. To investigate this kind of case, investigators would often look at critical people’s background, such as who their relatives are and what other financial interests they would have, as a process in identifying other key players. The investigative process is not a straight line standard operating procedure. As a result, investigators have to think outside the box and sometimes go back to the beginning as needed if new leads occur in the middle of the process. Eventually, conclusive evidence that will bring down the “bad guys” will be delivered to prosecutors who will then present that evidence in court. Form 990 and bank statements are always useful as databases worth examining.
Written by: Ginny Gao
Edited by: Russell Bruskin