On Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017, the Zicklin Forensic Accounting Association was delighted to present "Forensic Accounting with Michael Schulstad". Michael Schulstad is a recurring speaker and friend of ZFAA and Baruch College, whose 25 years of experience as an FBI special agent and appointment as Deputy Assistant Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction has continued to compel students every semester to consider career paths in law enforcement and forensic accounting.
Michael spoke of his most memorable criminal cases during the 28 years he was an FBI Special Agent. One of the cases involved massive identity and credit card fraud that transcended state lines and led agents to several casinos in Las Vegas, Nevada. The FBI was able to utilize its unique set of resources and authority to coordinate assistance from law enforcement agencies across the country to crack the case. Another case was a lucrative insurance fraud scheme a husband-wife lawyer team managed with the help of bribed witnesses, doctors, and attorneys. Students were encouraged to present their solutions and methods of investigation, as Michael presented the initial issues and details he was given. Michael also presented scenarios where embezzlement happened because of internal interference and intimidation from management. While reviewing multiple ways to track down the culprit, prevention tactics such as contingent procedures and occasional job rotation were also considered.
It should also be noted the forensic accountant is not limited to one specific role. Their responsibilities vary depending on the jobs they assume, some of which include being an expert witness for litigation and divorce cases, an internal/external fraud investigator, and business appraiser. There are many opportunities and career choices that comes with the decision to become a forensic accountant, and one of them happens to be a special agent within the FBI. The road to becoming an FBI special agent is difficult and competitive, but there is no “cookie cutter” ideal for an FBI special agent, as its investigators come from many different backgrounds, each bringing a distinct perspective and set of skills to the organization. However, Michael also noted that candidates interested in joining the FBI as forensic accountants must have a number of years of experience, with knowledge of a second language being a plus.
Michael concluded the presentation with a Q&A session where one of the last questions was “What would you to consider to be the most exciting part of your career?” Without blinking, Michael answered that working with the FBI was the most rewarding and exciting chapter of his ongoing long run as a forensic accountant. While the path was difficult, he considered the exciting cases and enforcement of justice to be the highlights of the job, in addition to the long-term insurance and pension benefits he has received. The path to becoming an FBI special agent involves many obstacles, but with determination, perseverance, and focus, anyone can become one.
By Serena Law, edited by Dara Chen
This past Tuesday, September 26th, 2017 ZFAA hosted another successful event with EY’s Fraud Investigation and Dispute Services (FIDS). Baruch graduate and undergraduate students arrived at 12:30PM, eager to learn about what consists of Fraud Investigation and Dispute Services and why such a profession is in such high demand.
The event started with members from the EY department introducing themselves. The FIDS members discussed their varying day to day work obligations which included:
Insider trading cases (SEC) focusing on litigation on customer harm
Fraud Risk Assessment
Anti Money Laundering Compliance
Anti Bibery & Corruption Assessments.
Upon the completion of their introductory statements, the members of FIDS at EY broke down who they were and what they do. Many if the members present were Baruch College alumni. They explained EY’s Global fids network which had 154 locations in 73 countries (primarily located in North America, South America, Asia & Africa). They have 194 FIDS Partners and 200+ workers which is rapidly expanding.
They continued to elaborate where FIDS stand in the hierarchy of EY’s Services. FIDS is a part of their Assurance Services where they focus on Fraud Investigation, Dispute Services, Insurance and Federal Claims Services, Government Contract Services and Forensic Technology and Discovery Services (FDTS).
After discussing the general overview of their services, the members of FIDS at EY explained the occupational why working at FIDS at EY is such a great opportunity. All the members unanimously agreed on two major reasons why working in FIDS is a great opportunity: (1) it is an occupation where you obtain a great sense of accomplishment in helping prevent fraudulent behavior; (2) working in FIDS provides one with an introduction to a vast array of accounting skills and services.
Upon completion of their presentation, the FIDS members were kind enough to take the rest of their available time to speak and network with students on an individual basis. It was inspiring to see so many students eager to stay around and learn even more about fraud prevention.
ZFAA would like to thank the members of FIDS who came and offered the time out of their busy day to give aspiring students an insight into what they do on a day to day basis. Lastly we would like to thank all the students who showed up to make this another successful ZFAA Event.
By Anthony Policastro, edited by Serena Law