Markopolos' Testimony Inspires Teachers and Students

By Richard Hurley, Ph.D., J.D., M.S., CPA, ACFE Educator Associate

Fraud EDge  

As educators, we can learn from Harry Markopolos’ testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives about the Madoff fraud case. Are we doing everything possible to prepare our students to be the best future fraud fighters? Let’s look at the lessons from Markopolos’ journey for justice.

When a Certified Fraud Examiner makes the news in a big way, it presents the perfect opportunity for an educator like me to use that CFE as an inspiring example for my students. I assigned my financial accounting students to watch and analyze the Feb. 4 testimony of Harry Markopolos, CFE, CFA, before the U.S. House of Representatives Financial Subcommittee on Central Markets about the Madoff Ponzi scheme. (Also see the cover story on page 36.) Markopolos’ testimony was ideal for demonstrating to my students how a real fraud examination might work – from suspicion, to investigation, and finally to litigation. I could only hope it would also encourage a sense of civic duty.


As we watched Markopolos testify, this line hit me: “Because nothing was done, I became fearful for the safety of my family.” As an educator, I’d never really considered that my students could encounter danger and personal risk as they investigated suspected fraudsters. It dawned on me that they’re only as prepared as we equip them to be, and the educational focus is usually on tools and techniques of detecting and preventing fraud. It doesn’t typically include risk assessment of family safety.  

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