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Incorporating Practicing Professionals in the Classroom


Dick RileyFranco Frande   Fraud EDge  

Dick Riley Jr., Ph.D., CFE, CPA, is the new chair of the ACFE Higher Education Advisory Committee and editor of the Fraud EDge column. Franco Frandé is chief of the Financial Investigative Services Division of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Franco joins Dick in this column to talk about the ways ATF instructors help teach college students practical fraud examination and forensic principles. – ed. 

From Franco Frandé:When I speak to college students in the classroom, I’ll often tell the shocking story of Christopher Wood. Christopher was 10 years old when his father (we’ll call him Sam) killed him for life and fire insurance money. Sam strangled Christopher, started a fire in the family home, and then drove several miles and tossed Christopher’s body onto the side of the road near a lake.

Sam told law enforcement and the media that Christopher accidentally started the fire and then ran away. Sam tearfully pleaded on a TV newscast for his son’s safe return. At the time, no one except Sam knew Christopher was dead.

For weeks prior to the fire and murder, Sam had set up the crime by talking with others about the “problem” he was having with his son playing with matches. Sam also planted matches under a couch seat cushion so his daughter would discover them when she cleaned the house. 

Sam’s intent was to use the insurance money to pay back his former employer as restitution for a fraud that Sam had been caught perpetrating. The employer had agreed to not file charges if Sam reimbursed the company for the missing funds. The employer didn’t know Sam had stolen from previous employers who had opted to fire him without pressing charges.

Christopher might still be alive today if one of the prior employers had prosecuted Sam. Their choices allowed Sam, a habitual criminal, to quietly move from victim to victim.




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