ACFE Foundation awards scholarships in 22nd year of Ritchie-Jennings Memorial Scholarship Program

The ACFE Foundation has awarded $55,000 to college and university students through the Ritchie-Jennings Memorial Scholarship Program for the 2016-2017 school year. Each recipient also will receive a one-year ACFE student membership.

The ACFE Foundation, a nonprofit entity, raises funds to support the scholarship program for the education of students worldwide who have an interest in pursuing a career in fraud examination or similar fields. Candidates must be enrolled in accounting, business administration, finance or criminal justice higher-education programs. ACFE chapters and ACFE members also help underwrite the scholarships with donations. Also, royalties from books written by ACFE founder and Chairman Dr. Joseph T. Wells, CFE, CPA, help fund the scholarships.

An independent board of directors manages the ACFE Foundation. Its members include: Thomas Shaw, CFE, chairman; Frank Abel, CFE, CFF, CPA, vice chairman (who's also chairman of the ACFE Scholarship Committee); Vice President and General Counsel John Warren, J.D., CFE, secretary; ACFE Vice President and Program Director Bruce Dorris, J.D., CFE, CPA, CVA, treasurer; and Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Jeanette LeVie, CFE, assistant treasurer.

The ACFE Scholarship Committee reviews scholarship applications and recommends recipients to the ACFE Foundation Board of Directors.

"We've received impressive applications from budding fraud examiners from around the world," says Abel. "I welcome them to our family of fraud fighters. We hope these scholarships will help encourage them as they begin their careers.

"I would like to express my sincere thanks to my fellow scholarship committee members for their persistent efforts — Lynn Norton-DeMets, CFE; Cindy Greenman, Ph.D., CFE; Paul Soos, CFE; and Jesse Weideman, CFE, CMA. Each of them provided sincere and honest considerations of each applicant's potential as a scholarship participant.

"As in several years past, we couldn't have completed our duties without the diligence of Lupe De Leon [ACFE scholarship committee liaison]," says Abel. "She provided us with direction, support, advice and friendship. She made the scholarship process seamless."

Dorris says that the ACFE Foundation is grateful to the members who contribute to the scholarship program. "Our profession can't survive unless we support the education of our future fraud examiners," he says. "We're not automatically self-perpetuating. Experienced CFEs have to support the new generation of anti-fraud professionals."

The ACFE's Board of Regents voted to name the scholarship program the Ritchie-Jennings Memorial Scholarships in 1998. Tracy Ritchie, CFE, and Larry Jennings, CFE, CPA, were killed Nov. 12, 1997, in Karachi, Pakistan, when terrorists fired on their vehicle during a business trip.

For more information about the Ritchie-Jennings Memorial Scholarship Program and applying for the 2017-2018 academic year, visit

Following are the recipients for the top seven awards:

$10,000 scholarship: Rachel Stephensen, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Rachel Stephensen is pursuing a Master's Degree in Criminal Justice and maintains a 4.0 GPA. Her interest in the criminal justice field grew when she was accepted to a magnet high school, which specialized in law-related studies. She then obtained a dual Bachelor's in Accounting and Criminal Justice.

Her passion for fighting fraud grew after she saw a preponderance of corporate scandals and white-collar crimes. That led to her current employment with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department's counter-terrorism division where she participates in a Financial Crime Task Force.

To enhance her education and professional growth, Stephensen stays active in organizations such as the ACFE, the International Association of Crime Analysts and the International Association of Law Enforcement Intelligence Analysts. She's also a member of the Nevada chapter of the International Association of Financial Crime Investigators. Her future goal is to obtain the CFE credential and focus on a career combating money laundering and other criminal activities.


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