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Reformed Former White Collar Criminal Offers Excellent Insights Into Preventing Fraud

Auditors, controllers and other financial staff at organizations looking to prevent and detect embezzlement and other fraud would do well to read material appearing on websites and blogs published by reformed white collar criminals. These folks often successfully evaded detection for many years until they were caught, and therefore are "experts" in helping other entities avoid being victimized.

One excellent example is the website and blog of Sam Antar. Antar is the former CFO of defunct electronics retailer Crazy Eddie who helped mastermind one of the largest securities frauds of its time.  A reformed former fraudster (as he calls himself), Antar now writes prolifically on the subject of financial controls and fraud detection. He is a major proponent of Sarbanes-Oxley, and publicly opposes efforts to scale it back.

Antar argues that to effectively combat white collar crime we require:

  • Prevention - Strong internal controls reviewed by competent and independent external auditors. Strong internal controls are barriers to crime for criminals. Internal controls help businesses operate more efficiently and effectively too.
  • Power - Legislation like Sarbanes Oxley and standards issued by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).
  • Professionalism - A better educated, skilled, trained, experienced and independent accounting profession. All efforts at prevention, any legislation, and any standards issued will not be fully effective unless the accounting profession addresses its educational issues.
  • Prosecution - Aggressive prosecution of white collar criminals. Such criminals must know that they will be prosecuted for their actions.
  • Prison - Strong punishment and accountability for those convicted of white collar crimes. Such criminals must be held fully accountable for their actions.


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