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5 Crazy Fraud Stories You Would Never Believe (If They Weren’t True)

acfe global fraud conference

From Russian government assassinations to multimillion-dollar blood-testing scams, there’s never a shortage of surreal fraud stories to rock the financial industry each year. And each year, the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) hosts the ACFE Global Fraud Conference to bring to life these hardly believable (yet true) financial cases by way of those who lived through or uncovered them.

The 30th Annual ACFE Global Fraud Conference will be June 23-28 in Austin, Texas. (Those who can’t make it to Austin are encouraged to attend the Virtual Conference online.) The event features more than 80 speakers who will recall their fraud experiences of working for some of the most prestigious private and public financial institutions in the world.

Here’s a preview of five of the juiciest ones—but if you want the full stories and more, you’ll have to attend the conference.

1. From Russia to financial fraud with Browder

While it may sound more like a campy James Bond plot than a real-life money-laundering scheme, the tax return fraud that pitted Hermitage Capital head Bill Browder against the Russian government is every bit as real as Ernst Stavro Blofeld’s obsession with Persian cats.

According to testimony given by Browder’s tax advisor Sergei Magnitsky in 2009, Russian police and tax officials tried to steal $230 million in Russian taxes paid by Browder’s Moscow-based investment firm, Hermitage Capital.

Here’s where things take a turn for the Orwellian: Shortly after Magnitsky reported his findings to authorities, he was jailed and ultimately killed in prison.

Browder will be on hand at this year’s ACFE Global Fraud Conference to talk about the mind-blowing investigation and the resulting death of his friend, his involvement in passing the Magnitsky Act, and Russia’s current efforts to put him behind bars.

2. An offshore drilling

In what has been lauded as one of the largest and most successful financial data combs in history, the Panama Papers and Paradise Papers would never have seen the light of day if not for German journalist Bastian Obermayer.

After receiving information from anonymous sources, he and a team of other journalists exposed companies as big as Apple and Nike for their illegal offshore tax havens.

Just how big is this speaker? Alex Winter, who played Bill in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, recently directed a Hulu documentary about Obermayer’s financial fraud bombshell. Air guitar solo!

3. Financial fraud presidential prowess

As the first female to serve as chief information officer for a White House administration, from 2006 to 2008 Theresa Payton was in charge of countering the most egregious cyberattacks on our nation’s financial sector during the dawn of a new age of computer hacking.

Today, she is the founder and CEO of Fortalice Solutions and the co-founder of the cybersecurity firm Dark Cubed. Payton is regarded as one of the top 50 IT security experts in the world. As a speaker at this year’s ACFE Global Fraud Conference, she’ll have plenty to talk about—including her stint as an actor on the CBS show “Hunted.”

4. Breaking bad guys

You might call Lisa Osofsky the Harvey Dent of the fraud world (minus the whole acid-in-the-face thing). As a former FBI lawyer in the U.S., she helped put away high-level mafia figures, predatory lenders, and other financial swindlers.

One of her most notable prosecutions came in 2012, when HSBC failed to act on the Mexican drug cartel money being laundered through its banks. Monitoring the group’s financial moves for months, Osofsky and her team sprang into action—helping the U.S. Department of Justice force a $1.9 billion settlement from the British company.

In 2018, she became the U.K.’s director of the Serious Fraud Office, bringing her no-nonsense Gotham-esque crime-fighting experience across the pond. You won’t want to miss her when she heads to Austin in June (register for the ACFE Global Fraud Conference now).

5. Being positive about bloody financial fraud

Known as the key whistleblower at the now-defunct Theranos healthcare group, Tyler Shultz exposed the company for its false claim that it had invented technology to minimize blood-testing practices. Subsequently, its founder Elizabeth Holmes was indicted on wire fraud and conspiracy charges, with much of the evidence against her derived from Shultz’s depositions and interviews.

Shultz is now the CEO and co-founder of Flux Biosciences Inc. and was named a “30 Under 30” by Forbes in 2017. He’ll be accepting an award at this year’s conference.

Hear the full financial fraud stories at the ACFE Global Fraud Conference

In addition to the distinguished speakers and keynote sessions, this year’s ACFE Global Fraud Conference will feature two new programs designed to help you earn the CFE credential.

Attendees will also have access to more than 100 educational sessions and can earn up to 40 CPE credits. On top of that, it’s a fun networking experience that gives you a competitive edge among your financial peers.

Don’t miss this opportunity to accelerate your finance or accounting career—and hear all of the exclusive details from this year’s biggest financial fraud stories. Plan to be in Austin, Texas, from June 23-28 to attend the 30th Annual ACFE Global Fraud Conference.

(If you can’t get to Austin but don’t want to miss out, you can still attend the Virtual Conference for access to live online sessions, on-demand videos, and the opportunity to earn up to 26 CPE credits.)

Learn more about the ACFE Global Fraud Conference.

Or go ahead and register for the ACFE Global Fraud Conference event now.