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Despite whistleblowers uncovering some of the biggest controversies and white-collar crimes of the day, including WikiLeaks, Theranos, the college admissions scandal, and the Boeing 737 scandal, there remains a stigma around whistleblowing that keeps many silenced and much crucial (and potentially life-saving) information concealed. With words such as “rat” “tattletale,” and “snitch” used to describe anyone who leaks information, it is no wonder that whistleblowers are widely disdained and shamed into silence. Forensic Accountant and Educator Kelly Richmond Pope has dedicated her career to studying and understanding white-collar crime. She has traveled around the country interviewing felons, whistleblowers, and victims of fraud in hopes of changing the conversation and connotation around whistleblowing. According to Dr. Pope, most whistleblowers are not disgruntled employees looking for attention, money, or even revenge, but are largely honest, justice-seeking individuals looking to reveal criminal behavior. In this topical discussion, Dr. Pope draws from current and ongoing cases to examine the ethical need for whistleblowers, and the dilemma many of us will inevitably face between loyalty and justice. Despite the toll whistleblowing can take on careers, relationships, and even personal safety, Pope also reveals how most admit the relief they felt after revealing the truth.


From embezzlement and pyramid schemes to false insurance claims, expense reports, tax reports, and overbilling, fraud is committed by millions of people at all levels of organizations. Each year, businesses, governments, and non-profits lose over $3.7 trillion to fraud. Kelly Richmond Pope is a forensic accountant and filmmaker who, for over twenty years, has been studying why ordinary people commit extraordinary crimes. Having interviewed a number of convicted white-collar felons, Pope shares their first-hand accounts, from the alleged business or personal pressures that led to their crimes to their convictions and ultimate time in prison. In this speech, Dr. Pope will outline the three major reasons for fraud: - Pressure — such as personal debts or earning quotas - Opportunity — many people have access to tools to commit and conceal fraud - Rationalization — feelings of entitlement, “borrowing,” or that it is a victim-less crime She will then explain the many scales at which fraud is committed, such as Bernie Madoff, the biggest fraudster of all time, with $64 billion misappropriated, or Rita Crundwell, the largest municipal fraudster and subject of Pope’s award-winning documentary, All the Queen’s Horses, or the least-likely, most inconspicuous office employee that will never be outed and never prosecuted. As leaders, educators, volunteers, and voters are all susceptible to fraud, Dr. Pope will detail how to recognize it, how to curb it, and how to confront it, on a personal and professional level.


Ethics is under attack. Headline after headline cites conflicts of interests of high-profile, powerful figures. From the President and a number of elected officials to numerous CEOs, and the very social media platforms we use, the biggest forces shaping our world are falling short of their responsibility to uphold ethics and create a culture of values and principles. According to Dr. Kelly Richmond Pope, Forensic Accountant and Professor of accounting and ethical leadership, ethics should be a nonpartisan value that we all share. Yet this current political climate does not value ethics or principles, but privilege, power, and money. Defining ethical leadership as established personal and organizational values, realizing a breach of values, and confronting misaligned behavior, a democracy without ethics is destined to fail. In this speech, Dr. Pope explains how establishing ethics in corporations and organizations will lead to a wider ethical environment, but it must come from the top. As ethical leaders put their values before the bottom line, their teams will more likely be loyal, dedicated, and ethical in turn. Dr. Pope also explores how, regardless of your status, raising the “ethical bar” for yourself will also raise it for your team, your organization, and even your family.

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