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April 1, 2016

New Course Teaches Proper Way to Identify, Examine, (Commit) Fraud

Caitlin Doyle

For all business majors interested in the less prestigious side of their jobs, Manchester is offering a new course: Fraud. This course will include several different versions of committing fraud, how to keep it a secret and (when it is no longer a secret) how to get away with it. Due to the uniqueness of the subject matter, it will be taught be an incoming adjunct instructor Bernie Madoff. He was chosen based on his history of committing what is considered the largest financial fraud in U.S. history. He was also chosen based on connections to many others with similar pasts.

Madoff is a former stockbroker and investment advisor, and was a non-executive chairman of the NASDAQ stock market. Due to various connections, the class will also entertain several guest speakers who will tell their personal stories and give students advice about where they went wrong. These guest speakers would include individuals such as Martha Stewart and Jordan Belfort. Coincidentally, the film “The Wolf of Wall Street” will also be shown in class as well as some episodes of “American Greed.” These visual aids will help students see fraud from the more legal side and better way the mistakes of others.

 In contrast to this class, there is also a fraud examination course. This course counters the new fraud course because it explains how to figure out an individual or company is committing fraud.  According to Professor Jennifer Simmers, “The purpose of a course like this is for students to understand how frauds are committed so that they are better equipped to find them.  Ironically, many fraudsters end up being employed to fight fraud.”

These courses may both be beneficial to business majors whether or not their moral compass points due north. Sophomore accounting major Jennifer Oldaker greatly looks forward to taking this class in the fall. “The fraud class sounds engaging and would help prepare students for a real business environment,” Oldaker said. “The wide variety of guest speakers and the interactive class basis are what really drew me in.”

Oldaker is already VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) certified to prepare other people’s taxes and a class on fraud may help her to “cook the books” for a future employer or to identify others that are committing the fraud.

Another aspect of the course lies within the shared stories of the guest speakers. Several will be names that have been heard before in other courses and will go into more depth than what is readily shared to the public. For instance, the plot of “Wolf of Wall Street” is based on the real life fraudulent activity of speaker Jordan Belfort.  This unique opportunity will allow students to delve into the logic behind one of the more recent fraud crimes and understand how he worked the system for money. In the fall, this course will be added to the curriculum; students better hurry and snag a seat because this course is a hot commodity.