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Forensic Accounting with Leah Wietholter

Forensic Accounting with Leah Wietholter

Update: 2022-06-01


Data entry may seem boring, but you never know the story behind the information being entered and the patterns that emerge. Some data has distinctive characteristics that point towards fraudulent activities. Today’s guest is Leah Wietholter. Leah is the CEO and founder of Workman Forensics as well as the host of the Investigation Game Podcast. After working for the FBI, she has served as the Senior Certified Fraud Examiner in Tulsa and she currently volunteers as a treasurer for the Tulsa Crime Stoppers. With over 15 years of experience and more than 100 cases worked, Leah has honed her industry expertise to create the Data Sleuth Process, a scalable data-first approach to forensic accounting engagement and fraud investigations. 

Show Notes:

  • [1:03 ] - Welcome to the show, Leah! Leah shares her background and current role as founder of Workman Forensics.
  • [2:08 ] - What sets Workman Forensics apart is their creative team and Investigation Games.
  • [4:26 ] - Forensics accounting started becoming more common, but Leah shares how she became a part of the FBI accounting team.
  • [6:13 ] - While in the FBI, she was heavily involved in data entry and also testified for grandy jury after Hurricane Katrina.
  • [7:58 ] - Many times, fraud is determined simply by entering data and seeing patterns.
  • [9:25 ] - Leah explains a tool developed by Workman Forensics to see anomalies within data that indicate fraud.
  • [11:41 ] - By building up from this information, categories for fraud risk can easily be seen.
  • [13:18 ] - Business owners need to know what money enters the business, what form of payment, who touches the money, and what money leaves the business.
  • [14:29 ] - Pay close attention to your payroll reports.
  • [16:04 ] - You need to also know what is normal for your business, then always look for things that look off.
  • [17:31 ] - Chris shares an unusual statement he received and why it looked odd.
  • [19:08 ] - People committing embezzlement typically pay themselves in even dollar amounts.
  • [20:57 ] - Indicators allow investigators a more defined set of data to look at more closely.
  • [22:46 ] - If the person in charge of your bookkeeping isn’t reconciling, you have a problem. Leah explains what reconciling is.
  • [24:57 ] - You don’t always know how much money you have if you aren’t reconciling.
  • [25:56 ] - Most scams have a lifespan of 18 months, but in these types of financial fraud cases, Leah says they last several years.
  • [26:58 ] - When it comes to financial fraud, Leah says it can’t always be prevented but it is important to detect it quickly.
  • [28:21 ] - When money comes into your business, a certain amount is already called for. The money stolen is the profit.
  • [30:11 ] - You can limit access to accounts through your bank.
  • [32:14 ] - Leah shares the story of the craziest case she worked on.
  • [36:12 ] - In this case, someone was using their own legitimate business to launder money through fake vendors.
  • [37:25 ] - Many people think that if a large sum is stolen that the money can be found somewhere, but in most cases, it has been spent.
  • [40:18 ] - In Tulsa, where Leah is located, there are a lot of casinos but the majority of the embezzlement cases she has worked on are by people with shopping addictions.
  • [42:31 ] - One of the suspicious behaviors for high risk is being loved by management but not by others.
  • [44:24 ] - The feeling of betrayal is the most emotionally charged in these events.
  • [45:13 ] - As the owner, make it a process to check things every month.
  • [46:50 ] - A red flag could be if bookkeepers or accountants are defensive when you want to check things.

Thanks for joining us on Easy Prey. Be sure to subscribe to our podcast on iTunes and leave a nice review. 

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Forensic Accounting with Leah Wietholter

Forensic Accounting with Leah Wietholter

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