Pamela D. Wickes, the Director of Forensic Accounting at Teal, Becker & Chiaramonte, CPAs, P.C., spoke to a group of school district superintendants and administrators associated with the Schoharie Area School Business Office (SASBO) on the topics of ethics and fraud policies, conflicts of interest and hotlines. The presentation took place on Friday, September 12.
During the presentation, Wickes highlighted the importance of a well implemented and thoroughly designed business ethics program. She also addressed areas of an ethics policy that would be specific to school districts versus a traditional business.
Other tips for developing and maintaining a successful ethics program included strategies to publicize the policy itself. Wickes also shared common conflicts of interest that superintendants and business administrators should be mindful of, as well as the benefits of establishing a hotline for reporting suspicions of fraud or other unethical conduct. She discussed the importance of having a fraud policy and procedures for investigating and reporting alegations appropriately.
Wickes is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), who is also Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF), and Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV) with nearly 20 years of diversified experience in the areas of private and public accounting, various fraud and forensic accounting investigations, internal control consulting, asset tracing, economic damages, family law related services, business valuations, and other litigation support services. She provides consulting and expert witness services, including testimony, to assist attorneys and clients prior to and throughout lawsuits, as well as during settlement negotiations.
Her forensic accounting and litigation support services have included internal control assessments and recommendations; economic damages for loss of profits and/or earnings claims related to fraud, breach of contract or fiduciary duties; owner’s construction contract audit; construction disputes; operational assessments; forensic investigations of factors leading to insolvency; cost/benefit, profitability, and efficiency analysis for programs or business units; forensic analysis for post acquisition disputes and earn out payments; forensic analysis of financial documents; fraud examinations for fidelity and crime insurance claims and prosecution; data reconstruction and analysis; forensic investigation of nominal and beneficial ownership, investments in, entitlements to, and control of assets; lifestyle analysis for matrimonial matters; tracing of assets and financial transactions; witness interviews, and investigations of alleged unreported income, structuring of deposits, corporate financial statement fraud, employee theft and dishonesty, and other financial issues and investigations.
A frequent speaker on the topic of fraud prevention and deterrence, she has presented at continuing education seminars sponsored by the Albany Area Chapter of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, the Practicing Law Institute, North Carolina Association of CPAs, Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA), The Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), as well as seminars to other audiences, including colleges. The topics of her lectures and articles include accounting, financial statements, forensic accounting and legal issues, money laundering, business valuation, collusion, employee embezzlement and fraud prevention and detection.