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  • Spring Seminar 2022

Spring Seminar 2022

  • May 09, 2022
  • 8:15 AM - 12:30 PM
  • Group Live


  • Discounted registration for members of the Austin Chapter
  • This type of registration is only available for students who are current members of the Austin Chapter of the ACFE.

Registration is closed


Description: Multiple speakers will share their expertise on the topics of whistleblower regulations, enhancing presentations, and fraud ethics.  Total of 4 CPE, including 2 hours of Ethics.  NOTE:  Each paid participant attending the Spring Showcase will receive a complimentary copy of the New Whistleblower's Handbook.

Speakers & Session Topics:

1) Steve M. Kohn is one of the nation’s leading whistleblower & qui tam attorneys. He won the largest-ever individual whistleblower reward/qui tam payment for UBS whistleblower Bradley Birkenfeld ($104 million). His successful advocacy has resulted in landmark precedents in whistleblower & qui tam law.  He helped draft key whistleblower legislation & regulatory rules, including those incorporated into the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, Dodd-Frank Act, the IRS Qui Tam whistleblower amendments, and the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act. 

His record of winning whistleblower cases dates back to 1984.  He was peer-review rated by the National Law Journal as one of the 50-top plaintiff’s lawyers in the United States, the only whistleblower rights lawyer to achieve this distinction.  He is the author of the first legal treatise on whistleblowing & is the world’s most published author on whistleblower protection. His most recent book is The New Whistleblower’s Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Doing What’s Right and Protecting Yourself. In 1988 he co-founded the National Whistleblower Center, where he currently serves, pro bono, as the Chairman of the Board of Directors. 

Topic:  "Whistleblower Regulations & Protections for the Private & Government Sectors"     Numerous federal & state regulations are intended to provide whistleblowers with protections such as non-retaliation by employers.  Because of the variety of regulations, overlap & priorities, & exceptions, extensive knowledge is required to navigate the regs & to be certain that no step or requirement is missed.  The rules that apply for whistleblowers in the public/government sector are not necessarily the same as those in the private sector (SOX, Dodd-Frank, etc).  One agency's rules may supersede another. The best possible guide through this maze is guest speaker Steve Kohn, pre-eminent expert on whistleblower regulations &  co-founder of the National Whistleblower Center.  Read more at:  and

2) Dr. Billy Earnest is an expert on communicating effectively through slides, having studied & written about this subject for many years. He has also published a book/guide on the topic--Save Our Slides: Presentation Design That Works--now in its 4th edition. He has worked with corporate clients & with attorneys to provide litigation support to assure top-notch & effective presentations. He has taught Business Communication at UT-Austin's McCombs School & has been on the faculty of St. Edward's University since 2005.

Topic:  "Power Up Your Presentations - part 2"  Highly-rated when he first held a session for Austin ACFE, Dr. Earnest is back by popular demand to provide advice and insights for making your PowerPoint presentations more effective and persuasive.  Whether for in-house training & committee reports or for courtroom testimony, you will benefit from his advice on how to your slides can best convey your intended message.  This session will include a brief review of topics such as:  font style & size, color choices, and visual balance of elements.  Additional subjects will include appropriate use of audio-visual effects and handling data, numbers, & graphs. 

3) Laura Hughes is the founding CEO & president of Fleur De Lis Development Corp. in St. Louis, Missouri.  While in law school, she worked at the World Trade Center, a division of the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership where she assisted the developer community with economic development incentive programs, federal & state-based tax credits, & EB-5 foreign direct investment. Fascinated by the EB-5 program, Hughes became COO for Great Southwest Regional Center & managed foreign direct investment in Oil & Gas Saltwater Recycling Facilities in West Texas.  She directed all aspects of foreign & domestic EB-5 investment & international compliance with USCIS, SEC, Texas Railroad Commission, OSHA regulations.   She also saw how fraud perpetrators misused the EB-5 program to carry out their schemes. Hughes currently teaches as an adjunct instructor of Business Law Ethics at the graduate & undergraduate levels. 

Topic:  “Regulatory Ethics & Fraud Schemes Under the Foreign Direct Investment Program (EB-5)”     The Foreign Direct Investment Program (aka, Immigrant Investor Program) was well intentioned when enacted in 2019, with the purpose of stimulating the U.S. economy through job creation & capital investment by foreign investors.  It also provides a path to legal residency for foreign investors and is administered by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).  Fraudulent schemes quickly became so widespread that Congress had to enact legislation to try to prevent fraud under the act by passing legislation known as the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022.  This session will provide practical perspectives on compliance requirements under EB-5 and how legal/contractual language creates ambiguity that may result in ethical dilemmas and, ultimately, may lead to fraudulent schemes. 

Learning Objectives - After attending all three sessions, participants will be able to:  *describe whistleblower regulations & applicability in specific situations

*prepare more powerful & effective slide presentations

*explain fraud schemes in the area of EB5 Foreign Direct Investments and associated ethical considerations

Recommended CPE credit & Field of Study:  4 total CPE hours & field of Specialized Knowledge (for CPAs); includes 2 hours Fraud Ethics

Refund, Cancellation & No-Show Policy: Refunds of fees paid for internet-based sessions may be provided only if registrant contacts Austin ACFE within 24 hours of the start time of the session & documents an emergency or similar event that prevented participation. For in-person events, registration cancellations and refund request must be made by contacting Austin ACFE within 5 calendar days from the start time of the session.  Cancellations received less than 5 days prior to events will not be refunded except for exigent circumstances.  Contact must be made via email to:

In the event a registrant does not show up to an event, the registration cost will be forfeited. If payment at the door was the selected method, the registrant will be billed for the full cost of the event. The Austin ACFE reserves the right to bar from future events registrants who routinely register and fail to pay and/or attend the event.

For events provided by the Austin chapter at no cost to registrants, there will be no refunds.

Complaint Resolution Policy:  Any concerns or complaints about registration for an event must be made within 14 calendar days of the event (with the event date counting as day 1) in writing to:  

NASBA Registry: The Austin Area chapter of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. State boards of accountancy have final authority on the acceptance of individual courses for CPE credit. Complaints regarding registered sponsors may be submitted to the National Registry of CPE Sponsors through its website:

Non-profit Status:  The Austin Area Chapter of The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners is a non-profit organization formed in the State of Texas and registered as a 501 (C) (6) organization with the IRS.

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Austin Area Chapter of the ACFE

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