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2023 Spring Seminar featuring Sherron Watkins (the Enron Whistleblower)

  • May 15, 2023
  • 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM
  • St. Edward's University, 3001 S. Congress, Austin, Texas; Trustee Hall, room #203 *OR* virtual


  • SPECIAL Discounted registration for members of the Austin Chapter. Lunch provided to in-person participants.
  • SPECIAL Discounted registration for members of the Austin Chapter attending *Virtually*
  • Discounted fee for virtual attendance by non-member.
  • Discounted fee for in-person attendance. Lunch provided for in-person participants.
  • This type of registration is only available for students who are current members of the Austin Chapter of the ACFE.

2023 Spring Seminar

Featuring Sherron Watkins

St. Edward's University, 3001 S. Congress (Trustee Hall #203). Refer to your Registration Confirmation (sent via email) for parking requirements. You must pre-register your vehicle to avoid a ticket. 

Description:   Multiple sessions will be presented for a total of 6 CPE hours, including Fraud Ethics (2 hrs), for a low cost of only $100 each plus lunch is provided for in-person participants.  Share this information with a colleague so they can attend, too!  Sessions will cover the topics described below.

Agenda, Speakers & Topics: 

8:30-8:50a  Coffee & Networking

8:50-9:00a   Welcome & Announcements

9:00-10:30a  Sherron Watkins (known as the Enron Whistleblower) will discuss "Leadership Lessons from the Enron Scandal...Why People in Authority do not ask the Hard Questions." She was VP of Enron Corporation when she alerted then-CEO Ken Lay in August 2001 to accounting irregularities within the company, warning him that Enron "might implode in a wave of accounting scandals."  

In addition to the executives who committed fraud at Enron, other people in authority (such as creditors and board members) did not ask probing questions to determine the true nature of the company's financial situation.  They disregarded the adage of "Trust but verify."  This session will explore the reasons why they did not speak up and demand answers to the hard questions and the strategies required to get those answers.

11:00a-noon  "ChatGPT & AI - Basics" by Zach Kelley, a faculty member at Texas State University in the department of Information Systems & Analytics where he teaches a variety of topics that have included: Information Security, Accounting Information Systems, Business Intelligence, Programming, Agile, Statistical Analysis, and ERP Learn the basics of how ChatGPT & AI work and the capabilities.  This session will provide the basic mechanics of how ChatGPT works...what it can & cannot do.

12:30-1:50p  "ChatGPT & AI - Implications for Fraud Examiners" by Zach Kelley  This session will build on the earlier session and will be structured so that participants can describe how they are (or soon will be) using this technology in their fraud examination work and how they are currently seeing (or anticipate) fraud perpetrators will utilize the technology.  There will also be a discussion of how AI such as ChatGPT is already being used to commit fraud.

2:00-4:00p  "Our Greatest Adversities Do Not have to be the End" by Craig Stanland is the story of his roller-coaster ride after perpetrating a purchasing fraud (of more than $800,000) against his employer, a multi-national tech giant.  He will discuss how both personal and professional influences caused him to change his behavior, disregard his own ethical beliefs, and make unethical (and illegal) choices that put him in prison for two years.  He will share how a fraud perpetrator can rebuild their life. 

Learning Objectives - After attending these sessions, participants will be able to:

  • Utilize appropriate strategies to ask comprehensive questions that should extract complete data related to questionable financial situations
  • Describe the basic functioning and capabilities of ChatGPT and AI
  • Identify & explain how ChatGPT and AI can assist fraud examiners in their work and the potential uses of this functionality by fraud perpetrators
  • Describe ways in which pressure, opportunity, and rationalization influence a fraud perpetrator to make choices that violate their own and society's ethical expectations.
Recommended CPE credit & Field of Study:  6 total CPE hours (including 2 hours of Fraud Ethics) & field of Specialized Knowledge

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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