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SOU brings well-known speaker to campus for anti-fraud seminar

SOU will host an Oct. 25 fraud prevention seminar with certified public accountant, business consultant and well-known speaker John J. Hall. The event is free and open to all members of the campus community.

Hall, who has spoken to corporations and non-profit organizations around the world, will address “Fraud Deterrence and Prevention Skills for Manager and Staff.” The presentation will be from 9 to 11 a.m. in the Meese Room (#305) of the Hannon Library. Those who wish to attend can RSVP at fis-training@sou.edu or by calling (541) 552-8528.

Hall warns his clients that their organizations are probably already being targeted for fraud. “Internet-based hackers, international organized crime organizations and even a small percentage of employees all see your assets and information as too tempting to ignore,” Hall says on his website.

“Managing business fraud risks requires your daily attention,” he says. “It’s a ‘cat and mouse’ endeavor where the smarter we get, the harder they have to work to get us.”

Hall offers three critical steps that any entity can take to protect itself:

  • Build a culture of honesty within the organization
  • Perform a fraud risk assessment and determine how to mitigate risks
  • Provide anti-fraud skills training

SOU implemented tightened internal controls and mandatory training for employees after the university was the victim of a fraud about a year and a half ago. A policy requiring ongoing risk assessments was applied across the organization.

This month’s seminar, presented by SOU Business Services, is intended to help participants prevent fraud on campus and in their own lives.

Effort underway to recover funds stolen from SOU


NEWS RELEASE (available online at https://goo.gl/82nSS5)
(Ashland, Ore.) — An email scheme was perpetrated against Southern Oregon University earlier this spring by an unknown person or people who fraudulently posed as an official with the contractor for SOU’s McNeal Pavilion and Student Recreation Center construction project.
As a result of this act of criminal fraud, SOU’s April payment to the contractor – about $1.9 million – was transferred to a bank account the company did not control.
Local, state and federal authorities were notified immediately after the fraud was discovered. An investigation was launched and efforts by the university are currently underway on multiple fronts to recover any and all losses.
SOU is fully cooperating with the FBI investigation, with the hope that the criminal or criminals who carried out this fraud can be brought to justice and the stolen money recovered.
“There are lessons here for anyone operating in today’s electronic business environment,” SOU General Counsel Jason Catz said today in a message to campus. “We have learned from law enforcement sources that SOU is not the only victim of this particular scheme, which has targeted other U.S. higher education institutions.
“We are also carefully reviewing our own policies and procedures to determine how we can prevent any similar incidents in the future,” Catz said.
SOU is working to reclaim any funds that remain in the bank account to which they were sent. The university is also determining the extent of its insurance coverage, and how it may help to remedy losses from any unrecovered funds.
​ The incident will not affect any university programs or operations, and will not alter the athletic pavilion construction project, which is scheduled for completion in January.
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About Southern Oregon University
Southern Oregon University provides outstanding student experiences, valued degrees, and successful graduates. SOU is known for excellence in faculty, intellectual creativity and rigor, quality and innovation in connected learning programs, and the educational benefits of its unique geographic location. SOU was the first university in Oregon—and one of the first in the nation—to offset 100 percent of its energy use with clean, renewable power. It is the first university in the nation to balance 100 percent of its water consumption. Visit sou.edu.