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August 18, 2008

Contact Tom Knothe at 608-796-3376 or 


LA CROSSE, Wis. – Viterbo University’s Dahl School of Business has assembled a team of fraud and identity theft professionals to present an Economic Crimes Summit intended to address one of America’s fastest growing problems and ways small business owners and the general public can protect themselves from financial misconduct.

The event will be held Thursday, Sept. 18, from 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m. in Viterbo’s Reinhart Center.

The summit brings together six national presenters, each providing different aspects of fraud and tools for prevention, including Elizabeth Hiday, an ex-felon who specialized in passing bad checks at upscale stores. Others on the program include: Tom Ezdon, a human engineering expert from LOCKNET, Inc., and April Riel, CPA, CFE, MPA, a forensic accountant who testifies regularly in high-profile fraud cases in southern California. Two members of the San Diego Regional Task Force, Joan Knothe Stein and Joe Cargel will also be at the summit. They will share their experiences related to fighting fraud, embezzlement, identity theft and breach of information security.

Planners say the summit will provide area business owners, managers, accountants and others with the information and tools needed to combat fraud and its associated losses. 

The growing use of technology provides companies with increased capacities and efficiencies, but also exposes organizations to greater possibilities for financial and information loss through fraud. 

According to a survey released by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), small business owners are the largest victims of fraud—over 38 percent of fraud in private businesses including the highest median loss per incident ($200,000).Identity theft is equally pervasive—an identity is stolen every four seconds in the United States.

“These statistics, combined with the fact that the typical fraud continues for two years before it is detected, reinforces the need for businesses to learn about fraud prevention,” said Tom Knothe, interim dean of the Dahl School of Business, who prior to teaching, witnessed the devastating effects of fraud as an attorney.

“The presentations in this symposium will provide invaluable information to local organizations.  Businesses will learn to spot fraud indicators and how to put processes into place to prevent fraud, embezzlement, and identity theft.  These national presenters will inform summit attendees on what fraud and ID theft looks like and how to safeguard their organizations from it,” Knothe said.

The cost of the symposium is $99, which includes lunch. Space is limited, so early registration is encouraged.

The La Crosse Tribune and WKBT-TV are collaborating with Viterbo to sponsor the summit.

Those wishing to attend can register online at or call the Dahl School of Business at 608-796-3360.

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