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Conference Agenda

11th Annual Tolleson Fraud Conference: Friday, April 21

The objective of the conference is to provide attendees a comprehensive overview of:

  • Develop a deeper understanding of financial fraud by studying actual fraud cases
  • Recognize elements of fraud detection
  • Identify methods used to commit financial fraud
  • Understand the benefit of relationships in identifying and preventing fraud

Designed for: Practitioners and financial professionals who want to learn more about how fraudulent activities may impact their firms and/or clients.
Prerequisite: None
Course Level: Basic
CPE Hours: 9

Conference Agenda

7:15-8 a.m.

Check-In, Breakfast, and Networking

8-8:05 a.m. Opening Remarks

8:05-9:30 a.m.
Black Axe Crime Syndicate, Uncovering a West African Fraud Scam
Presenters: Jeff Prater - Colleyville Police Department and Dara Couch, Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney's Office

Detective Jeff Prater is a law enforcement officer with the Colleyville Police Department Special Investigation Unit and is currently assigned to the United States Secret Service Financial and Cyber Crimes Task Force. Throughout his 20-year career, Detective Prater has worked in a number of capacities including: SWAT Operator, Sniper Team Leader, Criminal Interdiction Officer, Undercover Operations, TCOLE Instructor, Firearms and Armor Instructor, Police Academy Instructor, Police Explorer Advisor, and Citizens Police Academy Coordinator. As a member of both Colleyville's Police Department Special Investigations Unit and United States Secret Service Task Force, Detective Prater investigates high profile, complex and sophisticated criminal cases such as: Aggravated Robbery, Organized Crime, Sex and Human Trafficking, Money Laundering, Identity Theft and Fraud among others. Detective Prater has coordinated multi-jurisdiction operations that included: US State Department, Customs & Border Patrol, Federal Bureau of Investigations, Internal Revenue Services, United States Secret Services, Texas Department of Public Safety, and local law enforcement agencies. To date, Detective Prater has successfully seized and prosecuted subjects in both state and federal cases. Detective Prater is currently investigating a number of intricate and multifaceted financial crime cases including: International Chinese Gift Card Fraud Scam, SBA (Small Business Administration) Fraud, BEC (Business Email Compromise), PPP (Payroll Protection Program), Aryan Brotherhood Identity Theft Ring, Counterfeiting, and International Money Laundering cases. Detective Prater has had the honor of receiving multiple awards over the course of his career including: Officer of the Year Award (x2), Mercy House Hero Award (Women's Shelter Award), 2021 International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Leadership in the Prevention of Transnational Crime Award (Nigerian Elder Fraud & Money Laundering), and is currently a finalist for the Fifth Annual United States Attorney General's Award for Distinguished Service in Community Policing. 

Criminal Investigator Dara Couch is a law enforcement officer with the Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s Office. Tarrant County is comprised of 41 incorporated areas. She is currently assigned to Elder Financial Fraud, EFF, within the White Collar Crime Unit. She spent her career in law enforcement with the Dallas Police Department, where she worked in different capacities and is honorably retired since June 2017. Investigator Couch has been with the Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s Office since June 2017. The Elder Financial Fraud unit was created in May 2017 as a unique new piece of prosecuting a specialized crime field that focuses on the elder population, 65+, and who are victims of Financial Fraud. The EFF unit currently has 96 active cases. Investigator Couch investigates and prepares for trial these high profile, complex and sophisticated financial criminal cases such as: Engaging in Organized Crime, Money Laundering, Forgery, Misapplication of Funds, Theft, Identity Theft, Credit Card Abuse, Fraud Use/Possession of Identifying Information, Exploitation of the Elderly/Disabled and others. Other cases that fall into the EFF unit along with the financial pieces are Assault, Robbery, Burglary, Bail Jumping, False Statement to Obtain Property/Credit, Tampering with Government Record, and others. Investigator Couch has had the honor of receiving a few awards over the course of her career including; Life Saving Award (x2), Certificate of Merit, 2021 International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Leadership in the Prevention of Transnational Crime Award (Nigerian Elder Fraud & Money Laundering) and is a 2021 Finalist in the Fifth Annual United States Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service in Community Policing. Investigator Couch is a Certified Fraud Examiner, TCOLE Instructor, Field Training Officer, Master Peace Officer and graduated from the University of North Texas with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice – Magna Cum Laude.

9:30-10:55 a.m.
Money Laundering Case Study: The Fracking Truth
Presenter: Ronny Leaser, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) 

Ronny Leazer, CPA is a Special Agent with the IRS - Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) in the Dallas Field Office. Mr. Leazer joined IRS-CI in 2002. A majority of Mr. Leazer's career as a Special Agent has been spent leading large, complex federal white-collar criminal investigations involving violations of the Internal Revenue Code (tax evasion), the Money Laundering Control Act and the Bank Secrecy Act (structuring). Mr. Leazer also served as IRS-CI's representative on the National Joint Terrorism Task Force and on the IRS Commissioner's Protection Detail. Mr. Leazer was designated as a Money Laundering Expert Witness in the Eastern Judicial District of Texas. Mr. Leazer earned a B.B.A. in Accounting from the University of Louisiana - Monroe and is a Certified Public Accountant in the state of Texas.  

Break from 10:55-11:05 a.m.

11:05 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Reading the Bad Guy and Getting Them to Like You
Presenters: Bill Anderson, ConocoPhillips

Mr. Anderson spent 30 years in Law Enforcement before retiring and joining the Oil and Gas Industry. During his law enforcement career, over half of it was spent doing criminal investigations. He spent time working property crimes, white collar crimes, and persons cases. Mr. Anderson spent six years working fraud and white collar type cases that culminated in prosecutions in both State and Federal Court. The opportunity came up to work in the security department of an E&P company doing vendor audits. He spent almost 10 years working in the vendor audit space, vendor due diligence and process changes for two E&P Companies. This entails building the vendor audit program, by working with operations, accounting, and legal teams. These audits centered around overbilling, fraudulent billing, and criminal behavior of vendors, helping to reduce losses and recover funds. Involved in Ethics investigations involving employees and vendors. Vendor due diligence centers around trying to identify bad companies before you ever onboard them into your company. He had the opportunities to look at business process and make recommendations that have resulted in large savings to the company. Instrumental in developing an Electronic Work Ticket (eTicket), which is a major change in the industry. Transforming paper tickets to a digital format moving information electronically allows for system validations, report on the work and cost before invoicing and flag anomalies between tickets and invoices. It also allows you to do electronic field stamping, streamlining the field process for the vendor and the company men. With the right verification parameters, you can even work on auto-approving invoices, this allowing you to streamline your process while helping to manage the workflow of your employees. Building analytics around digitally captured information helps identify fraudulent activities that can be dealt with in real time. The ability to influence changes in the industry is a very rewarding side of his job that he looks forward to doing for years to come.

12:30-1:30 p.m.

1:30-3:15 p.m.
Get Rich Quick: Embezzlement and a Government Agency
Presenter: Rick Roybal, Matador Resources Company

Vendor-Risk Management "activist", auditor, author, and speaker, Rick Roybal has worked in the oil and gas industry for almost two decades. Today, Rick works for Matador Resources, where he ensures vendor compliance with the company's accounting and policies and procedures, as well as the accuracy and validity of its billing process. He has earned three degrees: B.A. Russian, M.A, Linguistics, and M.B.A. Finance & Accounting. His published work includes articles in COPAS ACCOUNTS, ACFE FRAUD, and The IIA Internal Auditor.

Break from 3:15-3:30 p.m.

3:30-5:00 p.m.

Cartel Infiltration of Industry
Presenter: Lori Varnell, Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney's Office

Lori Varnell is the current Chief, Elder Financial Fraud Unit, Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney's Office. Lori previously served as Chief Trial Attorney, Assistant United States Attorney, Northern District of Texas Economic Crime Unit. Lori’s additional crime fighting efforts include: Trial Attorney, Assistant Criminal District Attorney, Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney's Office White Collar Crime Assistant Chief/Computer Crime and Legal Liaison/Trial Attorney Assistant Chief, White Collar Crime, White Collar Crime Unit Felony Trial Attorney and Computer Crime Unit Felony Trial Attorney.  Lori is also an Adjunct Professor at Texas Wesleyan University, sharing her experience and expertise related to fraud and the legal environment.   

5:00-5:05 p.m.
Concluding Remarks/Dismissal