Nov. 9, 2015
In 1983 and 2012, Rita Crundwell embezzled over $53 million from the town of Dixon, Ill.
She established herself as the sole manager of the financial accounts and wired money from the town’s revenue to her personal bank account.
UCCS hosted “Watch. Ask. Decide: Ethical Leadership Town Hall Meeting” on Nov. 5 in the Upper Lodge to present Crundwell’s case and discuss in detail how this respected and trustworthy citizen was able to commit fraud.
According to the 2014 Global Fraud Study by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, the typical organization loses 5 percent of revenues each year to fraud.
The event featured a short preview of Kelly Richmond Pope’s documentary, “All the Queen’s Horses,” which follows Crundwell’s case and spotlights the thoughts and reactions of the townspeople and those closely affected.
Tracy Gonzalez-Padron, director of Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative at UCCS, believes that this event is educational for students from all disciplines and is a good way to gain networking and real life experience from community members and other businesses.
“There are always going to be people who are not doing the right thing and you need to know how to spot it and report it,” she said.
“Businesses who hire our students want to hear how we are training them to recognize these behaviors and what they are doing to combat them,” she added.
Senior criminal justice major Quinn Coogan said this case was interesting to learn about since it relates to his major.
“It’s not really easy to find places where this kind of panel is going to happen, you can’t just read about it in the news,” Coogan said. “It’s really nice that the school puts things on like this, and it can be your foot in the door for things too.”
Martin Cheruiyot, a sophomore majoring in criminal justice, said he enjoyed learning about the case.
“It was nice to see and scary to see that some people have all this trust built up with them and even though they are showing all the red flags, they could still get away with it,” he said.
“Just to see how our school life transfers to what’s going to happen in the open world, I think that’s useful to everybody,” he added.
Sheridan Kalletta, a member of workforce development in the entrepreneurship division at Pikes Peak Community College, attended the event in support of its relevance and out of personal curiosity.
“I like to support what each of the educational institutions do in town. I was also curious for myself in terms of the ethics question and how it plays into the community here in Colorado,” she said.
“I think it was beneficial just to have the conversation, and I think that it’s also very interesting when other individuals come from other communities and they raise issues that we don’t have here in Colorado Springs, and they make us think about that in a greater context,” she said.