OGDEN, Utah – The lead whistle blower in a major corporate fraud scheme will speak about business ethics, April 2 at 6 p.m. in Weber State University’s Hurst Center Dumke Legacy Hall. The public is invited to the free lecture.
Weston Smith was the Chief Financial Officer of the Fortune 500 Company HealthSouth Corporation, which operates inpatient rehabilitation hospitals. Over the course of 12 years, the company became a Wall Street darling, growing from one location to 2,000 in every state in the nation as well as counties including the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. However, for seven years, the company was hiding fraud in its multi-billion dollar financial statement. In 2002, Smith exposed the fraud to the government and accepted responsibility.
He served 27 months in prison, two years’ probation and forfeited $1.5 million.
“There is a line between right and wrong,” said Lauren Andersen, WSU development director in University Advancement. “It can be easy to cross the line. I hope people learn from Weston that personal integrity is more important than any title, salary or job.”
Smith now speaks to professional groups and universities about taking responsibility and the consequences of unethical conduct. In his address, “Crossing the Line: an Insider’s Perspective of the HealthSouth Fraud,” he will describe the company culture, the intricacies of fraud and how his company avoided detection.
Smith outlines financial and non-financial red flags of corporate misconduct. He encourages and challenges everyone to do the right thing. He is a regular contributor to researchers of corporate fraud and has been featured on CNBC and Fox Business Network with Neil Cavuto.
“Weber State teaches that ethics should be part of every profession,” Andersen said. “There are times in every career when we have to ask ourselves, ‘Am I doing the ethical thing?’ The John B. Goddard School of Business & Economics wants to help students, so if they are presented with the opportunity to act unethically, they are prepared to do the right thing.”
Smith is invited to speak as a Buehler Lecturer and is sponsored by the School of Business & Economics. Visit weber.edu/wsutoday for more news about Weber State University.