Home » Forensic Strategic Solutions Founder & President Receives Highest Honor from Association of Certified Fraud Examiners

Forensic Strategic Solutions Founder & President Receives Highest Honor from Association of Certified Fraud Examiners


Birmingham, AL – July 27, 2010 – Ralph Q. Summerford, founder and President of Forensic Strategic Solutions (FSS) was recognized on July 26, 2010 by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) with the 2010 Cressey Award.  This award is the ACFE’s highest honor which recognizes a lifetime of achievement in the detection and deterrence of fraud.

“There is absolutely nothing I have ever achieved in my life that means more to me than receiving this award from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. I am honored and humbled to be included in a list of my profession’s most talented and effective experts. My partners and colleagues at Forensic/Strategic Solutions should also be recognized for their contributions to my success,” says Summerford.

Summerford accepted the award at the 21st Annual ACFE Fraud Conference held in Washington, DC, on July 26, 2010. This conference was attended by more than 2,000 anti-fraud professionals and was sold-out several weeks in advance. Established in 1989, the Cressey Award is given in honor of one of the country’s foremost experts on fraud and of ACFE, Dr. Donald R. Cressey (1919-1987). For more information about the ACFE and the Cressey Award, visit www.acfe.com.

James D. Ratley, President of the ACFE said, “In addition to receiving our highest honor, Summerford returns as one of our most informative and well sought after annual conference presenters. We are proud to have him on our faculty to train accountants and fraud examiners from around the world at our 21st Annual Conference.” This year, Summerford presented “Who Is the Champion of the ‘Golden Decade of Fraud’?”, where he discussed the jury’s decision to acquit Richard Scrushy, the co-founder, former chairman and CEO of HealthSouth, of criminal charges in relation to HealthSouth’s accounting fraud. According to estimates, the fraud totaled over $4 billion, spanned two decades, and involved 17 HealthSouth officers, including five former CFOs. This session provided attendees an inside look drawing information directly from the investigators and perpetrators, revealing the saga of hubris, excess, greed and deception that helped epitomize the last ten years as the “golden decade of fraud.”

In addition to his work with ACFE, Summerford was the keynote speaker at the AICPA National Advanced Accounting and Auditing Technical Symposium in Orlando, FL on July 16, 2010. His presentation titled, “Pathways to Deception and Diversion” addressed issues relating to the Birmingham-based HealthSouth fraud case, one of the largest instances of corporate fraud on record. Summerford’s work led him to the HealthSouth Corporation’s financial issues and what he coins the “golden decade of fraud.” He says, “HealthSouth cooked the books with over $2.6 billion in phony earnings.” The first executive ever sentenced under Sarbanes Oxley and the architect of fraud, former CFO/CEO Bill Owens shared the platform with Summerford to tell how he did it. Owens also shared how he not only duped the auditors but also how he directed over 15 employees to create fake entries…and almost got away with it.

About Ralph Summerford
Ralph Summerford is founder and president of Forensic Strategic Solutions, Inc., in Birmingham, Alabama. The firm consists of forensic accountants and fraud examiners who are trained specialists in the detection, investigation and deterrence of fraudulent conduct. Since founding this firm in 1992, Summerford has investigated hundreds of cases including the discovery of misappropriated company assets or fraudulently misstated financial statements by employees or executives. He has worked directly with the FBI, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Internal Revenue Service, the Federal Trade Commission, and other government agencies to investigate, resolve or testify about fraudulent schemes or fraud detection.

For two decades, Summerford has worked closely with both plaintiff and defense attorneys; internal auditors; corporate boards and audit committees; bankruptcy trustees and creditors’ committees; insurance company special investigation units; government inspector generals; and governmental agencies.

Since 1996, Summerford has traveled around the world to train accountants, investigators, attorneys, law enforcement and government officials on how to recognize and investigate fraud. Summerford has spoken on fraud topics for numerous state societies and accounting organizations and is consistently ranked as a top speaker. He regularly speaks on fraud topics to local and national legal associations as well as human resource managers.

Summerford served as the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants as a member of the Forensic and Valuation Services Section and currently serves as an ambassador to that section. He is also an active volunteer with the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE). Summerford also testifies as an expert witness in federal and state courts on fraud and matters involving complicated financial transactions. He is a guest lecturer at seminars, colleges and universities where he strives to enhance the understanding of fraud and forensic accounting. His published articles have appeared in Accounting Today, Preventing Business Fraud, Financial Fraud, Baltimore SmartCEO, Birmingham Business Journal, Bank Fraud & IT Security Report, and Fraud Magazine. Additionally, he has been quoted in business journals, newspapers, newsletters, and national publications including USA Today and The Birmingham News.

About the Cressey Award
Established in 1989, the Cressey Award is the ACFE’s highest honor. It is bestowed annually for a lifetime of achievement in the detection and deterrence of fraud. The Cressey Award is named in honor of one of the country’s foremost experts on fraud and a founding father of the ACFE, Dr. Donald R. Cressey (1919-1987). Former Cressey Award winners include:

  • 2009: James H. Freis Jr.
  • 2008: Martin T. Biegelman
  • 2007: Rosalind Wright
  • 2006: Grant D. Ashley
  • 2005: James D. Ratley
  • 2004: Richard Johnston
  • 2003: Joseph R. Dervaes
  • 2002: Mary Jo White
  • 2001: Henry N. Pontell, PhD
  • 2000: John Stossel

About Forensic Strategic Solutions, Inc.
Forensic Strategic Solutions, Inc. of Birmingham, AL, employs financial forensic experts who are trained to look beyond the numbers, calling on many years of experience in investigations, accounting and auditing to see the realities of a company’s financial situation. They provide an accounting analysis that becomes the basis for discussion, debate and ultimately dispute resolution, whether in a court of law or other forum.

The experts at Forensic Strategic Solutions are trained to analyze, interpret, summarize and present complex financial and business related issues in a manner that is both understandable and properly supported. The firm’s team is familiar with legal concepts and procedures and understands the implications of multiple issues, including that of substance over form. The experts at Forensic/Strategic Solutions are equipped with the latest in computer equipment, data mining software and forensic computer analysis tools. Additionally, they are qualified to undertake complex assignments, serving as expert witnesses and investigative accountants in areas including fraud, economic damages, financial reporting, business valuation, and financial distress.

For more information on Forensic Strategic Solutions, Inc., visit www.forensicstrategic.com. To speak with a representative, please contact Ashland English at 205-716-7000.

CONTACT:    Ashland English
1 Chase Corporate Dr. STE 400
Birmingham, AL 35244