Andrew Fastow, who spent six years in prison for his role as chief financial officer in the Enron fraud scandal, will give talks on ethics at UA Little Rock April 18.
Since release from prison, he’s been on the lecture circuit, often at events closed to the press. The talk at UA Little Rock will be no different. HIs appearances have stirred a bit of resistance at times, including cancellation of a talk at one university where professors objected, and complaints about the lack of public details of appearances on college campuses.
After hearing about Fastow’s visit (he’s not listed by name on the campus website signup for the event), I inquired. Judy Williams, associate vice chancellor for communications, provided this response to questions I’d posed in an email from Ashvin Vibhakar, Joe T. Ford professor of finance at UA Little Rock.
Andrew Fastow is our only speaker and hence there is no roster of speakers. Mr. Fastow is being paid from foundation that is set up for Ethics Speaker Series and the amount is $5,000. The event is designed for CE credit for Professionals (CPA and CFA) and for our students who must earn Ethics Badge for their graduation. So, the attendees are expected to be our students and faculty, CPA and CFA certificants who are looking for CE credit for their credentials.
I sent Vibhakar a few followups, but haven’t heard back. A notice on the webpage of the CFA Society of Arkansas website says the event is “coordinated” by the Joe T. Ford Trust (Ford is the former chief executive of Alltel) in collaboration with the CFA Society (certified financial analysts) and the College of Business.
Williams emphasized in an intial response that public money wasn’t being used to host Fastow and she understood that he had requested no media in his contract for the event, but asked that I confirm that with Vibhakar.
According to the CFA, Fastow will talk about using artificial intelligence to prevent fraud. He’s now part of a firm that provides “AI risk management software.” He’s scheduled for two talks, one on campus and one at the downtown site.
His talks have received a variety of reviews when the public has been able to attend. For example, a business columnist for Detroit Free Press wrote last year:
Fastow does the right thing and admits that while he technically tried to follow the rules, he fell far short by never asking himself if he was doing the right thing.
But his speech is framed in such a way that he seems to rationalize his role by highlighting ways that so many others who did not do time are driven to push the limits …