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U.S. Air Force agents enlist in Saint Xavier University MBA program

Graham School of Management's Financial Fraud Examination and Management program selected

Chicago (August 14, 2006) – The U.S. Air Force is enlisting the services of Saint Xavier University to train its special agents to detect procurement fraud.

After a nationwide search for the best program, the Air Force Office of Special Investigations chose Saint Xavier’s Graham School of Management’s MBA in Financial Fraud Examination and Management program, according to William Kresse, assistant professor and director of the Financial Fraud Examination and Management graduate program at Saint Xavier. 

“This has proven to be a demand industry,” Kresse said. “Folks from law enforcement and the corporate arena are looking for this background.” The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), a national organization, works closely with the group at Saint Xavier. 

Saint Xavier’s program is the only classroom-based MBA program in financial fraud and identity theft in the country. One of the newest graduate degrees at Saint Xavier University, the program combines elements of law enforcement, law, accounting and general business education.

“We did a national search earlier this year but couldn’t find the right kind of program with a business emphasis. The program at Saint Xavier University is exactly what I was looking for. It’s a perfect fit,” said Robert J. Smolich, special agent with the U.S. Air Force and fraud program manager, headquartered at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland.

Smolich said Air Force special agents will use their knowledge to detect procurement fraud by contractors with the U.S. government. 

Five U.S. Air Force agents – four officers and one non-commissioned officer – will enter the 18-month program in August as full-time students, Smolich said. The agents are felony-level criminal investigators in the U.S. Air Force.

Smolich said the students come from all over the world. Upon completion of the MBA program, they can sit for the Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) Exam and become credentialed as CFEs.

The Chicago Police Department also uses Saint Xavier’s program to train its officers in financial fraud and identity theft. Many of the classes are taught at the Chicago Police Department’s Timothy J. O’Connor Education and Training Center, Kresse said.

Knowing that U.S. Air Force special agents will be taking these classes with a cohort of Chicago police officers was an additional draw for the Air Force. “That really sets us apart. They’ll get some police experience as well as an education,” Kresse said.

Kresse is the new chair of the ACFE higher education advisory committee. He is also an attorney, a certified public accountant, a certified fraud examiner and certified forensic accountant, and a consultant in the areas of tax, probate, real estate, commercial litigation, criminal appeals, estate planning, and small business. He is also an arbitrator with the Circuit Court of the Cook County Arbitration Program, and an election attorney for the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners. 

The need for financial fraud examiners is rapidly growing, largely due to new federal laws requiring auditors to take additional steps to identify fraud as well as new accounting standards enacted since the Enron scandal, Kresse said. As a result, the CFE credential has become one of the most in-demand certifications by employers in both government and industry.

Saint Xavier University is a private, coeducational institution serving approximately 5,800 students with high quality academic programs. It offers 36 undergraduate majors and 32 graduate program options in five schools. With campuses in Chicago and Orland Park, the University offers personalized education that emphasizes challenging undergraduate, graduate and professional programs of study.

For more information on the program, please contact Kresse at (773) 298-3640 or kresse@sxu.edu.

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Saint Xavier University, a Catholic institution inspired by the heritage of the Sisters of Mercy, educates men and women to search for truth, to think critically, to communicate effectively, and to serve wisely and compassionately in support of human dignity and the common good. 

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