‘Frauds Around the World’ at the Fraud Museum Exhibit

A stock certificate from the South Sea Bubble, dated 1725

A stock certificate from the South Sea Bubble, dated 1725

Fraud knows no borders. Take a visit around the globe at the Fraud Museum's traveling exhibit, "Fraud's Around the World," (on display in the Exhibit Hall) and see selected artifacts, memorabilia, documents and other pieces of fraud history collected by ACFE founder and Chairman Dr. Joseph T. Wells, CFE, CPA.

One of the oldest and best illustrations of Frauds Around the World in this year’s exhibit is a stock certificate from the South Sea Bubble, one of the first financial statement frauds. This con, perpetrated by the South Sea Company (1711-1727), nearly bankrupted England and brought financial ruin to thousands of investors, including members of Parliament.

A colorful (and expensive-looking) piece in this year’s exhibit is a collection of Russian investment notes from 1993. While the brightly-hued notes strongly resemble legitimate currency, they are essentially worthless. After the Soviet Union began to collapse in 1985, the new Russian economy was in turmoil and ripe for various investment swindles. These notes were printed as instruments of a giant Ponzi scheme that cost victims $1.5 billion (U.S.), collected from several million investors.  

Earl Belle’s crimes of conspiracy and fraud sent him on the run to Brazil for five years. He had reason to flee: the 31-year-old criminal had scammed two banks out of nearly $1 million, among other crimes. The theatrics he put in play for his cons are memorable: bulldozers moving land around to make investors think they were “building” things; helicopter rides to show off various construction charades.

These and more than 30 other pieces (chosen from the more than 100 artifacts at the Fraud Museum's permanent home at ACFE Headquarters in Austin) are on display for you to take a trip through time – and around the world – and read about frauds gone by.

Bring this Conference Guide with you to the Fraud Museum exhibit, and take the quiz on page 57. Be sure and submit your answer sheet in the submission box located at the Fraud Museum exhibit and you will be entered to win a $250 gift card (one answer sheet will be drawn at the end of the Conference to determine the winner). Good luck!