‘All the Queen’s Horses’ were part of fraud
Dr. Kelly Richmond Pope was invited to give a presentation at the College of Business’ Ethics Lecture. Her presentation included information on her soon-to-be showcased documentary called “All the Queen’s Horses” which is about the largest municipal fraud that happened in US history.
It tells the story of how Rita Crundwell, a government official embezzled over $53 million within a 20 year period of working for the city of Dixon, Illinois. Crundwell used it for her quarter-horse-breeding empire. Pope aims to bring awareness to this issue of ethical shortcomings and how it can affect even the unlikeliest places.
“What we like to say is, if it can happen in Dixon, it can happen anywhere,” said Pope. “So, it’s a cautionary tale for, I think, any size organization because if it can happen in a place that has 16,000 people. It can happen in a place that has 160,000 people because every organization has a Rita in it, meaning somebody you can ultimately trust. Not that somebody is going to steal your money, but that someone that you trust, and when they tell you something you don’t follow up. We all have that type of person in our organization, so that’s what people need to know.”
Interim Dean of the College of Business Antoinette Phillips described how the university was affected by the choice of speaker.
“Our accounting and finance head Dr. Rob Braun had seen Dr. Pope previously do a presentation and he’s also interested in publishing on ethics,” said Phillips. “So, he contacted her and was able to work out an arrangement for her to come to our campus. We are very lucky to have her.”
“All the Queen’s Horses,” a Kartemquin film has not been released yet. Phillips believes that the presentation about the story was able to give students insight into the how behind fraud.
“I thought that she did a good job,” said Phillips. “I thought that she was able to share with our audience a very unique story, one that had a lot of national attention and one that has far reaching implications for a lot of our students and how they view their careers and what experiences they go through.”
Presentation attendees were able to ask questions for Pope after her presentation. Phillips also expressed that she hopes the presentation and documentary will affect students and their ideals on ethics within the business world.
“I think that they’ll view them with different mind and certainly be careful about things like that in the future,” said Phillips.
Erin Matheny, a professor within the college of arts humanities and social sciences attended the presentation and was surprised to find out it was about Dixon, Illinois.
“I’m actually taking an accounting class and a business law class this semester so when this was announced I was like, ‘This is right up my alley of interest’ and it just turned out to be a story about Dixon which is where I grew up,” said Matheny. “I did not know the affiliation until she began to speak.
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