WorldCom Whistleblower to be Inducted Into Hall of Fame for CPAs

Cynthia Cooper, the former vice president of internal audit at WorldCom who exposed the largest corporate fraud in U.S. history, will lead the list of three new inductees into the 2004 American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. (AICPA) Business & Industry Hall of Fame, an annual event sponsored by Ajilon Finance, a leading accounting and financial staffing services company.

Cynthia Cooper’s name became synonymous with integrity when she exposed the fraud at WorldCom – to date the largest corporate fraud in history. At the time, Ms. Cooper was serving as vice president of internal audit for the 25th largest company in the United States. Her decision to take her findings to WorldCom’s board despite discouragement resulted in the company admitting it had inflated its profits by $3.8 billion - a number that has since grown to $11 billion. Her efforts landed her on the cover of Time Magazine after being named one of their Persons of the Year in 2002.

We are honored to have Cynthia Cooper as one of the inductees into this year's AICPA Business & Industry Hall of Fame, said Barry Melancon, CPA, president and CEO of the AICPA. She represents all the key virtues of the AICPA and the Hall of Fame, but particularly integrity and leadership. All three candidates this year faced tough competition and represent our profession at the highest level of achievement and standards, he continued.

The Annual AICPA Business & Industry Hall of Fame honors CPAs who demonstrate strong business ethics, lead by example and commitment, provide insight and vision using knowledge of broad business issues, and inspire and motivate others to excellence. The Hall of Famers understand business beyond the numbers to effectively manage shareholder and customer expectations within their organizations to meet the challenges of today’s dynamic market conditions. The induction ceremony will take place at this year’s AICPA Fall Business & Industry Financial Executives Forum in Indian Wells, CA on Friday, October 29.

The two other Hall of Famers to be inducted this year are John Higgins, CPA, CITP, co-founder of consulting company, CPA Crossings, and Jeff Zydeck, CPA, CFO of Peerless Steel. Both inductees were noted for their contributions to advancing the use of technology in accounting.

John Higgins -- Co-founder, CPA Crossings, CPA, CITP

John Higgins is the co-founder of CPA Crossings (Rochester, MI), an IT consulting firm that works with CPAs to bridge the gap between business and technology. His company provides strategic advice to small and mid-size companies across a number of different industries in the Michigan area. Earlier in his career, he founded another information technology solutions company that saw great success, and was ultimately acquired by a national accounting and consulting firm. He is the current chairman of the Michigan Association of CPAs.

Jeff Zydeck -- CFO, Peerless Steel, CPA

As CFO of Peerless Steel (Troy, MI), Jeff Zydeck’s financial stewardship has contributed to outstanding stockholder ROI for the past five years. His strategic insight, strong leadership abilities, implementation of new software automations, and virtual close has helped his company accomplish key business objectives during his tenure.

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