University of Arkansas

Walton College

The Sam M. Walton College of Business

Let's Talk About Fraud Guest Speaker: Richard Bistrong

Let's Talk About Fraud, Guest Speaker: Richard Bistrong
February 23, 2021

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Richard Bistrong was the second guest speaker for the Spring 2021 semester’s Let’s Talk about Fraud series. He spoke to the students, faculty, and staff of the Walton College of Business. Over 350 people registered for the event with over 200 people attending live via Zoom. Students were a large portion of the audience making up around 80% of the registrations. 

Bistrong’s story didn’t start in the compliance field. In fact, Bistrong was previously convicted for his role in conspiring to pay bribes through third-parties to foreign government officials in exchange for business. Now Bistrong, CEO of Frontline Anti-Bribery, has turned a new leaf and shares his experience on foreign bribery, ethics, and compliance. 

On Feb. 17, Bistrong and Cindy Moerhing had a fireside chat event where she and Bistrong expanded upon why he committed fraud, how it affected his life, and what advice he’d share with current business students. Bistrong told attendees that he didn’t understand the real-world risks until he was in the middle of committing his crimes. “It was a slippery slope of sorts. It happened in a lot of small steps, not large ones.”

Bistrong’s criminal behavior spanned several years, and when asked why no one questioned his continued good results despite declines in his industry, he noted that “success blocks scrutiny.” When business is going well, everyone is happy.  A natural reaction is to pull back on the magnifying glass and not question how the results were achieved.  Bistrong cautions against this and remarks that the common assumption, “no news is good news” can be a dangerous thing if you are operating in high-risk countries or industries.

He recommends students and young business professionals entering the workforce find an “accountability partner” or someone you can turn to for advice when you need to ask questions. These can be within your company such as the HR Department, Legal, Ethics & Compliance, or even a family member or close, trusted friend.

To hear more about Bistrong, his experience and what he’s learned, check out The Business Integrity School (BIS) Podcast. Cindy Moehring hosted Bistrong where they talked about his conviction and how he ultimately entered a plea agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice.

Watch the Episode


Let’s Talk participants will have the opportunity to hear another first-hand account from the other side of the coin when Charles “Chuck” Duross, former Deputy Chief of the Department of Justice’s Criminal Fraud Section, comes to speak to the University of Arkansas on March 3 at 6:00 p.m. via Zoom.  

Registration is now open! 

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Walton College of Business

Since its founding at the University of Arkansas in 1926, the Sam M. Walton College of Business has grown to become the state's premier college of business – as well as a nationally competitive business school. Learn more...

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