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Fool Me Once

Scams, Stories, and Secrets from the Trillion-Dollar Fraud Industry

Kelly Richmond Pope



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Harvard Business Review Press
21 March 2023
A riveting look at the perpetrators, victims, and whistleblowers behind financial crimes, from forensic accounting expert and documentarian Kelly Richmond Pope.

Have you ever wondered why Bernie Madoff thought he could brazenly steal his clients' money? Or why investors were so easily duped by Elizabeth Holmes? Or how courageous people like Jeffrey Wigand are willing to become whistleblowers and put their careers on the line?

Fraud is everywhere, from Nigerian 'princes', embezzlers, and Ponzi schemers to corporate giants like Enron and Volkswagen. And fraud is costly. Each year, consumers, small businesses, governments, and corporations lose trillions of dollars to financial crime.

We're so accustomed to hearing about fraud that our abilities to identify it and speak about it are limited.

No more. In Fool Me Once, renowned forensic accounting expert Kelly Richmond Pope shows fraud in action, uncovering what makes perps tick, victims so gullible, and whistleblowers so morally righteous, while also encouraging us to look at our own behaviours and motivations in the hope of protecting ourselves and our companies.

By the time you finish this book, you'll have a better understanding of — and perhaps even compassion for — perpetrators, a renewed connection to victims, and an appreciation for those who blow the whistle.

Filled with fascinating stories and insightful analysis, Fool Me Once will open your eyes and challenge your thinking. It will inspire you to question your own preconceived notions about fraud. It will challenge your beliefs about yourself and other people. And it will help you understand a phenomenon that most of us fail to grasp — until it's too late.

Imprint:   Harvard Business Review Press
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 235mm,  Width: 155mm, 
ISBN:   9781647823917
ISBN 10:   1647823919
Pages:   288
Publication Date:  
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Kelly Richmond Pope is the Barry Jay Epstein Endowed Professor of Forensic Accounting at DePaul University in Chicago. Pope's research on executive misconduct culminated in directing and producing the award-winning documentary, All the Queen's Horses, which explores the largest municipal fraud in US history. In 2020 the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and CPA Practice Advisor named Pope as one of the twenty-five Most Powerful Women in Accounting. Connect with Kelly Richmond Pope at

Reviews for Fool Me Once: Scams, Stories, and Secrets from the Trillion-Dollar Fraud Industry

"Named one of the Top 50 Business Books of 2023 by The Next Big Idea Club Named one of the Ten Best Business Books of 2023 for Advisors by Wealth Management Named one of the 15 Best Business Books of 2023 by Inc. ""With Fool Me Once, Ms. Pope reveals the vulnerabilities that we all share and offers advice on how to guard against those who would prey on us."" — The Wall Street Journal Named one of ""40 Nonfiction Books to Watch Out for in 2023"" by The Next Big Idea Club Advance Praise for Fool Me Once: ""Fool Me Once is a lively, relatable, and pragmatic approach to the subject of 'everyday fraud'—the quotidian scams that don't always make headlines but that do always take their toll in human misery, economic disruption, and social mistrust. Intimate stories of victims, perpetrators, and whistleblowers deepen the impact of Kelly Richmond Pope's research, giving us uncommon insights into these all-too-common crimes."" — Diana B. Henriques, author, New York Times bestseller The Wizard of Lies ""Fool Me Once is insightful, educational, and highly entertaining. Based on hundreds of hours of direct personal contact with fraudsters, Kelly Richmond Pope offers a riveting take on the human side of fraud. A must-read!"" — Bethany McLean, coauthor, New York Times bestseller All the Devils Are Here ""As someone who has been a certified fraud examiner for most of my career, I have long been fascinated with the psychology of human behavior. I have lived through the WorldCom fraud and have witnessed the devastating impact that fraud can have on the lives of so many people. Fool Me Once is required reading for anyone who wants to better understand perpetrators, victims, and whistleblowers and how to better prevent, detect, and investigate fraud."" — Cynthia Cooper, international speaker; author, Extraordinary Circumstances ""Accessible, humorous, and engaging, Fool Me Once includes fascinating stories from the perspective of one of the nation's foremost fraud research experts. I recommend this book for corporate and academic discussion or for anyone interested in understanding and preventing fraud. I do not recommend it for potential fraudsters!"" — Paula A. Price, former Chief Financial Officer, Macy's; senior lecturer, Harvard Business School ""Fool Me Once sets the bar high for how to protect yourself from scammers. It is an essential read."" — Joe Navarro, former FBI Special Agent; author, Dangerous Personalities ""Kelly Richmond Pope's Fool Me Once is a gripping examination of the growing world of fraud and white-collar crime. Based on a decade of research and interviews with perpetrators, whistleblowers, and victims, the book delves deeply into the motivations behind corruption in all its forms. Pope's expert insights as a forensic accountant, combined with her narrative skills, make the book a must-read for anyone looking to better understand the forces driving this spiraling problem."" — Bradley Hope, coauthor, New York Times bestseller, Billion Dollar Whale"

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