CWU News

CWU accounting professor receives national business award

The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) has honored CWU’s Robert Holtfreter, College of Business distinguished professor of accounting and research, with its 2017 Hubbard Award. Holtfreter, along with his co-author Adrian Harrington, earned the award after being judged to have produced the best feature article in the ACFE’s peer-reviewed journal Fraud by members of the ACFE editorial advisory committee.

The three-part series pertained to a new model that identified five internal and four external data breach causal factors.  Harrington, of Yakima, is a former student of Holtfreter, having taken his CWU fraud examination course. As part of the service-learning element of the course, Holtfreter provides students with volunteer opportunities to collaborate with him on fraud projects. Over the course of the last six years, such collaboration has led to 12 feature co-authored and published peer-review articles in academic and professional journals.

“This competitive award is especially important to me because it comes from an organization that is strongly committed to detecting and preventing fraud,” Holtfreter said. “In addition, having a student like Adrian as a co-author is even more satisfying because it gives me great pleasure in seeing a former student continue to excel in this way.”

ACFE includes more than 81,000 professional and academic members in 179 countries world-wide. Many of the articles published in Fraud go on to inclusion in ACFE’s continuing public educational outreach program about vital fraud related issues. Holtfreter and Harrington received their award during the association’s annual conference in Nashville, Tennessee June 18-23. Holtfreter was previously named the ACFE’s Educator of the Year in 2006 and received their Outstanding Achievement in Accounting award in 2005.

Since he joined CWU, Holtfreter has published more than 90 articles, most of which have been published in various peer-reviewed academic and professional journals.

In addition to his scholarly achievements, Holtfreter is an acknowledged leader in research and service within the academic and professional accounting communities. He has been routinely recognized for his efforts to provide continuing education pertaining to fraudulent practices, identity theft, and security breaches.

For his voluntary executive leadership efforts with an assortment of academic, civic, and professional organizations, he has received 15 significant leadership service awards. They include the Phi Kappa Phi Ray Sylvester Distinguished Service Award for 2016-18, for which he was in competition against faculty from more than 300 university chapters nationwide.

The Phi Kappa Phi award, given once every two years, is based on outstanding dedication to service beyond academia. Holtfreter was chosen for the award because he has made a substantial impact through his research and sustained service leadership committed to educating the public on important fraud issues. For winning that award, Holtfreter received a citation, along with a $1,000 honorarium, and Phi Kappa Phi life membership. Phi Kappa Phi is the nation’s oldest and regarded as the most selective multidisciplinary collegiate honor society.

Media contact: Robert Lowery, director of Radio Services and Integrated Communications, 509-963-1487,

Photo (l. to r.): Holtfreter receives the Hubbard research award at the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners conference from ACFE President James Ratley. (Courtesy: ACFE, Victor Goodpasture/ProDigital)