CWU News

CWU Professor Receives National Award for Internet Hacking Article

"Will the Hackers Win the Battle?" asked Robert Holtfreter in his award-winning article about financial fraud. Holtfreter, professor of accounting and research at Central Washington University’s College of Business, received the Lybrand Certificate of Merit, a national research award from the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) for an outstanding contribution to accounting literature. Holtfreter was honored at the IMA's 95th Annual Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota this past June. Adrian Harrington, a former student in Holtfreter’s Fraud Examination course, co-authored the article. 

Holtfreter was surprised when he received word that he had been selected for the award. "You don’t expect something like this," he said.

Holtfreter's article was published in the January 2014 issue of Strategic Finance, the award-winning journal of the IMA. It was "one of the best articles of the year" according to Kathy Williams, vice president and editor-in-chief of the IMA. This is the first time Holtfreter has been on the cover of Strategic Finance.

"Fraud is interesting and exciting," Holtfreter said. "The field is constantly evolving and it won’t stop changing." He has written approximately 60 peer-reviewed articles over the past five years that focus on financial fraud, mainly in the identity theft and cybersecurity areas. “Cybersecurity is a significant world-wide problem and identity theft is the biggest problem in the fraud area.”

Holtfreter has always brought his fascination into the classroom. He teaches multiple courses on fraud detection and prevention at CWU as part of the accounting major. Holtfreter has students create presentations about fraud prevention to give to the public and also gives them the opportunity to assist him in his work by analyzing and creating conclusions based on current financial reports.

“I warn them before hand that the work load is heavy, but ‘do-able’,” Holtfreter said. “I don’t ask if they want to help, I give students the choice to help.”

In his spare time, Holtfreter serves as the Identity Theft Prevention Analyst for the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners and writes peer-reviewed articles for their journal, the Fraud Magazine. Holtfreter is also a member of their Editorial Advisory Committee and serves on the Advisory Council for the Gerson Lehrman Group, the largest equity research organization in the world. He also is a consultant for their clients, many of which are the biggest hedge and mutual funds on Wall Street.

 “I want to let people know what they can do to protect themselves,” Holtfreter said. “The reason why I write is to educate the community.”

Read Holtfreter’s article here

Media Contact: Valerie Chapman-Stockwell, Public Affairs, 509-963-1518,

Written by Scott Kazmi, Public Affairs Intern, 509-963-1295,
August 13, 2014