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Lessons from an $8.5 Million Fraud

| Gretchen Hutterli

Nathan Mueller seemed to have it all — a loving family, a degree in accounting from a private liberal arts college, a CPA license, and a 13-year career that included positions of increasing responsibilities, first with a public accounting firm and eventually with the financial services giant ING. Who would've guessed that seven years after he started working at ING, he would be convicted for embezzling nearly $8.5 million from his employer and sentenced to 5½ years in federal prison.

In his presentation, “Lessons from an $8.5 Million Fraud”, Mueller will share how he went from being a trusted employee to an embezzler. He will offer best practices businesses can implement to deter and detect employee fraud.

Following Mueller’s presentation, Dr. Bill Miller, UW-Eau Claire associate professor of accounting, will moderate a panel of business professionals who will discuss fraud and ethics awareness programs in their organizations. Sitting on the panel are Shane Bauer, CEO, First Bank of Baldwin; Ron Draganowski, director of Technology & Management Consulting, RSM US LLP; and Samantha Faber, audit & assurance manager, Deloitte & Touche LLP. 

The seminar is free and open to the public. Parking is available to off campus guests. Coffee and refreshments will be served. Pre-registration is required due to limited seating. Registration deadline: December 4. Register here

Participants are eligible to receive three CPE credits. Please indicate that you wish CPE credits when you register. Fee: $25. A certificate of attendance will be provided at the end of the event to those who preregister for CPE credits.

Contact DeeAnne Peterson, UW-Eau Claire Department of Accounting & Finance, for more information.

The seminar is sponsored by the UW-Eau Claire student chapter of Beta Alpha Psi, the Department of Accounting & Finance, and the College of Business. 

About Nathan Mueller

Nathan Mueller holds a B.A. in Accounting from Gustavus Adolphus College and was a licensed CPA from 2002-2010.

After the reinsurance company Mueller worked for was purchased by ING for $6 billion, he played a key role in transitioning its operations onto ING’s enterprise resource planning system. He began embezzling money to pay off personal debt and fund a passion for gambling. What started as a $1,100 check to a credit card spiraled into an $8.5 million fraud over the next four years. It was only a co-worker’s suspicions that brought the fraud to an end. After being caught, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 97 months in federal prison. With time off for good behavior and for completing the residential drug abuse program (for alcohol abuse), Mueller was released from prison in September 2014.

While serving his sentence, Mueller played an integral role in the development and expansion of a community outreach program where white-collar inmates spoke on the subject of business ethics. Since then, he has delivered speeches and ethics workshops to a broad spectrum of organizations and groups, including the 2015 Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) Global Fraud Conference, FDIC Fraud Examination Training, and MNCPA Management & Business Advisers Conference. Because he cannot profit from his crime, Mueller cannot receive speaking fees and is only allowed to be reimbursed for lost wages and travel expenses.

As to the millions he stole from ING . . . Mueller says he has paid back $860,000. Almost all of that has come in the form of assets. While in prison, he also paid $75 a month through a repayment program.

About Shane Bauer

Shane Bauer has always been drawn to finance, and has built his 24-year career around business development and building new markets. He has an extensive history of transforming community banks into great local businesses, built on common sense solutions and strong planning techniques. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Finance, Bauer began his career as a teller while in college.

About Ron Draganowski

Ron Draganowski is a director in RSM’s central region where he is the leader of the Application Development and Integration (AppDev) Consulting, a unit that delivers web, Windows, and mobile applications to RSM’s clients as well as customizes and integrates RSM’s wide range of ERP and CRM solutions. Draganowski's responsibilities on the team include providing IT due diligence for custom applications, overseeing overall quality of work, solution architecture, and code reviews, and managing team strategic initiatives. He has worked with ERP products and application development since 1999 for a wide range of industries, including manufacturers, distributors, not-for-profits, government agencies, publishers, consumer packaged goods, software companies, and service organizations.  

About Samantha Faber

Samantha Faber graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire in 2012 and immediately began her career with Deloitte & Touche working in the Twin Cities. At Deloitte she oversees audits of financial statements prepared in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. She has broad experience serving SEC registrants in a variety of industries including manufacturing, construction, and power and utilities. Faber has significant experience with Sarbanes Oxley (SOX) including first year SOX implementations where she encounters the need to use professional skepticism.