Guest Speaker to Address Ethics Within Business

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Fairmont State University’s School of Business will host a guest speaker on the topic of ethics and integrity within business. Weston Smith, a business ethics consultant and forensic accounting advisor, will speak at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 4, in Colebank Hall Gym.

When he was a chief financial officer at HealthSouth Corporation, a Fortune 500 company, he blew the whistle on a $3 billion dollar accounting fraud.

Dr. Richard Harvey, Dean of the School of Business, said the topic Smith will be discussing is relevant to students of all disciplines. 

“His profile matches up with a lot of students here on campus,” Harvey said. “I think students will actually be able to see themselves in him.”

Smith speaks frequently at universities and to professional groups. His message is titled “Crossing the Line - An Insider’s Perspective of the HealthSouth Fraud.” He describes the culture of the company and the mechanics of the fraud and how detection was avoided.

“I talk about the rationalizations as to why I did what I did, the excuses and the lies I told myself while going along. I get into my own whistleblowing experience, coming forward and what happened after that,” Smith said.

Smith is expected to deliver about a 45-minute message and take questions from audience members after the event.

“I always felt in my heart [that] I would make good ethical decisions in my life, but when it came right down to it and I was faced with a situation, I basically caved. I just want to use my story as an example,” Smith said.

The HealthSouth fraud and Smith’s whistleblowing was highly publicized in national business news.  The story that he shares during speaking engagements touches information that is not always publicized.

Harvey said the message applies to a diverse audience and particularly to FSU students who could face similar challenges.  “Regardless of your major, you’re going to be faced with ethical decisions in your career. Do you know where the ‘line’ is?” asked Harvey.

For more information on the Weston Smith visit or other upcoming School of Business events, contact Dr. Richard Harvey at Richard.Harvey@fairmontstate.edu.