Cynthia Cooper, the former WorldCom vice president of internal audit who exposed the $11 billion fraud at the telecommunications company, is among three CPAs who will be inducted this month into the 2004 American Institute of CPAs Business & Industry Hall of Fame.

Cooper was vice president of internal audit when she exposed the fraud at WorldCom, to date the largest corporate fraud in history. Her decision to take her findings to WorldCom's board despite management discouragement resulted in the company, now doing business as MCI, admitting that it had inflated its profits by $3.8 billion - a number that has since grown to $11 billion. Her efforts landed her on the cover of Time Magazine after being named one of their "Persons of the Year" in 2002.

The Annual AICPA Business & Industry Hall of Fame, sponsored by accounting and financial staffing services firm Ajilon Finance, honors CPAs who demonstrate strong business ethics, lead by example and commitment, provide insight and vision using knowledge of broad business issues, and inspire and motivate others to excellence.

"We are honored to have Cynthia Cooper as one of the inductees into this year's AICPA Business & Industry Hall of Fame," said Barry Melancon, AICPA president and chief executive. "She represents all the key virtues of the AICPA and the Hall of Fame, but particularly integrity and leadership. All three candidates this year faced tough competition and represent our profession at the highest level of achievement and standards."

Cooper is joined by John Higgins, CPA, CITP, co-founder of the Rochester, Mich.-based IT consulting firm CPA Crossings and chairman of the Michigan Association of CPAs; and Jeff Zydeck, CPA, chief financial officer of Peerless Steel in Troy, Mich. Higgins and Zydeck were noted for their contributions to advancing the use of technology in accounting. The trio was chosen from 15 finalists by a panel of judges that included David Blansfield, publisher of Business Finance Magazine; Glen Elias, corporate controller of CH2M Hill; and one of last year's winners, Bob Mahan, CFO of Ajilon Finance.

The Hall of Famers will be inducted during a ceremony at the AICPA Fall Business & Industry Financial Executives Forum in Indian Wells, Calif., later this month.

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