VP of Finance Kevin Foster Was Swept up in Conspiracy Charges and Went to Prison

VP of Finance Kevin Foster Was Swept up in Conspiracy Charges and Went to Prison


Check out all episodes on the My Favorite Mistake main page.

My guest for Episode #125 of the My Favorite Mistake podcast is Kevin Foster, the CEO of Business Ethics Advisors, LLC. He is a former financial executive with FDIC-Division of Liquidation, Standard Chartered Bank, and Dr Pepper Co., a 30-year veteran in real estate, and a former CPA with Peat, Marwick & Mitchell (now KPMG).

Kevin’s journey took him from corporate real estate executive to a convicted felon (37 months in prison with 28 days in solitary confinement).

Now, Kevin uses his E.T.H.I.C.S. tools to provide ethics awareness and solutions so that others will be prepared to identify the personal characteristics and circumstances leading to unethical behavior. 

In today's episode, Kevin tells his “favorite mistake” story about being a finance executive with a real estate company and how he got swept up in criminal conspiracy charges for basically being in the wrong job at the wrong time and for not quitting when he saw red flags.

We talk about that story and other topics including:

  • What fraud was being committed by the company you were working for? How did that lead to your personal conviction?
  • Kevin quit – but got talked into coming back…
  • Was tying to avoid charges… “conspiracy” charges harder to get out of, doing “anything” that advances the conspiracy means you're complicit (even being in one meeting)
  • How did “ethical problems” turn into legal problems?
  • Why he's “shocked” that no other Theranos employees are facing charges
  • What it's like for a white-collar person to go to prison??
  • Preparing for incarceration?
  • “Everything that happens… must happen… for a reason”
  • Three Felonies a Day” book – white collar professionals – so many laws that can get you thrown in prison
  • Too many ethics programs are rules-based, video based
  • He teaches values-based ethics 
  • Why are people unethical?
  • Does anybody question if a convicted felon can be teaching them ethics? Learning from mistakes personified…

Find Kevin on Social Media:

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"I also was aware that those owners were doing some pretty shady things that surrounded that project."
"The owner of that company kept on saying, 'You know, Kevin, I'm not the only one that's going to go to prison here.' And that ended up being my favorite mistake because I ignored that huge warning that he gave me."
"I am shocked, absolutely shocked there were no other employees at Theranos that are facing trial, besides Sunny [Balwani] and Elizabeth [Holmes]."
"Everything that will must happen. And it all happens for a reason. And it serves us. I think I'm a totally different person now and I think I grew and matured through that whole prison experience."

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Automated Transcript (Likely Contains Mistakes)

Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's upcoming book is The Mistakes That Make Us. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.