But when it came time to go to college and choose a vocation, she selected accounting. She is a graduate of Oral Roberts University and did her graduate work at the University of Tulsa.
While in college, she worked for two years for the Federal Bureau of Investigation in white-collar investigations.
Leah Wietholter, certified fraud examiner with Workman Forensics. (Photo by Rip Stell)
“It was a two-year appointment,” she said.
She also worked for an accounting firm, where she was involved with some forensic investigation accounting. After two years with the accounting firm, Wietholter decided it was time for a change in her career path.
“I got tired of doing tax work and wanted something different,” she said.
That something different turned out to be Workman Forensics, a company Wietholter founded in November 2010. She got her first case in February 2011, a $2 million embezzlement investigation.
In the 16 months since getting that first case, her company specializing in forensic accounting, fraud investigation and expert witness testimony from an office at 2105 E. 15th St. in Tulsa has worked 15 full-size cases.
Her work has been noticed. In March, Wietholter received a 2012 Pinnacle Award from the City of Tulsa Mayor’s Commission on the Status of Women.
She received the Corporate and Business Pinnacle Award. The Pinnacle Awards were established to honor Tulsa-area women who are role models in their professions, take risks on behalf of others, perform voluntary community service and demonstrate a commitment to women’s issues and concerns.
Wietholer’s volunteer efforts include work with Junior Achievement and the Resource Center for Women.
She said her early reading habits – mystery fiction – and her work with the FBI while in college set the stage for her developing the concept for Workman Forensics.
“I loved reading mystery books and wanted to investigate things when I was little,” Wietholter said in a telephone interview. “I probably wanted to be an investigator since I was in the third grade – maybe not in accounting, but investigating things.”
While starting Workman Forensics, Wietholter became a client of the Women’s Business Center of Rural Enterprises of Oklahoma Inc.
“I made some terrific business connections and found out people weren’t just interested in their own business but they were quite willing to help each other,” she said.
Wietholter also set goals when she started the company.
“Each week I would set a goal of talking with a certain number of people, sometimes in casual visits and other times I cold-called on law offices,” she said.
The staff of Workman Forensics is Wietholter, her husband and a summer intern.
“I also use contractors some,” the certified fraud examiner said.
Her certification is from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners in Austin, Texas. She is president of the Tulsa Chapter of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners and is a member of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners Advisory Board.
“She is an awesome entrepreneur, an encourager to many and a great mentor to other women business owners,” said Barbara Rackley, program manager for the Women’s Business Center.
by David Page