Shell Companies and Fraud: An Investigative Training

by November 16, 2012

The Particulars

When: May 21,
one hour at either
noon or 4 p.m. ET

Where: Online

Instructor: Kelly Carr,
Reynolds Center
senior online producer
and freelance
investigative reporter for

Registration is now closed.

In a Reuters’ special report, Carr explained the difference between shell and shelf companies.


Did you miss our live sessions?

Check out archived recordings and materials at the self-guided training page.

Unraveling financial schemes often involves tracing a myriad of corporations incorporated across the country and sometimes around the world.

Corporate entities called shells – companies with no significant assets or operations – and the people involved with them are often at the center of plots ranging from bogus investment firms to money-laundering endeavors to pump-and-dump stock scams.

This webinar will help you understand the characteristics of shell companies, their legitimate and illegitimate purposes in the business sector, and methods for backgrounding and connecting intricate webs of firms and individuals scattered around the globe.

This free training with Kelly Carr, a Reynolds Center staffer and freelance investigative journalist whose reporting on the use of shell and shelf companies won a 2012 Gerald Loeb Award, is designed to you understand shell companies and their role in fraud. In this webinar, you’ll also gain tools for tracking corporate investigations in your coverage area.


This session will be useful for any journalist covering almost any beat. Shell companies can be incorporated in any state and around the world. They play a role in stories about various frauds in a large variety of sectors, from health care and politics to investing and online enterprises.


  • The basics: what shell companies are, why they exist and the legitimate and illegitimate uses for these entities.
  • How shell companies play a role in global corruption and how to begin track those schemes locally.
  • Tactics for backgrounding shell companies through state incorporation documents, other public records and various online tools.


kelly carr

Kelly Carr

Kelly Carr joined the Reynolds Center in 2007 after working as a journalist for multiple publications, including The Arizona Republic. She is the center’s senior online producer. As a freelance investigative reporter for Reuters, she won the a 2012 Gerald Loeb Award for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism for a series detailing the use of U.S. shell and shelf companies.

The series also won the National Press Club Award for Consumer Journalism (Periodicals), the New York Press Club Business Reporting Award and the 2011 Foreign Press Association Media Award for Financial/Economic Reporting.

Kelly has a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction from Goucher College and holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from West Virginia University. She also was an adjunct journalism professor at Arizona State University’s Cronkite School, a fellow at The Poynter Institute and a contributing writer for Cancer Stories: Lessons in Love, Loss & Hope.


Check out our Technology Help Page for connectivity requirements, helpful tips and an instructional video on how to access Reynolds Center webinars. You will receive an email with the URL and instructions on how to join the session. We archive recordings of all our training at


This free webinar is sponsored by the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

The Reynolds Center is funded by a grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation in Las Vegas. Besides its free regional workshops and online training, the center runs, offering daily tips, training and resources for those who want to do a better job of covering business.

Those who successfully complete three regional workshops or webinars presented by the Reynolds Center are eligible to receive a “Circle of Achievement” award certificate. If you have any questions about the webinar or the center, please email Executive Director Linda Austin or call 602-496-9187.