Behind the Costumes: Fraud Takes a Human Toll


Bruce Dorris, J.D., CFE, CPA
ACFE Program Director

As we celebrate Halloween going into All Saints Day, I can’t help but think of some of the evil people I have prosecuted during my public career -- and I dealt with some rogues during those 13 years I was a prosecutor. I put all sorts of criminals in jail during that time, violent and non-violent alike, some defendants worse than others. But regardless of the type of crime, they all had one thing in common –victims.

I have tremendous sympathy with the victims of crimes, both financial and non-financial. In fact, there are several families with whom I still remain in contact. I’ve visited victims in courtrooms, in hospitals and in their homes. They are generally mad, sad or both. But like All Saints Day is a day of recognition for people who gave themselves for others, there is at least a glimmer of hope for many victims knowing that someone cares about their losses and fights for them and with them to obtain justice. Knowing that a fraud examiner took the time to hear their case, or walk them through the process, means so much to a financial crime victim. Knowing that they have a voice through you, the CFE, assures them that they will be heard and not forgotten.

As we prepare for International Fraud Awareness Week next week and the important resources it highlights, I urge you to remember the impact the fraudster has on the person he or she is trying to fleece – the victim. Though we have many tools available as fraud examiners to prevent and detect fraud, there is still a human side that is not so easily “fixed.” From the loss of a family’s savings to the loss of a job due to company financial mismanagement, fraud takes a human toll. We should be proud to be a part of a profession that is dedicated to preventing these crimes and helping people who are victimized by them.