Fraud by the Numbers: The 2012 Report to the Nations


John Warren, J.D., CFE
Vice President and General Counsel

As most readers are probably aware, every two years the ACFE publishes a new edition of the Report to the Nations, a global study on occupational fraud. This is one of our most important initiatives and one of the things we are most proud of as an organization. The Report provides information on the costs, methods, victims and perpetrators of occupational fraud – information that simply cannot be obtained anywhere else in the world.

We are now putting the finishing touches on the 2012 Report, which is scheduled to be released to the public May 8.  I have personally been involved in the production of every edition of the Report since 1996, and I can confidently say that the 2012 Report is the best and most complete study we have ever done. It contains a tremendous amount of information about how frauds are detected, the effectiveness of various controls, the characteristics of fraud offenders, the impact of fraud in various regions of the world, and more. The Report should be required reading for any anti-fraud professional and we hope it is something our members can use to educate their own clients and organizations about the risk they face from occupational fraud.

Our staff puts a tremendous amount of work into making sure the Report contains accurate, insightful information that will be useful in fighting fraud. The ACFE research department spends months reading every case we receive, organizing the data, analyzing it and compiling it into the final Report. And our graphic design team does a tremendous job taking the thousands of pieces of data we have assembled and organizing it so that key facts are accessible and easy to read. 

But the ACFE staff is not the only group responsible for the information you see in the Report to the Nations.  The data we compile and present to you is only available because of the wonderful contribution of Certified Fraud Examiners (CFEs) from around the world who took the time and effort to participate in our survey and provide information about specific fraud cases they had investigated.  In the 2012 study we received nearly 1,400 cases of occupational fraud, which gives us a tremendous data set with which to work and allows us to produce what is widely recognized as the world’s most comprehensive study on occupational fraud. It is a testament to the dedication of our members that they are willing to give their time and share this information not for any personal gain or notoriety, but simply to contribute to our growing understanding of occupational fraud and to support the anti-fraud community.

If you have been a member of the ACFE for any length of time, you have no doubt heard our founder and Chairman, Dr. Joseph T. Wells, CFE, CPA, and our President and CEO, James Ratley, CFE, talk about the ACFE’s focus on being the best association in the world. We work to achieve that goal through the outstanding efforts of our highly trained and dedicated staff and our leadership’s constant commitment to excellence. But the quality of our organization extends far beyond ACFE headquarters; we also have the best members in the world, and the Report to the Nations is evidence of that fact. As you read the 2012 Report in the coming weeks, I have no doubt you will find information that is informative and helps you in your career. Please keep in mind the contributions of all the committed CFEs who made this Report possible and who support the ACFE, their fellow anti-fraud professionals and the communities and organizations in which they work and live every day. 

The 2012 Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud and Abuse is available in electronic form on