Gil Geis: A Generous Giant


James D. Ratley, CFE
ACFE President and CEO

Gil Geis had every reason to not be humble. As a professor and researcher, he had written more than 28 books, plus 500 articles and book chapters. He was the preeminent successor to Edwin Sutherland, the "father of white-collar crime." He was a friend and colleague of Donald Cressey — another seminal criminologist and namesake of our Cressey Award. But when you saw Gil, he didn't first talk about himself. He wanted to know what was going on in your life.

Gil passed away Nov. 10, 2012, at the age of 87. We've lost one of the pillars of our association. He was there at the beginning as he counseled and mentored ACFE founder and Chairman Dr. Joseph T. Wells, CFE, CPA, me and many others as we formed this little group that offered a distinctive new way to fight fraud. He was thrilled to help meld so many disparate disciplines that eventually would comprise the Certified Fraud Examiner credential. He wrote the criminology section of the ACFE's Fraud Examiners Manual and was the ACFE's president from 1992 until 2002.

Yet, despite his accomplishments, we'll remember him most for his kindness and generosity. "Regardless of a person's status in the field — whether a well-known scholar or a little-known student — Gil would always take the time to stop, talk and take a genuine interest," says Francis T. Cullen, Ph.D., Distinguished Research Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Cincinnati, in the cover article.

In this issue, we also include an article on Gil's research by one of his disciples, Harry Pontell, Ph.D., plus the first part of one of Gil's last articles, "Unaccountable external auditors: Their roles in the 'Great Economic Meltdown.' " To complete our tribute, we're republishing a chapter from "Contemporary Issues in Crime & Criminal Justice: Essays in Honor of Gilbert Geis," a book that honored Gil on his 75th birthday.

The 17th century British preacher Robert South once said, "If there be any truer measure of a man than by what he does, it must be by what he gives." I think Gil would agree with that. He was a doer, for sure. But he was, more importantly, a giver.

Read more about Geis in Fraud Magazine's cover article in the March/April issue.