Sharing Is Caring: Why I Like to Learn from Others' Experiences


Laura Hymes, CFE
ACFE Managing Editor

You might think that after all the casebooks I’ve worked on with ACFE founder and Chairman Dr. Joseph T. Wells (four and counting), I would be jaded and mumble things under my breath like, “Well, I’ve heard it all. None of these cases can surprise me.” But, it's quite the contrary. With each new project we start, I get excited about hearing directly from our members about the frauds they’ve investigated and what sort of lessons we can learn from their experiences.

The stories that we have included in the newly published Insurance Fraud Casebook: Paying a Premium for Crime delve into new depths of human folly, hubris and, at times, even depravity. I had no idea that insurance fraud could be so fascinating, but the cases in this collection are some of the most gripping fraud schemes I’ve ever read. And they are all real cases, investigated by real CFEs and members. I had to remind myself of that while I was reading about a man suspected of murdering his wife (the fraudster, not the CFE!) and Mexican drug-cartel members threatening an adjuster. Our peers spend their days investigating these crimes and many others like them, and I still get blown away by that fact sometimes. And that is one of the many reasons I enjoy working on this casebook series with Dr. Wells — I briefly get to facilitate a process through which anti-fraud professionals can share their experiences and learn from each other.

Of course, the ACFE offers a wealth of learning opportunities, but I feel like there is something special about reading a practitioner’s own account of his or her adventures pursuing criminals, gathering evidence, bringing about a resolution and then distilling lessons to apply in future work. They say that experience is the best teacher, but a close second is learning from other people when you lack experience. I enjoy seeing how other individuals handle challenges at work and approach difficult assignments; often it is different from what my approach would be. That alone — learning to see the world from a new perspective and taking the time to consider a new solution to an old problem — would be reason enough for me to continue working on these books. But in addition, I get to work with wonderful anti-fraud professionals and read gripping tales of bad guys and girls being tracked down and brought to justice. Not too shabby.

You can find the new Insurance Fraud Casebook: Paying a Premium for Crime in the ACFE Bookstore here. And trust me, you haven’t heard it all. You haven’t even come close.