The Fraud Examiner: Past, Present & Future


By Dick Carozza, CFE
Editor-in-Chief, Fraud Magazine

Don’t you love it when a long shot works? You plan a project for months or years, line up your resources, set your launch date and then — omigosh — it succeeds.

That’s how Dr. Joseph T. Wells, James D. Ratley and Kathie Lawrence began the ACFE in 1988: with a novel idea, lots of late nights and a bunch of hope. You know how well that turned out.

To help celebrate the ACFE’s 25th anniversary, I wrote the cover article for the September/October Fraud Magazine, “Second generation creates its own history.” (Part 2 will be in the November/December issue.)

We asked veteran fraud examiners to give us names of young, promising CFEs in their 20s and 30s who are beginning to make a mark in the profession. And we then asked them questions on a wide range of fraud topics.

These young CFEs are impressive! Many are already edging into senior positions and some even own and manage firms. And they know they have advantages that the first generation of CFEs didn’t have.

Back in 1988, lonely auditors and accountants were trying to fight fraud in a system that wouldn’t even recognize the word. In fact, back then fraud was referred to as “irregularity.” Now, young CFEs are steeped in fraud examination principles they’ve learned from their battle-scarred CFE mentors, ACFE training and higher-education classes afforded through the ACFE’s Anti-Fraud Education Partnership.

“Fraud has been on the minds of industry professionals for at least a decade, especially in light of major fraud schemes like Enron, Tyco, Adelphia and WorldCom,” says Chris Ekimoff, CFE, CPA, CGMA, MAFF, vice president with Duff & Phelps, LLC, in the article. “Now that most professionals are more aware of the risks of fraud in their business, the role of this second generation may be to formalize and actualize plans to mitigate those risks.”

I get the sense that these young CFEs thoroughly comprehend that they have a serious responsibility to assume the mantle of the trailblazers. This movement could have died in its genesis. But ACFE leaders and the faithful fought institutional resistance because they knew so much was at stake. The second generation knows they can’t drop the ball.

“The public is fed up with the greed, financial fraud and the abuse of the public trust,” says Jeff Windham, J.D., CFE, senior forensic analyst and general counsel with Forensic Strategic Solutions, P.C. “The ‘golden age of fraud’ from approximately 1980 through 2010 is no longer en vogue. The public is mad, fearful and less trusting than it has ever been. And, thanks largely to the pioneering integrity of the first generation of CFEs, today’s CFEs have a higher position of trust and respect than ever before.”

Get to know these young CFEs. Their views might give you part of the picture of the fraud examination profession in the next quarter century.