Ashley Koroluk, CFE
Investigative Financial Crime Analyst, Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Ashley Koroluk hails from a law enforcement family – yet, in her civilian member role, she brings an intense focus to detecting fraud and fighting white-collar crime. In this interview with the ACFE, Koroluk shares the challenges and responsibilities that come with her position, along with some words of wisdom for her colleagues in the anti-fraud profession.
What led you to this line of work?
Law enforcement is definitely in my blood. My father was a member of the RCMP for more than 33 years and continues to work with law enforcement as the Director of the Saskatchewan Witness Protection Program. My brother and fiancé are current RCMP members. I, however, was not interested in becoming a police officer. When the RCMP created this civilian member role, I knew it would be a perfect fit for my inquisitive nature while utilizing my business, financial and economic background. This position allows me to be part investigator, part intelligence analyst and part accountant. I also knew this would be a rewarding role where I could make a difference by helping others, specifically with preventing financial victimization and hopefully recovering proceeds of crime for victims. This role is the only one of its kind in Saskatchewan, which keeps me extremely busy, but allows me to work on new and interesting investigations, constantly keeping me challenged.
Which types of frauds are the most interesting to you?
I find fraudsters involved in corruption and large-scale investment fraud to be the most interesting because they are usually highly educated, well-respected and are purely motivated by greed and arrogance. For me, successful enforcement actions on these types are the most rewarding.
Believe it or not, I am passionate about every investigation because I have never worked on any that were the same. I learn something new each day and with every investigation. One investigation where I was particularly invested in was one that started out as a basic NSF (non-sufficient funds) check complaint. Through a tactical analysis I gathered enough information to formulate an indication that a fraud in progress was occurring. I gave presentations to upper management decision makers so they could get a taste and grasp of what my analysis showed and the magnitude of the fraud. This led to additional resources assisting me with further investigation, which in turn led to its development of one of the province’s highest priority projects and the first completely integrated organized crime investigation containing elements of fraud, drugs and proceeds of crime.
What do you think are some of the most important things for fraud examiners to keep in mind when working to prevent and detect fraud? Is there an element that requires the most focus for you?
Fraud examiners should be mindful that they are gathering evidence and reporting the facts, not expressing opinions. Two qualities that have really paid off for me in all of the investigations I have worked on, that are often overlooked or forgotten, are being creative and persistent. Financial crime investigations can be complex, take a lot of time, resources and money and at least in the law enforcement world, sometimes have to be sold to upper management and the prosecutors because they aren’t the “sexy” guns and drugs type of files.
What advice do you have for other fraud examiners who would follow in your footsteps?
Whether you are working for law enforcement in the criminal realm, or in any private or civil area, the following will assist you:
- Seek out a mentor – you will benefit immensely from their experiences and wisdom.
- Listen to and rely on your investigative intuition and trust your instincts.
- The more investigative experience you gain, the more better equipped you’ll be to deal with fraud.
- Analytical skills are extremely important. Let all the data and the facts guide your analysis and conclusions to not only understand and formulate the big picture of what is going (or went on) but also the why and how things occurred as they did.
- Definitely get your ACFE certification and become involved with the local ACFE chapters and attend the ACFE conferences. This is a great way to meet others and build relationships with like-minded fraud fighters.
Get more insight from Ashley by reading her full profile on ACFE.com.