FROM THE PRESIDENT AND CEO
Bruce Dorris, J.D., CFE, CPA
ACFE President and CEO
Bryan Fogel has most likely never performed a ratio analysis on corporate financial statements or testified in court during a fraud trial, but the story he told through the Academy Award-winning documentary, ICARUS, resonates with what we do as fraud examiners.
CFEs dedicate their professional lives to fighting fraud and getting into the mindset of fraudsters to protect their clients and organizations. In Fogel’s case, he literally had a front row seat to the fall of an Olympic team and the many players involved in a decades-long scandal. What begins as a documentary detailing how systemic fraud spread in the cycling profession ends with an astonishing look at the deep levels of corruption a government would go to cover up their doping practices.
The story also gives us an intriguing look at an accomplice who eventually shined a light on the problem. When Fogel needed help replicating a cyclist’s doping regimen, he enlisted Grigory Rodchenkov, the director of the Russian Olympic lab in Moscow, to assist him. Rodchenkov is certainly a flawed character. And his journey from being a mastermind behind the Russian doping scandal to becoming a key witness in this massive cover-up is compelling.
Initially, Fogel was confused that the director of such a prestigious facility would help him show “why the system doesn’t work.” Though Rodchenkov doesn’t rise to the level of sentinel, his story is noteworthy and engaging, and it exposes fraud at a high and orchestrated level. Almost overnight, Rodchenkov’s life goes from being a state hero to a wanted man. In turn, Fogel’s tale moves from a story of doping practices to a James Bond-style thriller.
What brought Rodchenkov, whose Olympic success was largely based on deceit, to the point where he would risk so much to shine a light on what many suspected but had little evidence to prove? Reading this story in the latest issue of Fraud Magazine and watching the documentary will give you new insight on how far some will go to cover up fraud and how far others will journey to expose it.
Fraud is rampant in many industries, and, as Fogel demonstrates, it doesn’t always involve a spreadsheet.