Highlights from the 2017 ACFE Fraud Conference Europe


Mandy Moody, CFE
ACFE Content Manager

Last week, more than 250 fraud fighters from the European region gathered in London to discuss the latest in fraud examination techniques, ethics and more. In addition to a presentation by convicted UBS trader, Kweku Adoboli (read the New York Times article, "A Rogue Trader Blames the System, but Not All Are Persuaded"), attendees walked away with actionable items to include in their own daily activities for preventing and detecting fraud. A few of the highlights include: 

When and how to approach law enforcement and prosecution
A panel of investigators discussed tips for companies and individuals to follow when reporting fraud to law enforcement:

  • Include a well-written report that defines intent. As Pennings said, “It is easier to conduct an investigation once there is a clear sign of intent. It has to hold water that it was intentional and not an accident.”
  • Make sure there is a clear collection of evidence. According to Pennings, you can’t recreate a path of evidence after the fact. It may be best to train your employees on how to forensically collect evidence at a crime scene.
  • Complete and submit a report that tells a cohesive story. Felton explained that his reports are only about half a page, so companies have to tell that story succinctly and efficiently. “If it is not clear in your head, then you have got a problem,” Felton said. “When you can’t even read through it and can’t understand it, you have got a problem. Sometimes I can’t find an offense.”

Read the full recap.

A strong ethical framework is good for business
Laura Davies, Director of Fraud at Huntswood, explained that understanding the current global landscape and putting an emphasis on culture is a step in the right direction for anti-fraud experts and organizations. Davies shared examples of recent scandals where consumer trust has been deeply shaken. Most recently, Volkswagen (VW) has been dealing with the fallout from their diesel emissions scandal. Read the full recap.

Using a risk-based pre-employment screening
Previous criminal activity can be hard to find and can put organizations at considerable risk. There are checklist recommendations that usually provide a list of information sources that should be accessed during a screening — they tell you where you can find information on an applicant. But, according to Bernhard Maier, CII, director of BM-Investigations E.U., many of these lists come from the U.S. and aren't multi-jurisdictional. Read the full recap.

Attendees also enjoyed keynote presentations by Clare Rewcastle Brown, the Editor-in-Chief of the Sarawak Report and the investigative journalist who reported on the Malaysian 1MDB corruption scandal, and Mark Livschitz, a recognized AML attorney. You can find more in-depth coverage of the conference at FraudConferenceNews.com

Eugene Kaspersky: The Hackers Aren't Winning


Eugene Kaspersky
World-renowned cybersecurity expert, CEO, Co-founder of Kaspersky Labs and keynote speaker at the upcoming 2015 ACFE European Fraud Conference in London, March 22-24

Why do you think it is important for anti-fraud professionals to be up to speed on the latest cybercrime and cybersecurity?

Keeping up with (ideally keeping ahead of) cybercrime is essential if we’re serious about providing effective protection against cyberthreats for financial institutions and their clients. The sophistication of malware used by criminals to attack banks is on the rise, and we’re now facing a very dangerous situation: the stealthy, cutting-edge malicious tools that were once only to be found in state-sponsored espionage campaigns are now available to criminals as well. We’re now seeing government-grade advanced persistent threats (APTs) used to attack banks to steal money. This means that investment in IT security — including in the education of security specialists and in forensics — is vital for building effective protection for any organization that could be targeted by cyberfraud.

What advice do you have for those working in fraud detection and prevention who simply feel overwhelmed and outnumbered by cyberthreats?

Don’t panic, and do your job! There are many reasons to be paranoid when you’re in the security business, as you have to understand all possible attack scenarios, and there are admittedly many of them. It’s very important to always learn to be able to address this growing number of threats: knowledge transfer, training and the ability to use the industry’s best practices to confront the attackers are vital. It’s either impossible or very costly to build 100 percent secure cyber-protection, so the goal should be to make that protection as robust and as strong as possible to make a hack more expensive than a physical, real-world robbery. 

What do you most hope attendees will take away from your address?

Despite all the threats, we can be optimistic: I think the hackers aren’t winning, and we in the security business aren’t losing the battle. We can provide very high levels of protection if we continue to learn, develop our defensive technologies, conduct regular security audits and generally take cybersecurity seriously.

Read more about Kaspersky and other keynote speakers at ACFE.com/European. Register by February 20 to save EUR 125.

The Fraud Examiner’s Role in Responding to Whistleblowing


Chairman of Whistleblowers UK and keynote speaker at the 2013 ACFE European Fraud Conference, 17-19 March in Prague

According to the ACFE’s Report to the Nations, more frauds are detected by tips than by any other method. What role do anti-fraud professionals play in ensuring tips are welcomed, encouraged and not punished?

Tips are only worthwhile if they are valid, verifiable and justified. Sources of tips should be aware that they may remain anonymous, but if they are to believed then the tip off cannot stand in isolation but must be provable – one way or another. Anti-fraud professionals have a role in ensuring that tips are valid and verifiable and sort out those that are worthy of note from those that aren’t. That way when a true tip is offered, the recipient, be it a company, organization, manager, director or compliance officer, knows that it is a worthwhile piece of information that is worth investigating.    

How have you seen the role of the whistleblower change over the past few years? Do you think this role will change in the future and become more accepted and praised?

The role of the whistleblower hasn’t changed – it still remains as a source of information that exposes wrongdoing in the face of resistance by those who should have dealt with the information properly.

There have been those who have tried to use whistleblowing to propagate personal aims or settle debts, and they do real whistleblowers a great disservice. But there remains a fundamental corporate distrust of whistleblowers that needs to be actively overcome. Whistleblowing needs to be recognized as a courageous and heroic act, not one born of disloyalty and self-interest. Whistleblowing is not the act of a “sneak.” It is the act of an honest broker who has tried to expose the wrongdoing and found only resistance, coercion and aggression.    

Reward is the wrong word to use – it offers the opportunity for detractors to profess that whistleblowers are merely “in it for the money.” But we do need to find a way to compensate whistleblowers for the stress, discomfort, family pain, financial loss, career stoppage and sheer hell of what we go through.

What do you most hope attendees will take away from your address?

An understanding of what makes a whistleblower tick and what they can do to help future whistlebowers.

Read more about Foxley and the other keynote speakers at this year’s ACFE European Fraud Conference. And don't forget, the last day to register early and save EUR 125 is this Friday, 15 February.

Making Membership Mean More


Scott Patterson
ACFE Senior Media Relations Specialist

Planning for the year ahead. Setting new goals. Making resolutions. These are just a few rituals that many of us dig into with the coming of a new year. It is only natural and healthy to be forward-looking. Yet one project has taught me the value of looking at the past, as well. 

Every year, starting in December, we start putting together the ACFE Report to Members. It is a chance to reflect on accomplishments and achievements during the course of the year, and keeps us grounded and focused on where we are headed for the future. For example: the ACFE’s international presence continued to grow in 2012, with historic fraud conferences in Greece and South Africa. Telling these stories may inspire other international chapters and their members as they plan their events for 2013, along with conferences like the fast-approaching 2013 ACFE European Fraud Conference, March 17-19 in Prague.

As editor of The Fraud Examiner e-newsletter, I've already got a month-to-month snapshot of many ACFE happenings throughout the year. But there are resources such as our free, members-only webinars and new online career events that occurred not just once, but regularly, during 2012. The Report gives us the chance to reflect on all of those accomplishments.

Our Report to Members for 2012 has a theme: Making Membership Mean More. Nice alliteration, right? But it is also a sincere expression of our commitment to making your ACFE membership as valuable as it can be -- the most beneficial and irreplaceable professional membership around. That is our focus, and every year our entire staff works hard to develop new ways to fulfill this commitment.

You can read in the Report about the initiatives we took in 2012 to do this -- I won't spoil it. But I will tell you what's new about the publication itself. This year, we rolled it out in a new format -- those of you on iPads can download the specially developed iBooks version of the Report to Members. You'll be able to view the multimedia features inside the document itself. Of course, we know not everyone carries an iPad, so the Report is still available in PDF format, as well

In addition to a letter from our president and CEO, James D. Ratley, CFE, and highlights for the year, we've included a member profile and a video interview. There is also a link to our new podcast series, Fraud Talk, as well as a slideshow of images from different events throughout 2012. We hope you enjoy all the different ways to look back on last year through these special features.

Most of all, I hope you get as much inspiration from looking back at 2012 as we do. The Report to Members is available for download here.

ACFE Report to Members: A Look Back at 2011


Scott Patterson
ACFE Media Relations Specialist

At the end of every year, we sit down and put together our Report to Members. It’s a time to reflect on the ACFE’s success over the past 12 months and measure organizational growth and benefits for our members. From a development standpoint, it’s a creative time to design what we hope is a compelling and engaging publication that will inspire readers and get them as enthusiastic about the year ahead as we are.

This year, we tried something new. We compiled the ACFE’s biggest accomplishments of 2011 and mapped them out chronologically, from quarter to quarter. The 2011 Report to Members truly became a “Year in Review.” From the debut of our Advisory Council in January to the release of “Inside the Fraudster’s Mind” in December, the Report takes you on a journey through a year of successes and milestones in our mission to provide the best training and resources in the fight against fraud worldwide. The new ACFE.com, International Fraud Awareness Week, and new seminars and resources are just a few of the highlights covered in the Report.

One major aspect of creating the Report is selecting a theme. In this case, the choice, “Growing Your Global Network,” became obvious because of the networking opportunities provided through our international conferences, social communities, Advisory Council and Corporate Alliance.

Readers of our previous Report to Members will recall a new feature: a clickable video interview with an ACFE member. I really like this multimedia highlight, and we made sure to include one again this year -- an interview with Ronnie Booth, CFE. Booth, assistant auditor general for the U.S. Naval Audit Service, sat down with the ACFE during our 22nd Annual Fraud Conference and Exhibition to talk about his experience as an anti-fraud professional and a CFE.

We also included two great member profiles: Andy Egloff, CFE, fraud investigations manager for EMEA, Dow Europe GmbH, Horgen in Switzerland; and Grace Corbett, CFE, BSA, director of risk management for Sun East Federal Credit Union in Pennsylvania. We think you will find things in common with these two professionals in their efforts as career fraud fighters.

I hope you’ll enjoy this reflection on 2011 as much as we enjoyed creating it. Here’s to all we accomplished together in 2011, and to even more success in 2012.