The New Generation Speaks


James D. Ratley, CFE
ACFE President and CEO

Twenty-five years is just a sliver of time. And yet, the right people with the right idea at the right time can build a dynamic movement in less than a quarter of a century.

Five years ago in Fraud Magazine, we celebrated the history of the ACFE’s first two decades. In this issue, we recall our genesis, but we concentrate even more on our future.

When Dr. Joseph T. Wells, CFE, CPA, Kathie Lawrence and I began in 1988 what was then the National Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, we didn’t know if we would have enough members to make our efforts viable.

However, we conjectured that fraud fighters might be hungry for training and validation. We had no idea how hungry they were!

After our initial promotional mailing to 200 investigators and 200 auditors, the applications first trickled in, then flowed through and eventually deluged our offices. The members’ eagerness for education and acceptance around the globe generated a new profession — fraud examination — and a new credential — the Certified Fraud Examiner.

Now the second generation of CFEs is building on the early members’ foundation. In this issue and the next, we hear from young CFEs in their 20s and 30s.

“Fraud has been on the minds of industry professionals for at least a decade,” says Chris Ekimoff, CFE, 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.”

Brett A. Johnson, CFE, forensic accounting manager for Eide Bailly LLP, says, “The fraud schemes themselves are very similar to what the first generation has taught us. ... E-discovery, utilizing the Internet, social networks and new technology are all things young professionals are generally more familiar with than the first generation in how to apply these tools in fraud examinations.”

Lindsay Harder Gill, CFE, director of forensic technology for Forensic Strategic Solutions Inc., says she “has learned from the first generation of fraud examiners that you cannot perform an examination in a vacuum. It takes a team of diversified skills and personalities.”

I’m impressed with the young CFEs that I meet at training events. Fraud examination principles are second nature to many of them because of higher-education classes afforded through the ACFE’s Anti-Fraud Education Partnership, which Dr. Wells began in the early part of the century.

Now they’re free to build on the first generation’s legacy. We’re in good hands.

Find more articles celebrating the ACFE's 25th anniversary in the current issue of Fraud Magazine.

Gil Geis: A Generous Giant


James D. Ratley, CFE
ACFE President and CEO

Gil Geis had every reason to not be humble. As a professor and researcher, he had written more than 28 books, plus 500 articles and book chapters. He was the preeminent successor to Edwin Sutherland, the "father of white-collar crime." He was a friend and colleague of Donald Cressey — another seminal criminologist and namesake of our Cressey Award. But when you saw Gil, he didn't first talk about himself. He wanted to know what was going on in your life.

Gil passed away Nov. 10, 2012, at the age of 87. We've lost one of the pillars of our association. He was there at the beginning as he counseled and mentored ACFE founder and Chairman Dr. Joseph T. Wells, CFE, CPA, me and many others as we formed this little group that offered a distinctive new way to fight fraud. He was thrilled to help meld so many disparate disciplines that eventually would comprise the Certified Fraud Examiner credential. He wrote the criminology section of the ACFE's Fraud Examiners Manual and was the ACFE's president from 1992 until 2002.

Yet, despite his accomplishments, we'll remember him most for his kindness and generosity. "Regardless of a person's status in the field — whether a well-known scholar or a little-known student — Gil would always take the time to stop, talk and take a genuine interest," says Francis T. Cullen, Ph.D., Distinguished Research Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Cincinnati, in the cover article.

In this issue, we also include an article on Gil's research by one of his disciples, Harry Pontell, Ph.D., plus the first part of one of Gil's last articles, "Unaccountable external auditors: Their roles in the 'Great Economic Meltdown.' " To complete our tribute, we're republishing a chapter from "Contemporary Issues in Crime & Criminal Justice: Essays in Honor of Gilbert Geis," a book that honored Gil on his 75th birthday.

The 17th century British preacher Robert South once said, "If there be any truer measure of a man than by what he does, it must be by what he gives." I think Gil would agree with that. He was a doer, for sure. But he was, more importantly, a giver.

Read more about Geis in Fraud Magazine's cover article in the March/April issue.

The Best — and Biggest — on Earth



James D. Ratley, CFE

ACFE President and CEO

If the International Space Station passes over San Diego next week those on board just might be able to make out the largest group of fraud fighters ever assembled. Well, maybe I’m exaggerating a little. But 2,300 fraud fighters will indeed set an all-time attendance record when they gather in “America’s Finest City” for the 22nd Annual ACFE Fraud Conference, June 12-17.

We’ll welcome you with insights on the latest forensic, legal, regulatory and political developments, combined with enough networking and other fun to make your conference a personal and professional success.

We are also proud to announce the publication of ACFE Founder and Chairman Dr. Joseph T. Wells’ 19th book, Fraud Fighter: My Fables and Foibles. Dr. Wells’ autobiography will be on sale at the Conference, and he will attend a book signing Monday afternoon.

Our internationally renowned keynote speakers also have much to share with you. “America’s Most Wanted” host John Walsh will tell how he became an anti-crime activist, and Joan Pastor, PhD, will explain the fraudster psychology insights she developed during her career in government and law enforcement. Likewise, forensic accounting specialist Dr. Howard M. Schilit will spotlight the early signs of financial statement fraud.  And Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer will offer an inside perspective on his leadership of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).

As you know, insider tips are a prime source of investigative leads for the DOJ and all fraud fighters. That’s one reason for the wide interest in the SEC’s new Whistleblower Program rules, which take effect Aug. 12. As the number of SEC whistleblower cases rises, so will the potential for sometimes controversial parallel proceedings by the DOJ and SEC. More than ever, because of this and other legal complexities, CFEs need to understand factors governing the admissibility of whistleblower-provided evidence that may lead to federal charges against their employers or clients.

Along with the DOJ perspective Breuer will provide, the conference session, “Whistleblowing After Dodd-Frank: A New World,” will help attendees understand the SEC's approach to this important topic. One discussion item you won’t want to miss is the new rules’ position on whether whistleblowers should have to report fraud internally before they do to the SEC.

You’ll find me chatting with members at this and other conference events. I hope to see you soon.