How Hard the Mighty Can Fall


James D. Ratley, CFE
ACFE President and CEO

Sometimes there seems to be no end to the list of corporate giants crippled or demolished by fraud. All too often these companies should have seen it coming, but did not. Two recent examples illustrate just how hard the mighty can fall.

The former chairman and owner of Taylor, Bean & Whitaker in June drew a 30-year sentence for his pivotal role in a $2.9 billion mortgage fraud scheme that brought down his firm and Colonial Bank, which once were leaders in, respectively, the privately held mortgage lending and banking sectors.

Only a week later, JPMorgan Chase & Co. entered into a non-prosecution agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice, acknowledging responsibility for a fraud scheme in which some of its employees illegally manipulated bids in the municipal bond market from 2001 to 2006. As part of the agreement, Chase will pay federal and state agencies $228 million in restitution, penalties and disgorgement of profits.

These incidents and others like them highlight a growing crisis: Many large organizations, despite their size and sophistication, are in dire need of well-informed anti-fraud leadership. With the right training and support from a best-of-breed professional association, their employees can fill that gap and mitigate frequently unchecked fraud risks. The missing ingredient in building such cadres of in-house fraud fighters is an arrangement — customized to meet the needs of large companies — for simplifying the process of obtaining and maintaining professional certification for groups of individuals.

In response, the ACFE has developed the Corporate Alliance Program, which makes it easier for large organizations to help their employees obtain the CFE credential. Imagine what your team, certified and sharing a common vocabulary and body of knowledge, could do to improve your company's fraud awareness program and internal controls.

Read the full Letter from the President here.