Policing Fraud: An Excerpt from Jim Ratley's New Autobiography


Mandy Moody, CFE
ACFE Content Manager

I have had the honor of working for and with ACFE President James D. Ratley, CFE, or as many of us know him, Jim, for almost seven years. (His mama calls him Jimmy Don, but don't tell him I told you that). I still remember the first time I met him. It was July of 2010 and "hot as all get out" (one of his quotes) in Austin, Texas. We were preparing for the 21st Annual ACFE Global Fraud Conference and we had just had a meeting to go over everyone's duties. Jim came up to me at my desk and told me the first of many (tall) tales. He said, "I am the janitor here, so any time you need anything removed or taken out, you just let me know." I knew of his photo from the website, but I was still left speechless because I didn't know what to say. Did I remember his name and face wrong? Was he really the janitor? Do places even have a 24-hour janitor? So many questions ran through my mind in the 30 seconds it took for him to reveal a big grin and a somewhat shy cackle. 

I have been listening to his stories ever since, and I am excited to share this exclusive look at his recently released autobiography, Policing Fraud: My Journey from Street Cop to Anti-Fraud Leader. Here is just a small taste of the many stories that make up Jim Ratley:

"When I worked in Internal Affairs, I often wondered how police officers could commit frauds that jeopardized their careers, livelihood, and ability to support a family. In some ways, it’s an unanswerable question. We all are, to a large extent, mysteries to ourselves and each other. But this much I knew: Because actions matter more than intentions, there could be no justification for betraying those who rely on you. So my actions at home and on the job were going to be as good as I could make them. I was no saint, and still am not, as you’ll learn in the following pages. But I try to learn from my mistakes, and when I make a commitment to my family, my friends, my colleagues, or my employer, I honor it.

It was therefore a shock and a deep disappointment to me that DPD [Dallas Police Department] did little about the time-card fraud that a couple dozen officers in the motorcycle and street patrol units had committed. A few of the officers involved were transferred to other units; most of the offenders, however, were reprimanded but not disciplined or penalized.

A cynic would have said the results were predictable. But you didn’t have to be a starry-eyed optimist to think the department would enforce its own regulations. These requirements supposedly were equivalent to the word of God, and they spelled out everything from when to draw your weapon and how to file arrest warrants and expense reports to what meritorious citation ribbons you could wear above your badge. Although these rules numbered in the hundreds, if you didn’t adhere to them, you’d be cited for noncompliance, which would negatively affect your pay, chances for promotion, duty station, assignments, working partners, and days off—in short, your entire professional life. So I followed these sensible rules and expected the department to enforce them fairly without exception.

But for the dozens of officers implicated in the time-card frauds, there was safety in numbers. Prosecuting so many of them would have severely tarnished the department’s public image and was therefore politically unacceptable to the top brass. So, despite my lieutenant’s and my protests, the case was hushed up and forgotten as quickly as possible. But it was clear to me—and to any crook in DPD—that the bigger the fraud, the smaller the punishment would be."

Read more stories from Ratley's life as a fraud fighter and get your copy today at ACFE.com