30 Years of Fighting Fraud: A #fraudconfchat Recap

30 Years of Fighting Fraud: A #fraudconfchat Recap

Recently, we co-hosted #fraudconfchat (a Twitter chat) with Forensic Strategic Solutions in support of the 30th Annual ACFE Global Fraud Conference. While the conference has ended and you can read a lot of coverage from the big event, the Twitter chat participants shared so much great advice and wisdom that we wanted to put it all in one place.

Those who joined took the opportunity to discuss how the anti-fraud profession has evolved over the past 30 years and how fraud fighters have stepped up during that time. As usual, everyone came with their best gifs.

If you didn’t get a chance to join the Twitter chat, here are some of the top insights that were shared.

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Longtime ACFE President Retires; New President and CEO Named

As your founder and chairman, it is with both sadness and joy that I am advising you of President James D. Ratley’s retirement next month on his 30th anniversary with the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE). Thousands of you have met Jim; he has given countless presentations at events and local chapters while logging millions of miles on several continents.

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What Does it Mean to be a Regent?


Tiffany Couch, CFE, CPA/CFF
Principal at Acuity Forensics

What does it mean to be a Regent? This simple question was recently posed to me, but I found that answering it was anything but simple. However, there is a recurring word that best describes my experience as a Regent: Deep, as in profound and meaningful.

  • Deeper Connections. Connecting with long-time colleagues and meeting new ones is the best part of my job, especially during the annual ACFE Global Fraud Conference. Being recognized as a Regent (how can you miss us with the big shiny medallion hanging around our necks?!) allows for new connections to be made easily.
  • Deeper Understanding. Did you know that fellow ACFE members span the globe, including countries most of us have never heard of (e.g. Benin, in West Africa)? And our numbers continue to grow year after year? Did you know that the ACFE and the Board of Regents takes our credential and its outlook in the professional community seriously, including the unfortunate position of investigating breaches of the ACFE Code of Professional Conduct? Understanding the depth and breadth of this organization makes me even more proud to be a Certified Fraud Examiner.
  • Deeply Honored. To be recognized by my professional peers as a leader in the field and asked to represent the membership at this level is truly an honor. I’m grateful for the recognition and the experience. 

The best part of the ACFE Board of Regents (and our collective membership) is the fact that we are an interesting bunch — from teachers to lawyers, accountants to law enforcement officers, our backgrounds are varied and interesting. Yet we all have the same deep commitment to detect and prevent fraud. What we can learn from each other and the heights to which our professional credential can rise are truly limitless.

As a Regent, I highly encourage you to take a few minutes’ time to research the individuals on this year’s slate of nominees and make an educated choice for the individual in which you want to be represented. Casting your vote is an important way for you to exercise your right as an ACFE member and to have a voice in the direction of the organization.

Go ahead, dig deep. Find the time on that busy calendar of yours and cast your vote today!

The Fraud Examiner: Past, Present & Future


By Dick Carozza, CFE
Editor-in-Chief, Fraud Magazine

Don’t you love it when a long shot works? You plan a project for months or years, line up your resources, set your launch date and then — omigosh — it succeeds.

That’s how Dr. Joseph T. Wells, James D. Ratley and Kathie Lawrence began the ACFE in 1988: with a novel idea, lots of late nights and a bunch of hope. You know how well that turned out.

To help celebrate the ACFE’s 25th anniversary, I wrote the cover article for the September/October Fraud Magazine, “Second generation creates its own history.” (Part 2 will be in the November/December issue.)

We asked veteran fraud examiners to give us names of young, promising CFEs in their 20s and 30s who are beginning to make a mark in the profession. And we then asked them questions on a wide range of fraud topics.

These young CFEs are impressive! Many are already edging into senior positions and some even own and manage firms. And they know they have advantages that the first generation of CFEs didn’t have.

Back in 1988, lonely auditors and accountants were trying to fight fraud in a system that wouldn’t even recognize the word. In fact, back then fraud was referred to as “irregularity.” Now, young CFEs are steeped in fraud examination principles they’ve learned from their battle-scarred CFE mentors, ACFE training and higher-education classes afforded through the ACFE’s Anti-Fraud Education Partnership.

“Fraud has been on the minds of industry professionals for at least a decade, especially in light of major fraud schemes like Enron, Tyco, Adelphia and WorldCom,” says Chris Ekimoff, CFE, CPA, CGMA, MAFF, 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.”

I get the sense that these young CFEs thoroughly comprehend that they have a serious responsibility to assume the mantle of the trailblazers. This movement could have died in its genesis. But ACFE leaders and the faithful fought institutional resistance because they knew so much was at stake. The second generation knows they can’t drop the ball.

“The public is fed up with the greed, financial fraud and the abuse of the public trust,” says Jeff Windham, J.D., CFE, senior forensic analyst and general counsel with Forensic Strategic Solutions, P.C. “The ‘golden age of fraud’ from approximately 1980 through 2010 is no longer en vogue. The public is mad, fearful and less trusting than it has ever been. And, thanks largely to the pioneering integrity of the first generation of CFEs, today’s CFEs have a higher position of trust and respect than ever before.”

Get to know these young CFEs. Their views might give you part of the picture of the fraud examination profession in the next quarter century.

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.