Fraud Conference is a News Maker


Scott Patterson
ACFE Senior Media Relations Specialist

When most people think about conferences, they conjure thoughts of chilly meeting rooms and PowerPoint presentations. Name tags. Perhaps some dry “trade talk” and (you hope) some free swag. These events are important for our professional development – but let’s be honest, for anyone not involved, a conference isn’t exactly headline-grabbing news. Unless it’s the ACFE Global Fraud Conference, that is.

There are always a number of journalists covering the annual event, and this year was no different. They came to report on the latest trends in cyber fraud, online investigations, interviewing techniques and other cutting-edge issues in our profession. Not only that, they wanted to hear what our keynote speakers had to say to thousands of fraud fighters who hung onto their every word. This year saw even more media coverage than usual, including live reporting by CNBC and on-location coverage from Fortune, Forbes, Accounting Today and other venues.

When CNBC set up their cameras to film the ACFE’s Cressey Award-winner Preet Bharara on the opening day of the Conference, they anxiously waited to see what breaking news he would announce from the podium. Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, didn’t disappoint: During his speech he revealed that the 2nd Circuit issued its ruling on the Raj Rajaratnam (currently serving 11 years in prison) appeal by upholding the conviction – a statement that was met with enthusiastic applause from the audience.

Forbes blogger Walt Pavlo and Accounting Today editor-in-chief Michael Cohn attended breakout sessions and covered a variety of aspects of the conference. Peter Elkind, Fortune editor-at-large and co-author of The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron, was on hand to see Andrew Fastow deliver the conference’s closing keynote address.

The Fastow appearance created a lot of buzz around the Conference. It was his first public appearance before a large audience and the media. Though his speech was not videotaped, as per his request, CNBC reported live (on-location from the conference) immediately following his address with reaction to his revelations and admissions.  

CNBC reporter Scott Cohn and his crew stayed through the entire Main Conference, talking with speakers, attendees and exhibitors. The result was a great clip produced for PBS Nightly Business Report that covered the event as a whole, a summation of the largest gathering of anti-fraud professionals in the world included in a segment titled, "Financial Fraud Fears."

It’s exciting to see the media sharing the experience of the ACFE Global Fraud Conference with the rest of the world. It just helps illustrate that it’s not only a conference – it’s an event.

Read all of the news coverage from the Conference.

Jim Ratley Named as One of Accounting Today’s Top 100 Most Influential People


John Gill, J.D., CFE
ACFE VP of Education

When I heard earlier this week that Jim Ratley, the ACFE’s President and CEO, was named one of Accounting Today’s Top 100 Most Influential People, I can honestly say that I was not surprised. Each fall, the publication carefully narrows down a swarm of nominations to the 100 people making a difference and “playing the biggest roles in the ongoing work that is the accounting profession.” Jim is definitely one of these people.

I have known and worked with Jim for more than 17 years, and I can assure you Accounting Today did not make a mistake. When I started at the ACFE back in 1995, I hardly saw Jim. He was on the road teaching about 75 percent of the time. Back then, I headed both the ACFE’s legal department and our research/publications department, and Jim was our program director and primary instructor. I worked with Jim to research and write a lot of the material he taught. I am always amazed at how good he was (and still is). I could hand him any set of material, and he could bring it to life like no one else.

He has taught thousands upon thousands of people over the last 25 years to glowing reviews and praise. For the first time, I’m ready to reveal his secrets. First, he knows what he’s talking about. Jim worked as a Dallas police officer and a private detective for 20 years before helping found the ACFE. When he explains how you should conduct an interview, he knows because he learned his techniques the hard way.

Second, he enjoys what he does. Jim loves talking, and he loves talking about fraud. You can see his face light up when he starts telling a story about how he nabbed the bad guy by beating him at a “cat and mouse” game during an admission-seeking interview.

And finally, he uses humor like no one else I know. It’s hard to sit and listen to one person for eight hours. But Jim not only can communicate information, he entertains as he does it. He has a thousand stories (I know because I’ve heard each one several times over the years), but I swear, they are still entertaining. The people in his classes enjoy listening and learning from him.

Today, as President and CEO of the largest anti-fraud organization in the world, he is working to expand the ACFE’s programs and services internationally, and he does an amazing job. Although his travel schedule is lighter, he still makes trips all over the globe to talk to accountants, auditors, attorneys, investigators and law enforcement about the importance of fraud detection and prevention. And once again, he runs the ACFE using his three secret weapons – knowledge, passion and humor. I am proud that Accounting Today recognized his achievements. He certainly deserves it.