In the case of Livent, Inc. v. Deloitte & Touche the Ontario Court of Appeal upheld a 2014 decision ordering Deloitte & Touche (Deloitte) pay $118 million in damages to a theater company (Livent, Inc.) for which Deloitte performed auditing services. Why was Deloitte held accountable for such a large sum?Read More
Adama Renner, CFE, FCA
Deputy Audit General
Audit Service Sierra Leone
Adama Renner, CFE, FCA, is no stranger to fraud, having been involved in fraud detection and prevention since the early 2000s. She serves as the Deputy Audit General of Audit Service Sierra Leone (ASSL) and has played an instrumental role in exposing high-level governmental corruption that led to multiple public servants suspended without pay. Renner recently attended her first ACFE Global Fraud Conference and found the experience to be inspiring and enlightening. “Listening to the presentations and interacting with fraud examiners from other fields helped me to appreciate how I can better undertake my audits in order to increase the chances of a successful prosecution in a court of law,” she said.
How did you become passionate about fighting fraud?
After obtaining my bachelor’s degree in accounting, I started my career as a trainee auditor with KPMG in 1998 prior to obtaining my ACCA. As a young professional, I was trained to ensure full compliance with rules and procedures. I became concerned when during the course of my work, I began to be confronted with “false reporting” — that is, reports being falsified to present activities which were never undertaken, overstatement of work actually undertaken as against actual work carried out, or poor quality of work charged at high costs. This was my first exposure to fraud, and since then I have been committed to exposing misappropriations at every turn.
Through the lens of your work as the Deputy Audit General of the ASSL, do you believe there are any types of fraud issues unique to Sierra Leone?
I would not say any fraud issue is unique to Sierra Leone but rather, the reaction to fraud is what appears unique. Whereas in other jurisdictions, fraud is greatly frowned at, in Sierra Leone, the repercussions of being caught in fraud are virtually nonexistent.
What trends do you see on the horizon for fraud prevention and detection in your government or the world as a whole?
As fraud fighters, establishments like the ASSL and Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) have been coming up with strategies aimed at sensitizing the general public to the negative impact of fraud on the national economy. This awareness is gradually gaining ground, although not fast enough. Public servants are now required to submit updated asset declaration forms annually. The advent of social media has also increased public scrutiny and public awareness over issues of transparency and accountability.
You recently attended your first ACFE Global Fraud Conference. How did that impact you?
The networking opportunities, the availability of resources and the dedication of fraud fighters like [VA whistleblower] Dr. Sam Foote were truly motivating.
Over the years, teaming up with the ACC and attorney general’s office to investigate and charge cases of fraud detected during our audits have been met with challenges over the issue of admissible evidence. The presentations linking audit and investigations gave me a clearer understanding of the relationship between the roles of the auditor and the investigator in a fraud examination.
Finally, watching videos of convicted fraudsters is inspiring in a way, but having a live testimony was overwhelming. It brought the issue of fraudulent conduct closer to home and not as some far-fetched idea. I could see first hand how fraud has the potential to not just take all you ever gained but even leave your reputation and legacy in total ruin. That for me was mind-blowing and a proper climax to my first conference.
What activities or hobbies do you like to do outside of work?
Reading is my hobby. Meeting the authors of some of the books in the bookstore inspired me to get their books, and my target over the next few weeks is to read the books purchased from the bookstore during the conference.
Read Adama's full interview in the ACFE's online Career Center.
Ralph Summerford, CFE
President, Forensic Strategic Solutions
The premier annual conference for anti-fraud professionals just concluded in Nashville at Music City Center. Nashville has every reason to beat its chest about this new venue — it is just fantastic. It’s as good as, if not better than, any conference center in any major city across the country.
The ACFE Global Fraud Conference just gets better and better every year. The ACFE now has more than 80,000 members, more than 3,100 of which attended this conference. These members allow the conference to grow exponentially each year, making it the place to be for anyone serious about the detection and prevention of fraud.
The world of fraud is rapidly changing, making the ACFE Global Fraud Conference a necessity. For example, nowadays a bank robber can remain in his basement and commit 15,000 robberies through his computer. He doesn’t even have to go to the bank, and he can cover his tracks through the Dark Web of the internet. Internet 2.0 is coming — it looks great and security will be better for everyone, but it will take some time.
Meanwhile back at the ranch, computer hacking, ransomware and theft through the computer continue to grow exponentially. These trending topics and more were covered extensively at the immeasurably valuable conference.
Specialists in the multifarious ways of fraud detection and prevention shared the latest and greatest methods to find and investigate fraud in today’s environment. Anti-fraud specialists know our world functions best through personal networking. The conference gives attendees the chance to connect with peers from around the world. I continue to connect with peers I met more than 20 years ago, as well as those I have met in the last few years. My new connections will be just as valuable as the old ones.
Speaking at the conference is a gratifying experience. The ACFE selects only speakers who can teach and offer valuable insights on their selected subject matter because the members are not timid about offering criticism and feedback. This year marked my 15th year to speak, and I presented two sessions on the auditor’s responsibility to detect fraud. The main takeaway for the presentation was that if fraud is committed and the auditor does not detect that fraud, there is likely a 99 percent chance the auditor will be sued. I shared information on professional standards and the devastating consequences of the auditor’s failure to discover a fraud scheme.
What a treat to attend and speak at one of the most professional, informative and well-organized conferences in the world. I look forward to returning to the conference in Las Vegas next year!
Be sure to register for next year's conference by August 31 to lock in 2017 pricing!
LIVE FROM THE ACFE GLOBAL FRAUD CONFERENCE
A quick search on my social media networks would tell you where I work, who my family members are, where I went to college and who my 5 year-old claims to be her “boyfriend.” Yes, social media is full of seemingly useless information like cat memes and time-lapsed cooking videos. But, what if all of those small, meaningless pieces of information added up to something bigger? According to Diana Ngo, those “crumbs” can each or all lead to that competitive edge you need when working on a fraud examination. “Social media gives me that competitive edge in investigations,” Ngo said. “It gives you a crumb that you can follow.”
Ngo is an Associate Director at Blackpeak Group, where she manages complex reputational and investigative enhanced due diligence projects. She also led the breakout session at the 28th Annual ACFE Global Fraud Conference titled, “Using Social Media for Investigative Purposes” where she highlighted the following ways you can use social media in your investigations:
- Source of wealth research for on-boarding clients
- Asset identification research for asset-seizing court orders
- Whistleblower investigations for employees having undisclosed interests via family members
- Investigating misrepresented personal or business relationships
According to Ngo, law enforcement uses social media for 80 percent of its investigations. While there may seem like an endless list of sites to consider, she highlighted the top areas of coverage to pay specific attention to:
- WeChat: China’s Facebook. Best for finding sources. Pro Tip: You can use keyword searches for all public accounts.
- Weibo: China’s Twitter. Pro Tip: Look at followers of a person and the people they follow for connections.
- Instagram: A photo-sharing network. Fastest-growing application with most active users 18-29 years old. It is extremely popular in the Philippines and Singapore. Pro Tip: Every single photo has a timeline, so you can build timelines around posts.
- Facebook: Members have the most active internet users. Pay close attention to the privacy settings: they are complicated and change frequently. Pro Tip: Use their strong search engine. You can search down to “men who went to the UCLA, live in New York and work at Deloitte.”
- LinkedIn: Professional networking site. Made up of more males than females, people of higher incomes and higher education levels. Pro Tip: You can change the settings on your account to search anonymously.
Ngo reminded attendees to not solely rely on the information you find while scrolling and searching. According to Ngo, you still have to confirm everything you find because social media is managed by individuals. And those individuals, like us, want to represent themselves in the best way possible online. I mean, no one is going to post a video of themselves with piles of jewels and brag about a crime they committed, right?