Former Enron CFO to Speak on Gray Areas at ACFE Fraud Conference in Dubai


Interview with Andrew Fastow, former Enron CFO and convicted fraudster,* and keynote speaker at the upcoming 2017 ACFE Fraud Conference Middle East, January 29-31

What are you most hoping attendees will take away from your presentation?
This is my first time to speak in this region, so I am looking forward to the opportunity. I am hoping attendees will take away that there is more than one way to think about fraud. Fraud can often occur even when people don’t realize they are committing fraud, and this is something that fraud examiners need to be thinking about. It’s not just about bribery, embezzlement and faking numbers or accounts, but about certain behaviors. I hope people will gain some insight into the behaviors that can lead to fraud.

Why do you think the Enron scandal and message you share remains relevant today?
It remains relevant because of its size and its magnitude, and also the spectacular way and speed with which it imploded. It’s scary because almost no one saw it coming. It is also particularly relevant today because of the human behaviors exhibited there; they are universal human behaviors. Some people are just better at controlling them than others. It really is a story about human nature more than a story about business. I think that’s why it resonates with people. Almost everyone is guilty of this type of behavior at varying degrees and at some point professionally or personally. A comment I often get after my presentations is, “I could think of a dozen situations I have been in where I rationalized things, and now I am second guessing what I did.”

When you are delivering your presentation and sharing your story, are you most trying to highlight the controls that were not in place or red flags missed, or do you think you could potentially sway executives to think twice before crossing blurry ethical lines?
I hope that people walk out of my talk confused. I am not there to lecture them on what the answers are. I want them to walk out thinking, “Whoa, I was thinking everything was black and white, but there really are many shades of gray.” It is not just the black area that leads to fraud, but the gray area as well.

Read more about Fastow and other keynote speakers at

*The ACFE does not compensate convicted fraudsters.

My Lunch With Andy Fastow


Emily Primeaux
Assistant Editor, Fraud Magazine

It was on a hot, muggy day in Singapore, at a corner table in Beijing Number One — one of the many restaurants in the Marina Bay Sands Hotel mall — that I sat down with Andrew Fastow, former Enron CFO, to talk about one of the most infamous fraud schemes of the past 15 years. We were the only ones in the restaurant — just two unassuming people in the corner of a traditional Asian eatery. Andy asked if I’d be interested in sharing a whole Peking duck. When in Singapore, right?

While we waited for our roasted duck, I pulled out my two recorders, set them on the table and said, “Now I know you’re typically against being recorded in any way, but I have to record this so that I quote you accurately. Are you comfortable with this?” Andy looked me in the eye and replied, “That’s fine. I trust you.”


What a short and seemingly simple word. It can be tough to gain and very simple to lose. Trust is present every day in so many aspects of our lives. We trust our significant others to fulfill their promised duties. We trust our employers to pay us the amount we’re owed and on time. Many of us innately believe people will make just and ethical decisions, no matter how hard.

And here in my little corner of Singapore, I was about to pry into the unsavory parts of his past. I was going to poke and prod and ask him to reveal things that, until this point, he’d never truly opened up about. Sure, he’s spoken at conferences, but I had free reign to delve into the true machinations of the Enron scandal and for the first time he didn’t have time to completely prepare.

In his interview with Fraud Magazine, Andy explained that he tried to technically follow the rules, but he also undermined the principle of the rule by finding the loophole. "I think we were all overly aggressive,” he said. “If we ever had a deal structure where the accountant said, 'The accounting doesn't work,' then we wouldn't do those deals. We simply kept changing the structure until we came up with one that technically worked within the rules.” He now calls his machinations fraud.

“I was the gatekeeper. I should have been making the tough calls and I didn’t. I just abdicated,” Andy told me. “We had senior executives, like myself, who were doing deals that sent a bad ethical message.”

To read the full interview, visit

Insight Into The Mind of a Fraudster


By Emily Primeaux
Assistant Editor, Fraud Magazine

“You can follow all the rules and still commit fraud and that’s what I did at Enron,” said Andrew Fastow, former Enron CFO and convicted fraudster*, at the 2015 ACFE Asia-Pacific Fraud Conference. “I followed the rules — but undermined the principle of the rule by finding the loophole.”

Fastow told a packed room of attendees that he became the master at gaming the system, explaining that his title at Enron should have been “chief loophole officer.” By creating structured financing transactions that kept debts off-the-balance sheets, Fastow made the company appear healthier than it actually was.

Holding up his trophy for CFO of the Year in 2000 and then subsequently showing his prison ID, Fastow said, “I got this trophy and this prison ID for doing the same deals.” He explained that a CFO can fundamentally change how a company looks, but that doesn’t change the economic standings of the company, which is incredibly misleading.

But his message went beyond the Enron scandal. Fastow explained that what he did is still being done today, and in a bigger way. Referring to it as the “grey area” of accounting, he stated that “there are over $1 trillion off-the-balance-sheet operating leases in the U.S.” — and banks are some of the largest culprits. While these entities might be following the rules, are they considering the ethical implications of each deal? 

“If your role today as fraud examiners is to make sure companies are following the rules, you’re not detecting fraud,” said Fastow. “It’s not just the rules, it’s the principles too. I focused just on the rules and that was my mistake.”

Ultimately, Fastow’s mistake caused irrepreparable damage at Enron. “What I did was wrong and it was illegal and for that I’m very sorry, very remorseful. I wish I could undo it,” he said. “But I’m trying to explain how someone who didn’t necessarily set out to commit fraud or do harm could come to do that and on such a grand scale.”

Other Speakers Cover Money Laundering, the FIFA Scandal and More

While Fastow’s presentation allowed attendees to look into the mind of a fraudster, other featured keynoters and breakout sessions provided tools and techniques to help anti-fraud professionals enhance their fraud-fighting skills.

Jonathan Davison, Chief Executive Officer of Forensic Interview Solutions, kicked the conference off in his Pre-Conference session, Managing Internal Investigations. He asked attendees to look at their investigation as a product and took them through the stages of an internal investigation, from planning, to evidence collection and analysis, and finally to effective report writing.

On day two, James D. Ratley, CFE, President and CEO of the ACFE, opened the main conference by welcoming attendees and speaking about the state of the ACFE and the anti-fraud profession. Ratley encouraged attendees to embrace technology and data analytics. “When the ACFE was founded in 1988, the life of the Certified Fraud Examiner was not as complicated as it is today,” said Ratley. “The computer was still in limited use, and we were just beginning to hear a new term: ‘the Internet’. There was also a new device sitting on people’s desk called the fax machine. Little did we know how technology was about to change our profession.” In order to embrace the changes of the future, he stressed the importance of continuing education and to always remember that knowledge is power.

In one of the first breakout sessions of the day, Jarrod Baker, ACA, Senior Managing Director at FTI Consulting, discussed the recent arrests of numerous FIFA officials for racketeering, fraud and money laundering, and the subsequent resignation of FIFA president Sepp Blatter. Baker then covered lessons anti-fraud professionals could take from the FIFA scandal, including:

  • A company cannot use the pretense of charitable contributions as a way to funnel bribes
  • Bribery laws can be breached even if the purpose of the payment is not achieved
  • You can be subject to international laws based on your conduct, and there is increasing cooperation between international authorities

During lunch, Gunawan Husin, MBCI, CBCP, CAMS, Principal Consultant at Continuum Asia PTE Ltd, spoke to attendees about fraud as a predicate act to money laundering and terrorist financing. “I’m going to mainly be talking about money laundering today, but I don’t want to downplay fraud prevention,” said Husin. “Fraud is key. You need to look at the bigger picture.”

Husin then showed a video that highlighted how money changes hands from institutions to criminals and back again and asked attendees, “Are we doing the right thing as a sector? Are we doing what we are supposed to do to safeguard our institution and community?” He asked people to raise their hands if they’d like to do business with criminals. Not a single hand shot up. “No one wants to do business with criminals? Well what do the statistics say?” he continued. “We’re still doing business with bad guys. They’re still abusing your systems.”

A spirited panel discussion moderated by Roger Darvall-Stevens, CFE, Partner, National Head of Forensic Services, RSM, closed out the final day of the conference. Panelists included Tony Prior, CFE, CAMS, Director, Ernst & Young LLP; Rachael Mah, CA, CPA, PMIIA, Managing Director, AusAsia Training Institute Pty Ltd; and Simon Goddard, CFE, Managing Director, Global Insight Ltd. These international anti-fraud professionals discussed best practices to use when a fraud extends beyond a country’s borders and how to keep on the right side of the law while conducting fraud investigations.

"A pragmatic approach to cross-border or international interactions is necessary as there are many pitfalls of which to be aware to make your fraud examination a success," said Darvall-Stevens. "Understanding the local culture and laws is also essential to ensure that you as fraud examiners don't inadvertently contravene laws or disrespect cultural nuances which is likely to inhibit fact-gathering investigations and anti-fraud work."

As we wrap up another successful ACFE Asia-Pacific Fraud Conference, we look forward to putting on more regional conferences across the globe in 2016: the Middle East Fraud Conference in Dubai (February 14-15), the European Fraud Conference in Brussels (March 20-22) and the Canadian Fraud Conference in Montreal (September 11-14). We hope to see you at one of these events! (Learn more at 

*The ACFE does not compensate convicted fraudsters.

Convicted Enron CFO Says Committing Fraud is Easier Than Ever

“It is easy to find examples of Enron-like behavior today in companies from the U.S. to Asia,” says former Enron CFO and convicted fraudster Andrew Fastow. In the wake of scandals like the Olympus fraud and the recently uncovered emissions scandal committed by Volkswagen, he believes his story is even more relevant today.
“Committing fraud is easier than ever. The tools available to commit fraud have increased exponentially since the 1990s, even since Enron, and more public companies are taking advantage of them,” he told the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. He will be speaking at the 2015 ACFE Asia-Pacific Fraud Conference in Singapore November 4-6 and thinks that fraud is not only growing in frequency, but also expanding its reaches globally. He said, “People are people, no matter what country or region they are from. The drivers of fraud and executives’ rationalizations of actions that may be fraudulent are universal.”
It seems like after fraud cases, the first public response is often for the CEO or chairman to step down from the company or organization. While that might placate shareholders and parts of the public, Fastow warns that a more comprehensive overhaul of company culture may be needed. “Culture starts at the top … But it doesn’t start at the top with pretty statements. Employees will see through empty rhetoric and will emulate the nature of top management decision-making. If top management were to make a statement or decision that is misleading, for example, employees will see that clearly, and they will adjust their behavior accordingly in order to emulate it. A robust ‘Code of Conduct’ can be emasculated by one action of the CEO or CFO.”
The 2015 ACFE Asia-Pacific Fraud Conference will be one of the largest gatherings of fraud fighters in the region. Fastow believes that the attendees of the conference serve more than just a clerical purpose, but are actually one of the best tools in the arsenal against fraud. “The role of fraud examiners needs to be reinforced and expanded. Fraud examiners must not just be the police who catch the problem that has already occurred; they must become the conscience of the company.”
Fastow pled guilty to two counts of securities fraud and served a six-year prison sentence. He has since assisted the Enron shareholders in recovering approximately $6 billion and volunteers his time for speaking engagements at training conferences, universities and business groups around the world. As of today, he is the only former Enron executive that has accepted full responsibility for his role in the scandal.
Fastow will speak at the conference along with Christophe Durand, Interpol’s Head of Cyber Strategy, Barry Wong, Vice President and Head of Asia Pacific for customer fraud management for MasterCard Worldwide and James D. Ratley, CFE, the President and CEO of the ACFE.
Register now for your chance to attend the 2015 ACFE Asia-Pacific Fraud Conference November 4-6 at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.

Self-proclaimed “Chief Loophole Officer” Andrew Fastow to Speak in Singapore


Sarah Hofmann
ACFE Public Relations Specialist

More than 250 anti-fraud professionals from around the Asia-Pacific region will gather for the 2015 ACFE Asia-Pacific Fraud Conference at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, 4-6 November, to listen to leaders in the anti-fraud field, along with an unlikely special guest: a convicted fraudster.

Playing a central part in one of the most notorious corporate fraud cases in history, Andrew Fastow*, former CFO of Enron Corp., will address the very people trying to catch fraudsters like him. Fastow will explain his role the energy giant’s collapse, which resulted in a $40 billion lawsuit and the world’s largest bankruptcy at that point. He will give attendees insight into the red flags that were ignored at Enron, and how his life was affected after being convicted.

Attendees will also hear from keynote speakers including:

  • James D. Ratley, CFE, ACFE President and CEO, U.S.
    In 1971, Ratley joined the Dallas Police Department as a police officer. He was a member of numerous department task forces that concentrated on major fraud cases. In 1986, Ratley left the police department to join Wells & Associates, where he was in charge of fraud investigations. Ratley has been selected as one of Security magazine's "Most Influential Security Executives for 2010" and Accounting Today's "Top 100 Most Influential People."
  • Barry Wong, Vice President, Head of Asia-Pacific, Customer Fraud Management, MasterCard Worldwide, Hong Kong
    Wong is responsible for spearheading the coordinated deployment of anti-fraud solutions to help MasterCard customer financial institutions manage fraud risks and enhance their fraud mitigation controls. He works closely with law enforcement agencies to combat payment card crime as well as with government institutions to provide support for legislation and fraud strategies against card fraud and data protection.
  • Christophe Durand, Head of Cyber Strategy, Interpol, Singapore
    Durand is a Police Senior Superintendent, seconded from the French Judicial Police to INTERPOL Global Complex for Innovation (IGCI), Singapore. Durand is the organization’s central point of contact for cyber strategy. He has accumulated more than 20 years of experience at the confluence of organised crime especially through financial approach (money laundering, international fraud) and IT issues (digital forensics, cybercrime). 
  • Gunawan Husin, MBCI, CBCP, CAMS, Principal Consultant, Continuum Asia PTE LTD, Singapore
    Husin has more than 21 years of international experience in banking with a main focus on disaster recovery, crisis management, corporate security and financial crime compliance (anti-fraud, anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism). Prior to his current role, he led the risk control and oversight of global security and investigations, global resiliency and crisis management for JPMorgan Chase Bank in the Asia-Pacific region.

Breakout sessions will include discussions about money laundering, the FIFA scandal and how to use advanced analytics to catch fraud before it is able to grow.

Special pricing for early registration is available until October 2, 2015. Visit for more information.

*The ACFE does not compensate convicted fraudsters.