A Few Halloween Treats to Enjoy


Cora Bullock
Asst. Editor, Fraud Magazine

Halloween may come once a year, but the tricks of fraudsters unfortunately happen year-round. I am happy, however, to report that there are some treats to be celebrated this year.

Trick: Countrywide, later bought by Bank of America, used a program called "The Hustle" to fast track mortgage loans without checking for fraud, then sold the loans to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, where they often defaulted, to the tune of a cool $1 billion. Countrywide did this while at the same time telling officials that they had tightened their standards.

Treat: A jury voted unanimously that Bank of America was guilty of fraud because of that program.

Trick: Abbott Laboratories actively marketed their drug Depakote, used for bipolar disorder, migraines, and epileptic seizures, for uses other than those the FDA approved. It claimed that doctors could prescribe the drug for schizophrenia and for the aggression that stems from the beginning stages of dementia. This wasn't the case that it had good evidence backing up their claims — it had conducted no studies or trials testing Depakote for these other uses. It "had in fact halted clinical trials that had been undertaken to determine if Depakote was useful in treating other issues because it found that the drug caused some concerning side effects."

Treat: The Justice Department ordered the company to pay more than $1.5 billion.

Trick: Tax return fraud is rampant - someone here at the ACFE discovered that he had been a victim when he tried to file his tax return and was told that a tax return with his Social Security number had already been filed. The Wall Street Journal reported in January that, "The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration last summer reported discovering an additional 1.5 million potentially fraudulent 2011 tax refunds totaling in excess of $5.2 billion."

Treat: Recently, a sting in Miami nabbed 45 people accused of running a huge tax fraud scheme in which the group stole at least 22,000 identities to attempt to receive $38 million in tax refunds (around $11 million was paid).

So as you continue to fight fraud tricksters, remember that there are always treats in the form of prosecutions, arrests and restitution.

Career Connection Not Just For Job Seekers



LaDonna Wernli, CFE, PHR, CBP

ACFE Human Resources Manager

“A teacher’s best gift is a student anxious to learn.”

The quote above was the reply from my mentor of more than 10 years when I took a few minutes one afternoon several months ago to send him an e-mail thanking him for the countless ways he impacted my career and my growth as an employee. Just when I thought he couldn’t get any better, he hits me with a response like that, reminding me once again of all of the many valuable lessons he taught me.

Even though I am still learning every day, I know that it would be selfish of me not to pass on the professional advice and tips I have received throughout my career. This year, I will be working in the Career Connection at the 22nd Annual ACFE Fraud Conference, June 12-17, with the hope of sharing and planning the next steps for those looking to apply, learn or even dig a little deeper into their career growth.

Here are a few of the highlights you can expect to see at the Career Connection:

  • Featured employers: representatives from some of the nation’s top employers like Bank of America, FINRA and Walmart will be on-site. In exchange for a resume, you will receive a book written by one of our career strategists. The book exchange is limited to the first 100 resumes received. All resumes will be circulated among the featured employers for consideration with open positions.
  • Career strategists will answer questions related to the anti-fraud profession. Carl Wellenstein and Tony McKeon are prepared to speak with attendees about career decisions like phasing into a new career, transitioning from public to private sector, elevating your role within your current organization, establishing yourself within your new role and defining your professional goals.
  • Professional development-related presentations: 15-minute presentations focused on starting your own fraud examination practice, maximizing your job search efficiencies and more. 
  • On-site resume review sessions: author and veteran hiring manager J.T. Kirk will review your resume and provide recommendations that will help it stand out from the competition ($30 for 30 minutes). 

I hope to see you in San Diego next month. Whether you are searching for a job, searching for advice or searching for a friendly handshake, be sure to come see me at the Career Connection in the Exhibit Hall.