In a new sub-report, we now focus more closely on how occupational fraud impacts Canada. This study is based on the 82 cases of occupational fraud from Canada that were reported in our 2017 Global Fraud Survey. Collectively, these cases, which accounted for 4% of all cases in our global study, caused a median loss of USD 200,000 and lasted a median 12 months before they were detected.Read More
Pierre-Luc Pomerleau, CFE, PCI, CPP, has been in the anti-fraud field his entire professional career. Last year he helped establish the Montreal Chapter and has already made a big impact on the community by organizing sold-out events, establishing networking opportunities and helping promote the largest ACFE Fraud Conference Canada.
What do you do for a living?
I lead National Bank of Canada’s Corporate Security and Fraud Risk Management Division, which includes corporate security investigations, physical security, and the fraud strategy and data analytics teams.
Why did you decide to enter the anti-fraud field?
I entered the anti-fraud field almost 12 years ago when I was finishing my bachelor’s degree in criminology. I had the opportunity to work part-time as a fraud prevention analyst within a large Canadian financial institution. It was the perfect job for me at that time since the job was related to my degree. At the time, I never thought that I would work in a financial institution. However, since the beginning of my career, I’ve always worked in this industry.
How long have you been involved with the chapter?
I have been the president of the new Montreal Chapter since its formation in October of 2015.
What has been a highlight during your time on the board?
Since March is Fraud Prevention Month in Canada, we felt it was important for us to organize an event to promote fraud awareness. We organized a full-day training event and it was a huge success. A total of 185 anti-fraud professionals attended. We did a survey after the conference and the feedback we received from our members was excellent. Since it was our first full-day event, we did not know how many members would attend and we were glad that it was a sold-out event.
Do you have any advice for other chapter leaders?
A board is like a team. The most important things while investing time in a nonprofit organization are your peers and colleagues on the board. It takes time and a lot of organizational skills to build a website, prepare training, get interesting speakers to present at conferences and sponsors to fund our conferences, as well as to find a location for the members to assist an event while working full-time jobs. Having a dedicated board will ensure volunteering for the chapter will be an amazing and beneficial experience.
I strongly believe it is imperative that chapter leaders share roles and responsibilities between each other and that not only a couple of members do the work that needs to be done. We clarified roles and responsibilities between us and we hold ourselves accountable. I believe that this is the best way to invest time and energy in order to create value for the chapter and its members.
What are your favorite activities and hobbies outside of work?
Outside of work, most of my free time is spent with my wife and two amazing children. We like to travel and it is always fun to go to the beach with our kids. I attend NFL football games with friends in New York usually once a year. Nothing is better than a real tailgate on a Sunday morning before the game! I also like to read books, invest time in my personal development and exercise to stay in shape.
What is your personal motto? Does it have any special meaning?
One of the books that I read recently is Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin, two former Navy Seals. I really appreciate how the authors shared their experiences and explained how some of the strategies employed in the Navy Seals can be applicable in our personal lives as well as in the business world. One quote that I like from Jocko Willink is, “discipline equals freedom.”
What do you consider your greatest achievement to date?
I played football for nine years until I reached college level and this is a sport that I am still a big fan of. In 2002, I had the opportunity to play for Team Canada at the World Junior Championship in New Orleans, Louisiana. We played against team China, Europe and U.S.A. This was quite an experience to play against these countries and at this level. I am still proud of it today.
Read more of Pierre's profile at ACFEChapterNews.com.
Carmen Wiechers, CFE
President, ACFE Vancouver Chapter
Since earning the CFE credential in 2005, Carmen Wiechers has been a steady presence on the Board of Directors of the ACFE Vancouver Chapter. Wiechers is the Western Canada Regional Loss Prevention Manager for Value Village, the largest privately held, for-profit thrift retailer with more than 330 stores across North America.
What career path led you to become a CFE and involved with your local chapter?
I have worked in the Retail Loss Prevention Industry for more than 18 years in a multi-unit capacity, gaining a broad exposure to the industry and holding various positions including Senior Investigator, Regional Manager and National Director.
I decided to return to my roots and am currently working as Western Canada’s Regional Loss Prevention Manager for Value Village. I prefer to be in the trenches educating employees, preventing and investigating fraud. My current position affords a healthy work-life balance allowing me to invest more time with family, hobbies and play a very active role in the Vancouver Chapter.
What new initiatives do you have planned for the chapter?
I recognize that obtaining high quality speakers is paramount for the chapter members’ anti-fraud education and its membership outreach and retention.
I am excited about the newly forged partnership with the Justice Institute of B.C., Canada’s leading public safety and security educator, offering a wide curriculum such as court administration, sheriff, law enforcement and corrections programs.
The chapter will jointly host a half day training session in May 2014 bringing young and mature students together with seasoned anti-fraud professionals.
What do you like to do for fun in your spare time?
I enjoy playing the cello, carving stone or wood and dabbling with acrylic abstracts on canvas. I started taking cello lessons four years ago and learned to read music at the same time. I am very fond of classical music and the cello is very soulful. It comes closest to the human voice in my opinion.
Read Carmen's full profile on our new chapter blog at ACFEChapterNews.com.
LIVE FROM THE CONFERENCE
Allan Bachman, CFE
ACFE Education Manager
“Bonjour” was as far as ACFE President and CEO James D. Ratley, CFE, would take his French in greeting attendees at the 2013 ACFE Canadian Fraud Conference in Montreal. “You’ll find soon enough I have difficulty with English,” he joked when kicking off his session on professional skepticism. Using his trademark combination of real-life examples, including fraudster video interviews, and humor, Ratley kept the attendees' attention throughout. His advice: Assume nothing, always have facts to support your findings and always seek to know more.
Andreas Pohlmann, Monday’s luncheon speaker, has his work cut out for him as the recently appointed chief compliance officer for SNC-Lavalin. Pohlmann spoke on the issues of compliance, maintaining an ethical environment in an organization and the difficulties of getting a company that has strayed back on the right track. “The key to change is leadership,” Pohlmann emphasized before he described leadership’s role in prevention, detection, response and eventually improvement. “Today clean business is our business.” He closed by reiterating, “People are our greatest resource – in particular when it comes to compliance.”
Tuesday kicked off with an ACFE favorite from the recent 24th Annual ACFE Global Fraud Conference. Chris Mathers, a former Royal Canadian Mounted Police undercover officer, described the current fraud climate in Canada. He pulled no punches in his comments about how white-collar criminals are treated lightly by the Canadian judicial system. He used humor and stories from his career to make his points about bribery and corruption. Chris was complimentary of the ACFE and the attendees of the conference, saying they were the “pointy end of the stick in the fight against fraud, and it’s working.”
Lunch on Tuesday continued the strong general sessions with Ed Rosenberg, VP and chief security officer for the BMO Financial Group. Rosenberg pointed out, “There are no boundaries to financial crime. The world is the stage for financial crime now and may not be fully prepared for what is happening.” He sees his role as “criminal risk management." Quoting the ACFE’s 2012 Report to the Nations statistics on criminal background and detection, Rosenberg laid out the cold, hard facts of financial institutions' annual payment card fraud losses that were incurred in Canada alone and the net of recoveries: $500 million a year, an amount so large attendees found it hard to believe. These losses are all absorbed by the banks, and deterring these attacks is a top priority. He closed by discussing several measures they are taking to identify potential threats before they metastasize into real losses.
The ACFE Canadian Fraud Conference is a sum of its parts, and the Pre-Conference on data analytics, as well as the breakout sessions and the gracious host city of Montreal, have been extremely well-received.
INTERVIEW WITH ANDREAS POHLMANN
Chief Compliance Officer at SNC-Lavalin and keynote speaker at the ACFE Canadian Fraud Conference in Montreal, Sept. 8-11
You recently accepted the position of Chief Compliance Officer at SNC-Lavalin. How important is the role of a compliance officer in today’s current business climate?
The business environment is becoming more and more complex, especially for globally-operated companies. I see the chief compliance officer of a corporation as a key function within an organization to ensure ethics and compliance. The compliance officer’s job is to promote an ethics-based company. Companies are confronted with difficult situations where they have to react and resist, and the compliance officer’s support and advice enables employees to behave in the right way. The chief compliance officer is a trusted advisor to the organization; he/she is involved in day-to-day operations to enable employees to do the right thing under varying circumstances.
What is unique about the group of fraud-fighters you will address in Montreal?
This is a very professional group of people that is engaged in fraud examinations and investigations and would like to learn about the interface to the compliance function. Compliance officers are not necessarily investigators, but we all need to work together. Fraud examiners and investigators have to cooperate with compliance officers and vice versa. To learn from each other is a valuable step forward. There are three columns in a compliance program: prevention, detection and response. The middle function of these, detection, is where all of the functions come together.
What do you most hope attendees will take away from your keynote address?
I would like to talk about ethics and compliance as a top management priority. This means that the compliance function can only be a support and can assist in getting to a culture of high integrity and compliance in an organization. I would like to convey that ethics and compliance in a globally-operated company is a management task. The tone from the top is decisive and how you see your president or management conveys the tone in an organization. We all have to look into the cultural issues of an organization. What is the overall environment? Where are the people living? What are the drivers and incentives? You want to get to the hearts and minds of people to help them live up to the expectation of the management team.
Read more about Mr. Pohlmann and other keynote speakers at this year’s ACFE Canadian Fraud Conference.