Want to Become a CFE by the End of the Year? We’ve Got a Challenge for You.


Courtney Howell
ACFE Community Manager

I have a few small, but important questions I’d like you to answer.

  • Are you passionate about fighting fraud?
  • Is it time to take your career to the next level?
  • Does having a support group make it easier for you to accomplish goals?
  • Do you want to earn your CFE credential?

If you answered yes to one of these questions, and especially if you answered yes to the last one, then the 90-Day CFE Exam Challenge is exactly what you need to complete your next professional goal.

The challenge is designed for those who’ve purchased the CFE Exam Prep Course, so when you join the challenge, we’ll help you stay focused and motivated to work through the course materials and complete the exam in three months.

Challenge participants will receive these three benefits:

1. You’re Part of a Group Who Are All Working toward the Same Goal.
When you join the 90-Day CFE Exam Challenge, you’ll be added into an exclusive group in the ACFE Community along with your fellow participants. In this group, everyone will introduce themselves and share why they’ve joined the challenge. Over the course of the challenge, you’ll get to know one another and, ultimately, support one another in reaching this big goal. At times, the journey will be tough. You may even want to give up. But as the community manager, I’ll be working alongside Ross Pry, our director of membership, to help keep you and your fellow participants motivated and inspired. Most importantly, when those difficult moments do arrive, your peers will be there to lift you up just as you will lift them up. It truly is a team effort and having that support makes a huge difference.

2) There is a clear timeline to follow with the 90-Day Study Plan.
We provide you with a 90-day study plan so that you can mark the exact dates you want to accomplish mini-goals along the way. This allows you the flexibility to work around your job, family time, travel plans or anything else life may throw at you, but it also gives you achievable steps to follow — ensuring you’ve accomplished necessary tasks along the way to earning your CFE credential.

3) It will hold you accountable.
Here’s the promise you make to yourself when you purchase the CFE Exam Prep Course and sign up for the 90-Day CFE Exam Challenge: “I will become a CFE in 90 days, and I will start right now. Not tomorrow, not a couple months from now, not next year. I am doing this now.” We’ll help you along the way, but at its heart, the 90-Day CFE Exam Challenge is a commitment that you make and that you are accountable for. At the end of your three-month journey, you will have earned something that’s extremely important to you.

If this is something you’re interested in, you have two simple steps to follow.

  1. Purchase the CFE Exam Prep Course.
  2. Sign up for the 90-Day CFE Exam Challenge.

The challenge kicks off on Monday, October 2. We hope to see you there!

Mentoring Young Professionals Gives CFE Purpose and Passion


Chelsea Binns, Ph.D., CFE
Assistant Professor
St. John’s University 

Chelsea Binns, Ph.D., CFE, knew from a young age that she had the skills and perception to be a successful investigator, but her life as a CFE has allowed her to take on more roles than she ever expected. Out of all the roles she’s filled — investigator, fraud hotline operator, professor — her favorite has been mentoring young fraud fighters. Currently, she serves as the Vice President and Training Director for the ACFE’s New York Chapter, where she’s driven to help student members forge their own paths in exciting anti-fraud careers.

How long have you been involved in the anti-fraud profession and how did you become passionate about fighting fraud?
I was interested in the investigative field since I was a child. As a young person, I conducted many unofficial “investigations,” where I learned I had the qualities it took to be successful. But I started my official career as an investigator for the City of New York in 2003. There, I observed the realities of fraud and the harm it can cause its victims. I perceived the vast number of victims of fraud to include the city, its businesses and its private citizens. I recognized the tireless work and perseverance of city employees to prevent and detect fraud. This experience inspired me to continue the fight against fraud throughout my career.

What is your current role and what does it entail?
Currently, I’m an assistant professor at St. John’s University. I teach primarily in the Criminal Justice and Homeland Security undergraduate programs. As a licensed private investigator in the State of New York, I often teach investigative courses in the curriculum. I also teach courses related to fraud, leadership and the corporate security function. In those courses, I draw upon my experience working in an investigative capacity for the City and State of New York, Morgan Stanley and Citibank.

I also advise and serve as a mentor to many students. In this capacity, I have leveraged my relationship with the ACFE to benefit my students. For instance, I often extend opportunities for students to volunteer at ACFE training events, NYC Chapter training meetings and annual conferences. Several of my students have received employment opportunities from members as a result of their exposure to ACFE events.

What steps led you to your current position?
As I advanced in my career, I loved the idea of becoming a college professor. I always enjoyed and valued the training and mentorship aspects of my career. Thus, I gravitated toward a career opportunity that involved sharing my knowledge and experience to benefit like-minded students. I was equally interested in advancing research endeavors based on observations I made over the years.

To this end, I embarked on a doctorate program in Criminal Justice at the CUNY Graduate Center/John Jay College. It was a long road. I attended school at night while working full time during the day. It took me seven years to complete.

I’m very grateful for the opportunity that John Jay College provided me. They rarely accept part-time students. But my ability to have an investigative career in the private sector, while simultaneously attending school, greatly enhanced my educational experiences.

What is a memorable case or project that you have worked on, one that made you feel especially proud? 
When I worked for the city, I spent one day a week receiving telephone calls from citizens who wanted to report fraud, waste and abuse. I learned a lot from that experience. One key thing I took away is that tipsters can make a difference. We acted on all information that was received. If it pertained to something under our purview, we investigated it. If not, we referred the matter or the caller to the appropriate agency. I was proud to assist those callers. That experience made me appreciate the value of fraud hotlines.

Said experience inspired my first book, Fraud Hotlines: Design, Performance and Assessment, published by Taylor & Francis/CRC Press, which is due out this year.

What activities or hobbies do you like to do outside of work? 

Investigations are my passion, and I will often use my “spare time” to perform special research projects for select clients. I also enjoy international travel and outdoor activities, especially running, swimming, biking and tennis.

Read Chelsea's full profile in the Career Center on ACFE.com.

7 Ways to Keep Your New Year’s Resolution to Earn Your CFE Credential


John Loftis, CFE
ACFE Membership Communications Manager

I recently saw a discussion in the CFE Exam Preparation community about people who are resolving to earn their CFE credential in 2017. According to statistics, more than 30 percent of people give up on their New Year’s resolutions after the first two weeks of January. Many resolutions like better health, better finances or finding the love of your life are things that I unfortunately cannot help you with, but I can help you to create a plan that will put you on the path to passing the CFE Exam.

I read an article in Forbes this week called, 7 Secrets of People Who Keep Their New Year’s Resolutions. I noticed how many of these secrets could apply to the CFE Exam. Based on that article, below is a quick framework to help you avoid becoming one of the 30 percent and earn the CFE credential.

1. Specify your goals

One of the trendy concepts you have probably heard of is creating SMART goals i.e. making your goals Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-based. You want to earn your CFE credential in 2017, but did you pick a deadline yet? Review the 30-, 60- and 90-day study plans. Pick one and stick with it.  

2. Break it down

You have to study for the exam, complete the application process and finally take the exam. That can be intimidating. However, the process is much more manageable if you break it down into small chunks. Create mini-goals to help you along the way.

Here are some examples:

  • Complete the Pre-Assessment by 1/24/2017
  • Submit the CFE Exam application before 1/31/2017
  • Answer all the questions in the Fraud Prevention section by 2/8/2017

The 30-, 60- and 90-day study plans include a checklist of deadlines that will help you create these mini-goals.

3. Schedule it

When I studied for my CFE Exam, I decided I would study during my lunch hour. Every day for about three months, I packed my lunch, sat at my desk and studied. Maybe studying at lunch will not work for you, but it is important to choose a time and place, and study consistently.

4. Measure progress

The CFE Exam Prep Course includes tools for tracking your study progress. You can also use this chart to keep track of the time you spend studying.

5. Share your goals in the CFE Exam Preparation Community

Stop by the CFE Exam Preparation Community and share your goals. As the Forbes article mentions, social support is critical. Who better to share your goals with than colleagues around the world who are preparing to pass the CFE Exam?

6. Something is better than nothing

At the most recent Principles of Fraud Examination course taught by the ACFE, I was discussing CFE Exam preparation with a member. I told her that even if you only have time to answer 10 questions a day in the Prep Course, you are still moving forward. Some progress is better than no progress and you will be surprised how many questions you answer after you knock out those first 10 questions.

7. Get up when you slip up

If you miss a day, week or even a month of studying, do not give up. Revisit your mini-goals, adjust your deadlines and get going. You can do it!

Because I am a quote person, I will leave you with this:

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” -Confucius

Talking to My 4-Year-Old About Wells Fargo


Mandy Moody, CFE
ACFE Content Manager

“Mom, what is the guy’s name again who stole all of the money?” This question from my 4-year-old was yet another reminder to me that I need to be careful what I talk about in front of her. She is pretty much the opposite of my husband; she listens to everything.

Two days ago when the news broke that Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf was resigning, I was in the car with her on our way home from her preschool. She overheard me call my co-worker to tell her that he was stepping down and to tweet something on our Twitter account. She could hear the excitement in my voice; excitement from knowing that someone was being held somewhat accountable for the millions of dollars taken and numerous fake accounts created over the past 10+ years. She asked me what happened and I told her that someone had stolen a lot money from people and that he was going to leave his job because he was in trouble.

“Is he a bad guy?” she asked.

“Well, he did something bad, and now he has to say he is sorry and stop what he is doing,” I said. That was the best I could come up with after an eight-hour workday.

“But, we are good guys, right, Mom?”

“Yeah, we are the good guys,” I told her.

So, flash forward 24 hours and she wants to talk about John Stumpf again on our way home from school. Honestly, I think she just likes saying his name. I reminded her of the story again and this time I told her that I get to work with people every day who try very hard to keep people like John Stumpf from stealing money. I told her that I love meeting these people and helping them stop anyone who wants to take something that isn’t theirs.

I then told her that she could grow up and be anything she wanted to be. Yes, I am one of those moms that constantly reminds her that she can do anything boys can do and can do anything she works really hard at (except soccer; I’m pretty sure that ship has sailed). I told her she could be a teacher like her daddy or a writer like me. I told her she could be a business owner like our neighbor who I am pretty sure she loves more than me. I told her she could be an animal doctor or a mail carrier (she’s obsessed with mail carriers). I then told her she could be someone who helps people keep their money safe; someone who works hard to always do the right thing even when it is hard. I didn’t explain the Certified Fraud Examiner to her because we all know that would lead to something about frogs, but I did tell her about how dedicated these people are to make sure we stay the “good guys.”

So, it was no surprise to me when I then asked what she wanted to be when she grows up that she answered without hesitation and with eyes beaming, “I want to be a leopard!”

Chapter Leader Profile: Pierre-Luc Pomerleau


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