Detective Spreads Fraud Awareness in His Community


Rick Belik, CFE
Detective, Omaha Police Department

For Rick Belik, CFE, Omaha Police Department Detective and part-time Task Force Officer for the FBI's White Collar Crime Task Force, fraud is often very personal. Belik, who was awarded the ACFE Outstanding Achievement in Community Service Award in 2015, has dealt with numerous cases of elder fraud. In addition to tackling cases that come across his desk, he is proactive about fraud education in his community. He has held numerous talks and seminars for senior citizens and caregivers to discuss common scams that target the elderly and how they can protect themselves from fraud.

How did you become passionate about fighting fraud?
I became passionate about fighting fraud by talking to the victims. These are true victims and fraud crimes affect much more than just a financial loss. There is a true, real or perceived, loss of security, safety and trust in the world around them, especially with senior victims.

What steps led you to your current position?
I started out in a cruiser like every other cop and then I joined our Mounted Patrol and did that for six years. When my 1,200-pound partner (horse) retired, I moved into investigations. Always being a bit of a "numbers nerd," the “Fraud Squad” was a perfect fit for me — I expressed an interest in the unit two years before I was assigned to it and I have been in that position for seven years. This year I have also become a part-time Task Force Officer (TFO) for the FBI's White Collar Crime Task Force.

The part-time TFO job was the idea of the local FBI supervisor, who is also an ACFE member. We got to know each other through Heartland Chapter events. We discussed cases that we’d both worked and discovered that we were definitely chewing some of the same dirt. There are jurisdictional issues that come up with being a cop in a municipality. Having a federal deputation can certainly broaden my approach. It has also helped find cases that might have otherwise "fallen through the cracks" in the system where both sides, federal and local, might think that the other is working on a particular case.

What is a memorable case or project that you have worked on; one that made you feel especially proud?
I work all of the financial exploitation cases involving vulnerable adults in Omaha. When paid caregivers steal from the people whom they are charged with helping, it really gets my dander up. I've worked several of these cases and, along with the partnership of Adult Protective Services (APS) and the County Attorney's Office, we have been able to bring suspects to justice, stop the financial bleeding and get the victims proper care and protection. This has been very satisfying. 

I had one case where an elderly widow, living alone, was targeted by a man who knocked on her door and claimed to be a friend of her late husband's. This guy got into her head over a period of time, telling her that she was in danger from gang members and that she had to "pay them off" for protection through him. Over a short period of time, several thousands of dollars were depleted from her account. Bank employees became suspicious and alerted both APS and Law Enforcement. We were able to put a case together and get this guy convicted for robbery/extortion for the threats that he made to the victim. I drove her to the courthouse for the sentencing because she wanted to show the suspect that, in the end, he didn't get the best of her. It was an exhausting trip for her because she didn't move around too well, but it was important for her. I was humbled by her strength and proud to help her through it.  

How do you think CFEs can help their communities better understand fraud risks and prevention?
In 2015, I was honored to receive the ACFE Outstanding Achievement in Community Service Award at the 26th Annual ACFE Global Fraud Conference in Baltimore. I've given dozens of talks about fraud to thousands of seniors and caregivers, informing them of what fraud and scam trends are out there. I’ve advised them of what warning signs they can look for, and what steps they can take, to make themselves and their loved ones less of a target. The ACFE has a broad range of fraud fighters with a vast range of knowledge. Getting that knowledge and experience out to the community does real and measurable good.  

What activities or hobbies do you like to do outside of work?
My wife and I love to travel. If we can go somewhere different and experience something new, we're in!

Read more about Detective Belik in his full profile on

District Attorney Looks Ahead to New Career in Private Sector


Douglas Lowe, CFE
Palestine, Texas

Douglas Lowe, CFE, has served as Anderson County Criminal District Attorney (D.A.) for 16 years. He is based in Palestine, Texas, where he worked in private practice as a certified personal injury trial lawyer prior to becoming a D.A. Recently, Lowe decided to become a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), and he earned the credential this spring after attending the Phoenix, Arizona CFE Exam Review Course.

Becoming a CFE was a natural choice for Lowe after his work as a D.A. stirred a passion for fighting fraud. 

“Through my work as District Attorney I have seen the cost of fraud to our community,” Lowe said. “There may not be a ‘fraud tax,’ but the losses to consumers, businesses and taxpayers are unreasonable and drain resources.”

Lowe added that part of the draw to this type of work is the challenge posed by fraudsters, and the satisfaction that comes from foiling their schemes.

“White-collar criminals can be very ingenious and creative in finding the weak spots in financial systems,” Lowe said. “I enjoy the challenge in identifying the scheme and then bringing them to justice.”

These days, change is in the air for Lowe, and he looks ahead to returning to his own practice.

“After being District Attorney for 16 years, I am excited about moving [back] to the private sector,” Lowe said. “I want to continue fighting fraud and being involved with companies, governments and individuals who want to minimize their losses due to white-collar crime.”

Lowe said that being a CFE will help him immensely in his future fraud fighting.

“I have tried numerous white-collar crime cases, but the CFE certification will enhance my credibility and strengthen my skills,” Lowe said. “I feel confident the CFE certification will help expand my client base and open doors to opportunities that otherwise would not be accessible.”

When he’s not bringing bad guys to justice, Lowe stays busy coaching his daughter’s YMCA all-girls soccer team: “We don’t win that many games, but we have fun and look snappy in our uniforms.”

“I also like remodeling, home improvement projects and physical fitness, especially weight training,” Lowe said.

Read more ACFE member profiles in the ACFE's online Career Center.

The Top 5 Frauds of 2013


Mandy Moody, CFE
ACFE Social Media Specialist

As we say farewell to one year and look ahead to a new one, we would like to look back and take note of the top fraud cases that brought many people, cities, states and countries together. While these top five fraud stories of 2013 seemingly highlight the “bad guys,” we would like to pay tribute to all of the “good guys” out there who saw these cases through investigation, prosecution and, for some, sentencing. So here’s to all of the investigators, fraud examiners, attorneys, auditors, accountants and government officials who worked behind the scenes to get these stories where they belong: on the front pages of Financial Crime sections all over the world.

Here are our top five frauds of 2013:

  1. Cars, Houses & Horses
    Dubbed as “one of the worst abuses of public trust” in the state of Illinois’ history, the embezzlement case involving a devoted city bookkeeper stole international headlines when it was finally settled in February. Rita Crundwell was sentenced to almost 20 years, the same duration as her fraud, for stealing $53 million from the small town of Dixon, Ill. Crundwell used her home town’s hard-earned money almost as a weekly allowance to pay for vacations, properties, cars and an extravagant horse-breeding hobby. Thankfully, even all bad things must come to an end.
  2. Ahab’s Whale Wounded
    The Hunt for Steve Cohen began years ago, but it wasn’t until July that his company, SAC Capital was officially indicted on four counts of securities fraud and one count of wire fraud for insider trading dating back to 1999. The future looks grim for the already shrinking company facing some long and grueling legal battles.
  3. The Citadel Falls
    In June, a cyber gang responsible for creating a massive network of malware came crashing down. “Citadel,” the name of the network of botnets, stole more than $500 million from the bank accounts of more than 5 million infected computers over an 18-month period. Microsoft led the coordinated effort with more than 80 other entities worldwide to take down one of the largest cyber crime rings in the world. Lights out, Citadel.
  4. The GlaxoSmithKline of 2013 Award Goes To…
    Last month, Johnson & Johnson, one of the U.S.’s biggest pharmaceutical companies, settled one of the largest health care settlements in the country’s history. J&J agreed to pay $2.2 billion ($1.72 billion for civil settlements and $485 million in criminal fines and forfeited profits) for promoting three drugs not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This quote from Zane Memeger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, pretty much sums it up: “J&J's promotion of Risperdal for unapproved uses threatened the most vulnerable populations of our society - children, the elderly and those with developmental disabilities.”
  5. Biggest Mortgage Fraud Settlement Ever
    Also last month, JPMorgan Chase settled the U.S.’s largest-ever mortgage fraud case for $13 billion. Picking up Bear Stearns and WaMu might have seemed like a great idea in 2008, but the ghosts of the financial crisis’ past came back to haunt JPMorgan. Oh yeah, and they were also responsible for millions of faulty mortgages. One victory in a battle sure to go on longer than the Game of Thrones.

Want to read other stories from 2013? You can find more of the year’s top fraud headlines on our news blog,

Not in My House: Companies Take a Proactive Stand Against Fraud


Mandy Moody, CFE
ACFE Social Media Specialist

With the changing mindset towards the subject of white-collar crime, corporations around the world are interested in making it clear to shareholders, regulators, the media and investors that they are taking proactive measures to prevent, detect and deter fraud. And it’s no wonder, as a recent COSO study found that news of an alleged fraud resulted in a 17 percent stock price decline in the two days surrounding the announcement. It is only imaginable what a fraud conviction’s effects are on a company. Think Enron, Olympus, Parmalat and WorldCom. 

Just as the effects are becoming more profound, so are the proactive steps companies are taking to prevent fraud from happening in the first place. As the ACFE’s Marketing and Business Development Director Kevin Taparauskas, CFE, said in a blog last year about the evolution of fraud over the past 15 years, “It is no longer a question of whether it is taking place within a company, but rather what are people doing about it?”

One thing companies like Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) are doing is joining the ACFE’s Corporate Alliance program. The program, which began as a pilot program with anti-fraud teams at USAA and Walmart, provides companies wanting to take a proactive stance against fraud the opportunity to partner with the ACFE to help educate and grow their fraud-fighting teams. Benefits of the program include access to exclusive resources, training and membership pricing.

“Fraud can seriously harm a company,” Dr. Michael Wittenburg, CFE, Head of Risk Quality & Fraud Risk Management at RBI, said. “We need to fight it in every possible manner. We hope that with this alliance we will be able to significantly improve our know-how and get access to global best practices.”

RBI is based in Austria and is one of the most recent companies to join the ACFE’s Corporate Alliance program. RBI is one of the leading banking groups in Austria and Central and Eastern Europe with more than 60,000 employees servicing about 14.2 million customers. According to Wittenburg, they plan on implementing mandatory initial and continuous fraud training to employees and hosting tailor-made advanced trainings. They also plan to make the Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) credential mandatory for staff in their fraud risk management department. 

Read the full Global Spotlight article.

Getting Ready for Fraud Week 2013


Scott Patterson
Senior Media Relations Specialist

It is hard to believe that is has been almost 10 months since our last International Fraud Awareness Week. What is impressive to me is that when we wrapped up the week of anti-fraud events and awareness, there wasn’t a sense of, “see you next year!” Instead, organizations continued to sign up as Official Partners and ask about things they could do in the coming weeks and months to further the fight against fraud.

We quickly grew to a list of more than 800 supporters worldwide, many of them already preparing for our upcoming 2013 Fraud Week, Nov. 3-9. And like all of the Fraud Week’s that have come and gone, this year’s grassroots campaign to raise awareness provides unmatched opportunities to advance the fight against fraud.

Supporters host various activities leading up to and during the week to help support the cause. For example, a two-day training conference, “Targeting Fraud – Safeguarding Integrity,” will be hosted Nov. 6-7 as a collaboration between Franklin University, National White Collar Crime Center, Ohio Ethics Commission, Ohio Inspector General and Ohio Investigators Association. The conference is a follow-up to the successful inaugural conference held during last year’s Fraud Week.

It is free to sign up as an Official Supporter of Fraud Week, and the ACFE provides training tools and other resources to help organizations shine a spotlight on fraud. Among the resources we’ve added to this year (so far) – links to Fraud Talk (the ACFE podcast series), our Fraud Videos Library and our Fraud Prevention Resources CD-ROM. More tools for raising awareness and fighting fraud will be posted in the coming weeks leading up to November.

Perhaps your organization will use this occasion to survey your employees to assess levels of fraud awareness. One easy way for businesses and government agencies to spread the word is by including anti-fraud information in blogs, social media, e-newsletters and other communications.

Also, it is never too early to start following Fraud Week activities on social media. Search the hashtag #fraudweek on Twitter for real-time updates and information about Fraud Week.

To learn more about International Fraud Awareness Week, and to add your organization as an Official Supporter, visit We look forward to hearing about what you have planned.