Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Been too long

[FIND] Investigations has had a crazy busy month. So much so that we've been neglecting the blog. It's now time to fix that. In the next couple of days we have several blog posts that should have been posted in the past few weeks. I, unfortunately, had to be out of town much of the month of September and didn't have the time or energy to post. So, here's the brief update on the CFE class from last week.

I traveled to Washington, DC last week to attend an Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) seminar. The course was followed with an opportunity to sit for the Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) Exam, one of the many criteria that must be met in order to attain the CFE designation. I am pleased to report that I passed all four modules of the exam in one sitting.

The class was separated into four distinct parts, financial transactions, Law (as relates to fraud), investigations, and prevention/detection of fraud. The first two days were all about the transaction, from very basic accounting principles to asset misappropriation, from Bribery and public sector corruption to theft of intellectual property. This first two days could have been (likely should have been) a mind-numbing process of detailed balance sheet analysis or income statement review, but instead it turned out to be a very well taught, broad-brush look at the general issues associated with financial transactions. The course instructors traded places and anecdotes with ease and style and lead our class through two days of dense material in a generally entertaining way.

Third day covered general legal principals relating to fraud. While the course is taught in breadth and not depth, this overview of the legal process was, like the first two days, highly useful and generally entertaining. The teachers covered basic federal laws relating to fraud, a broad overview of the civil justice system, and the foundations of evidence (the various types of evidence and what constitutes best evidence). In addition to these very basic concepts, the course dives into a brief look at how to testify as an expert witness.

The last two sections, investigations and prevention/detection, were the easiest segments to get through. It seemed that most folks in the class had had ample experience in these two areas. Still, I found the sections on interviewing and sources of information were enlightening.

The prevention and detection sections of the course were, to me, the most intellectually stimulating sections. Theories of crime causation (think B.F. Skinner and S. Freud) are given a very short treatment, but the source material is cited and will be reviewed in detail. I particularly liked the portion of the class that dealt with fraud assessment and fraud prevention.

I’ll keep you up to date on the CFE designation pursuit. In the mean time, I have a few posts to bring you from DC. The next few posts will be about our tour of the FBI Academy and the International Spy Museum.


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