I am officially a Certified Fraud Examiner, and I am proud and excited. I passed the application process, achieved the requisite level of experience working anti-fraud, took the test, and waited for the final approval! Made it!
I was sufficiently intimidated by ACFE’s warning to use the logo and letters correctly that I read the logo rules book and had my paralegal check it too. My membership package came last week, and in it was a nice looking certificate, the logos rule book (hard copy), a pin, and information about how to keep up with the CPE training requirements. For me, the accounting aspect of the ACFE is what I find most useful. Very few trainings for lawyers have anything to do with accounting, spreadsheets, or finance industry fraud.
Fraud Examination is the methodology for resolving fraud allegations from inception to disposition. Because I am a qui tam attorney, I deal with fraud against the government and against shareholders. In my cases, the whistleblower and I work to alert the government to a fraud or false claims scheme. The government then decides what it wants to do about resolving the problem. Other CFEs work in corporate compliance positions, and still more have their own practice and try to get expert witnessing work when they can.
Fraud examiners are different from forensic accountants and auditors. Audits are recurring, and the auditors approach their work with a level of professional skepticism. For the most part, audits are not adversarial. Fraud examinations are adversarial in nature because they work to assign blame for a particular fraud. Fraud examiners are trained to assume the investigation will end in litigation. Forensic accounting, on the other hand, is work done by accountants for potential or actual criminal or civil litigation. When I did some work for an economic crimes unit, I had an assignment to value stolen antiques and collectibles. This was more of a forensic accounting task than a fraud examination. We already knew everything about the fraud mechanism. We were trying to figure out how much the guy stole.
So, how I plan to incorporate the CFE into my qui tam practice, but I had to study up on the use of the logo and the letters. No stretching or distorting the logo; no changing its colors; no using it as a watermark. Too bad, I liked that last idea. On the letters, there was little direction. After striking out with finding advice on my particular situation, I decided to put the CFE in the middle. The logo is going to be more difficult. I know what I can’t do with it, just not sure what I will do with it.