Just last week, I attended the New York Chapter meeting for the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. This is a low cost, anti fraud intensive, two credit event that was painless, and the food was great!
Different ACFE chapters are more or less active. I just joined the Philly chapter; I am speaking at the DC chapter in March, and I’ve been to the New York Chapter a few times. I like the NYCFE, and it’s good to get out with friendly fraud geeks and focus on some specific scheme or new technique or whatever is happening in the world of anti fraud work. The New York chapter meets monthly, and it’s been going through a bit of a revitalization. The NYCFE now boasts 185 members, and about 60 folks showed for February gathering, which focused on mortgage fraud.
65 bucks for non members – full meal – wine, soda, beer included. Live presentation over dinner with Q&A. Two CPEs awarded. Can’t beat the price or the conversation.
This month, Mike Powers, an attorney with a CFE, talked about the straw man scheme type of mortgage fraud. Straw man schemes are those in which an intermediary is used to cloak the identity of a buyer of real estate. The use of a straw man is not illegal per se, but straw men are commonly used to cover up more nefarious schemes.
I was particularly taken with Mike’s description of notary stamp fraud. I had come across notary fraud before, and we’re all familiar with robo signing schemes in the industry, but I had never been walked through the logistics of obtaining a fake notary stamper. Fascinating what those fraudsters will do!
On the downside, I thought the Q&A was too long, and in the cases of some of the audience members, the “questions” were too self serving. If you are repeatedly making observations or testing the speaker’s knowledge or “assisting the audience to understand” something, I am likely to label you, fairly or unfairly, as having some agenda that doesn’t coincide with mine. Next month, make a point or even two, but after that, hush up.
In addition to the substantive discussion of straw men in mortgage fraud, I picked up some pithy quotes and a movie recommendation from Mike. Mike recommended the film “Margin Call,” so now, I have it on my list of whistleblower films to review and comment upon. A few direct quotes from Mike that I thought were interesting were:
“Fraud is dynamic”
“The law is a spider web. Flies get caught; birds fly through.”
Provocative, no? So, if you’re dying for some juicy fraud talk, go to one of CFE chapter meetings, and see what’s happening. Even if you only go to satisfy your annual training requirement, the cost for the NYCFE meeting is low, and dinner is included. Check it out.