ACFE Global Fraud Conference

By Mark Gardiner, CPA, CFE, Partner

The week of June 12, I attended the 34th Annual ACFE Global Fraud Conference in Seattle, Washington. There were over 5,000 who attended the conference in person and “virtually”. It included individuals who worked in law enforcement, corporate governance, cyber security, Department of Justice and risk management.  There were very few of us who worked in public accounting in attendance.

There were over 90 breakout sessions the attendees could choose to attend.   The sessions included topics ranging from the role of internal controls and text mining in fraud prevention to effective interviewing techniques and practical investigation tools.  Emerging issues such as cryptocurrency and cybercrime to ethical culture in complex multicultural and remote workplace environments were also on the agenda. At the working lunches each day the ACFE has various speakers.  One of the most interesting speakers was Billy McFarland.  McFarland was the founder of the “Fyre Festival”.  McFarland was sentenced to six years in prison and ordered to forfeit $26 million for wire fraud.  He had defrauded investors for the festival out of $27.4 million by marketing and selling tickets to the festival. The Fyre Festival and McFarland, himself, have been the topic of two documentaries; “Fyre:  The Greatest Party That Never Happened” and “Fyre Fraud”,    

This conference is an excellent source of knowledge on how to combat fraud and an opportunity to network with individuals from all over the world.