I'm a CFE

Nancy Rich, CFE, Special Agent at the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS)

By Emily Primeaux; Photo by Rich-Joseph Facun/AP Images

I'm a CFE

Nancy Rich, CFE, is a top fraud expert at the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) and recently received the Certified Fraud Examiner of the Year award at the 25th Annual ACFE Global Fraud Conference in San Antonio, Texas. She's twice been selected as the NCIS Fraud Agent of the Year and has led several large-scale and highly visible fraud investigations during her career, which resulted in a cumulative recovery of more than $140 million in government funds and more than 25 fraudsters incarcerated.

Bribery is an act of seduction. Once you've taken a little bit of money or a gift, it only grows from there. People who engage in fraud are greedy, and there is never enough money to satisfy that need. Never take anything from someone you are doing business with, especially if you work for the government — you are a target.

The mission of the NCIS is to investigate and defeat criminal, terrorist and foreign intelligence threats to the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps — ashore, afloat and in cyberspace. I work in the Procurement Fraud Division, which supports the overall NCIS mission by safeguarding the Department of Navy's major acquisition programs and responding to allegations of corruption, financial fraud and product substitution.

Before I worked for the NCIS, I conducted background investigations for the Defense Investigative Service. While playing softball I met former special agent in charge, Richard Warmack, who told me about the NCIS and convinced me to apply to become a special agent.

I was born in Illinois and raised in the Bay Area [Northern California]. I enjoyed riding horses, playing volleyball, soccer, softball and cheerleading. My high school volleyball team won the North Coast Championship in California.

One of my fondest memories from my time at California State University in Long Beach was living with five girls during my freshman year. We took many road trips together, including to Mexico and Lake Mead. To this day, they are still some of my best friends.

My passion for fighting fraud began when I first started working with our drug suppression squad. After a year on the drug squad, I was asked to join NCIS' fraud unit. My first fraud investigation resulted in the prosecution of an Iraqi scientist — who worked at the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, California — for double billing on a U.S. Navy grant. After that prosecution, I was hooked! That case was followed by several high-profile prosecutions, including a case against a major defense contractor for providing fraudulent airplane parts on the U.S. Navy's F/A-18 aircrafts and Drone program.

I am currently investigating a bribery scheme involving seven defendants. Around 2004, five defendants joined an extensive bribery conspiracy, which included two different companies and resulted in the payment of more than $200,000 in cash bribes to two employees at the U.S. Navy Military Sealift Command [MSC]. In exchange for the cash bribes paid, the company received lucrative business from MSC in the amount of approximately $3 million. To date, five individuals have pleaded guilty. One has been sentenced to 48 months in jail and was ordered to pay $175,000. Two other individuals were sentenced to eight years incarceration for their role in the bribery scheme.

The CFE credential is recognized worldwide. Having a CFE credential and attending the training offered by the ACFE keeps you current on many trends in the public domain. Our desk officer, former NCIS assistant special agent in charge, Louis Lockwood, procured the money to obtain CFE credentials for about 10 anti-fraud-dedicated NCIS special agents. He realized our work force needed to have the credential and training the ACFE offers.


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