From the President

By James D. Ratley


The statistics are staggering. According to, foreclosure filings in 2009 were reported on more than 2.8 million U.S. properties – a 21 percent increase from 2008 and a 120 percent jump from 2007. Of course, fraudsters are opportunistic and they’ve taken advantage of homeowners’ woes. 

In the interview article, “Tackling Mortgage Fraud Locally,” by Dick Carozza, Isabel Mercedes Cumming, J.D., CFE, chief of the Economics Crime Unit (ECU) in Prince George’s County, Md., describes real people behind the statistics. She tells the stories of a scammer who used a reverse-mortgage tale to rip off an 84-year-old woman and a real estate company that convinced scores of struggling homeowners to deed their titles to the company so they could clean up their credit, only to run off with the titles after selling the houses to straw buyers. Cumming, a longtime ACFE member and regent emeritus, talks about the efforts of her ECU – one of the United States’ first professional investigative units dedicated to mortgage and foreclosure fraud. 

Quantitative analyst Harry Markopolos couldn’t anticipate how his life would be rearranged when his employer, an investment management firm, asked him to “reverse engineer” Bernard Madoff’s strategy so it could market a product that would deliver similar returns. Markopolos, now a Certified Fraud Examiner, fell into an investigation that would prove Madoff had committed the largest-ever Ponzi scheme. Now Markopolos recounts his strange whistle-blowing odyssey in his new book, “No One Would Listen: A True Financial Thriller.” Read an excerpt that details his investigation in “Wall Street Knew Madoff was a Fraud.” 

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