Victims’ Advocacy Organizations

The Missing Link in the Fight Against Fraud

By Frank S. Perri

frank-perri-50x50.jpg   My Take 

The views expressed here aren’t necessarily those of the ACFE, its executives, or employees. – ed. 

The anti-fraud movement is lacking a private, grassroots advocacy movement that would be the voice for fraud victims.

A friend of mine (I’ll call him Dan) spent several years as the sole prosecutor of fraud cases in the county in which he lives. The former elected prosecutor, who was Dan’s boss (I’ll call him Sam), developed the county’s anti-fraud unit. He believed that his office – the county’s district attorney’s office – needed to start a criminal practice devoted to combating white-collar crime with prosecutors who could concentrate their efforts solely on understanding how to bring these cases to justice. Yet due to fiscal restraints, Dan had to fund his anti-fraud education by attending ACFE seminars and purchasing training materials. In the several years that he prosecuted fraud cases, he was able to resolve several high-dollar cases and implement a case review protocol with the local law enforcement investigation agencies, which increased the efficiency of case analyses prior to seeking charges against the perpetrators.

Sam was well on his way to satisfying the mandate of the white-collar crime unit because he allowed Dan to specialize in prosecuting only fraud cases. Sam understood that it wasn’t practical for prosecutors to have hybrid caseloads of white-collar and non-white-collar crimes because fraud prosecutions, from inception to conclusion, required sophisticated skill sets and different expectations. In the past, fraud cases would languish because there was never enough time to synthesize their complicated twists.

But then Sam retired and a new elected prosecutor (I’ll call him Paul) assumed the office’s responsibilities. Dan kept his job, but Paul shuffled him to narcotics prosecution. Dan’s fraud cases, involving millions of dollars, sat collecting dust awaiting reassignment to prosecutors with no anti-fraud experience and little time to devote to understanding how fraud occurred. The office left victims in limbo not knowing who was handling their cases. Cases ran the risk of not being prosecuted because of statutes of limitations.  

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