Flying over borders

By James D. Ratley, CFE
jim-ratley-80x80.jpg   From the President & CEO

I enjoy piloting planes. Nothing big — single-engines. But in the last 10 years, I’ve flown thousands of miles and enjoyed every minute of it. From the air, I’ve seen “purple mountain majesties,” “amber waves of grain” and everything in between. But you know what I’ve never seen? Borders. No demarcations of states and countries. No bold, jagged lines to tell me I’ve flown into new jurisdictions. 

Here’s the only thing fraudsters and I have in common: They don’t see land boundaries either. Technology advances have allowed them to ignore all limitations. That’s why this issue’s cover story, by Tim Harvey, CFE, JP, is so important. David Green is the director of the U.K. Serious Fraud Office (SFO), but no matter where you live, you should listen to this man because his actions could eventually affect what you do as fraud fighter.

“In the past, there was a feeling that the SFO was nervous about prosecuting cases and was therefore more inclined to settle cases by civil settlement rather than criminal prosecution,” says Green, a widely experienced barrister with more than 25 years of practice in complex trials. “Many also had the impression that the SFO had developed a certain nervousness about taking on the very top-level cases for which, in my view, it was designed. I have changed that.”

Green knows that citizens — in the U.K., the U.S. and around the world — are impatient. They’re tired of large organizations playing fast and loose with their money — cash that drained out of their pockets in the last five years or so. 

The U.K. Bribery Act is a tough law — maybe even tougher than the U.S.’s Foreign Corrupt Practice Act. (Some have called it “FCPA on steroids.”) But no law is effective until someone applies it. And Green says he’s determined to enforce the Bribery Act. He wants to go after fraudulent companies not just individuals.

“It seems to me absolutely right that a corporation should have criminal responsibility … when it has profited from [fraud],” says Green. “Why should a company, which has … been complicit in criminality just throw a few people over the side and sail bravely on? Why shouldn’t it have its ears clipped and marked as a company that has had dishonest employees and benefitted from it? 


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