I'm a CFE

Scott Swanson, CFE

Vice president, global risk and compliance practice leader at Doculabs

Scott Swanson, CFE, always saw himself involved with the military, in the intelligence community or in law enforcement. He achieved this goal immediately following college when he became involved in financial services and economic espionage protection. Swanson has been an advisor to the U.S. intelligence and special operations community. Within the corporate landscape, he's been an executive consultant with top-tier public accounting firms as a financial crimes expert. With more than 20 years of global risk and resiliency experience in both the public and private sector, Swanson now leads Doculabs' practice in global risk and compliance solutions.

As a child I enjoyed traveling with my family across the country and abroad. Otherwise, I could be found running around with friends, exploring, playing baseball and hanging out in Chicago, where I grew up.

I received my degree in Foreign Languages — Culture and Communication at Illinois State University. Upon graduation, I took a graduate certificate program in Information Technology and Competitive Intelligence. I considered an MBA program, but I was looking for something more in line with my career and analytical interests. So I enrolled in the American Military University's Strategic Intelligence master's program. Once I became more involved in the behavior and psychology of terrorism, I took a post-graduate program, Terrorism and Security, at the University of St. Andrews, which gave me extensive knowledge in critical infrastructure protection.

Right out of college, the government recruited me. While they were going through the screening process, I took a job in the finance industry for a small mortgage company. I laugh now because I'm a financial crimes professional and I remember the mortgage company ended up being very shady. When I realized there was criminal activity involved, I high tailed it out of there — but not before I received my first training in recognizing loan fraud!

During the Clinton administration, there were significant cutbacks to intelligence activities abroad, which shifted my initial foray into the intelligence community. Through the recommendation of my recruiter, I was given an opportunity to work in a consulting role with current and former intelligence professionals to monitor foreign nations that were stealing U.S. companies' intellectual property. Under the Economic Espionage Act, I gained experience surveilling, investigating and protecting corporate intangibles assets. Later, I took a position with EY where I gained additional experience in fraud, due diligence and information security.

Most of my roles in consulting have involved extensive research, due diligence, process improvement, and information protection or collection. My other work at the national security level included the same but upped the ante on bad actors and transnational or transcontinental crime. At the American Military University, I was an instructor and taught various topics in intelligence analysis. These experiences have afforded me some unique opportunities to see the dark aspect of the world from myriad perspectives. And I know the deep recesses of nefarious activity that others often overlook.

In my current position as VP, global risk and compliance practice leader at Doculabs, I am responsible for new business development and client delivery. This means that I spend a great deal of my time interacting with client prospects, writing articles and delivering presentations to evangelize our services, and I am the lead consultant for our actual projects. For projects, I can be involved with anything from penetration tests and onsite covert walkthroughs to investigations and fraud program assessments. So each day may start off with some sales calls and then quickly transcend to on-site client work.

I think I've always been a bit of a sheepdog. I like to protect and tend to the flock, keeping a vigilant eye open for risks. I remain passionate about deeply investigating corporate corruption, greed and non-compliance, and creating an awareness or remediation for those firms that might be unwittingly causing a ripple effect based on their actions or inactions.

I think I've always been a bit of a sheepdog. I like to protect and tend to the flock, keeping a vigilant eye open for risks."

At the start of an engagement I like to ask my clients, "What is it that you are hoping to achieve? What is your desired outcome?" What you hope to get out of being a fraud prevention or investigative professional sets the tone for each day. I struggle daily and often bang my head against the wall when I know how to help a client, but they don't want to help themselves or are unwilling to invest in preventative measures before an incident. For those starting out, it isn't always as sexy as you think, but only if you're dealing with employers or clients who don't see the beauty of how fraud prevention can work in an organization across multiple applications.

I enjoy coaching youth soccer, which I've done for more than 25 seasons. I like to build capability and instinct and then let the kids go and do it on their own. It's really neat to watch when you can mentor and release. I'm also a military thriller author — I write a series called "Safe Havens" under a pen name of J.T. Patten. I wouldn't say that I'm Tom Clancy or Vince Flynn (nor will anyone else), but I enjoy writing novels and bringing a different style based on the authentic experiences and insights I've gained.

Emily Primeaux is assistant editor of Fraud Magazine.