From the President

Lisa Osofsky's passion for fighting fraud on two continents

The ACFE bestows our Cressey Award annually on someone who’s demonstrated a lifetime of achievement in the detection and deterrence of fraud. This year’s winner couldn’t be more deserving. Lisa Osofsky, the director of the U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO), has devoted a lifetime of service to fraud awareness on a global scale. In fact, she picked up the desire to prosecute quite early when she worked with prosecutors before she even finished law school!

Early in her career, she found fulfillment in her work tackling fraud cases in the U.S. In the 1990s, she was the assistant U.S. attorney for Chicago and later was the deputy general counsel at the FBI. I also had a passion prosecuting fraud cases for 13 years. And it’s heartening to know that the thousands of CFEs, who’ve dedicated their professional lives to fight fraud, share that same passion. Whether you found it early, as Osofsky did, or changed careers later in life, that zeal to fight fraud is a key ingredient for success.

Osofsky, in her new SFO post, is working to hold more corporations accountable while being judicious in how her staff uses investigative tools. As you’ll read in the cover article by Tim Harvey, CFE, she doesn’t want investigators to get bogged down using every weapon in their arsenals and pulling every possible record. Osofsky wants them to stay focused and sharp. She also has a proactive vision to examine the techniques criminals use to target victims. As many of us know, one of the best ways to do that is to get inside the minds of fraudsters. The ACFE has always promoted the idea that you have to understand how fraudsters think to be able to outsmart them.

Finally, she plans to broaden the SFO’s approach to investigating and prosecuting fraud by reaching out to other countries and combating this international problem. The global economy prohibits a single-country mindset. Your cross-jurisdictional fraud examinations will become more complex as the world economy expands.

The most interesting comment the new SFO chief gave about how all of us can improve our cases is the least technical of all. “It’s actually pretty simple,” Osofsky said. “Talking to people … being willing to help when others need it and investing in the relationships.” It’s amazing that even with the advent of new technologies, old-fashioned communication is still vital to making our fraud examinations successful.

Come to the 30th Annual ACFE Global Fraud Conference, June 23-28, in Austin, Texas, and greet Lisa Osofsky in person!

Bruce Dorris, J.D., CFE, CPA, is president and CEO of the ACFE. Contact him at: