Featured Article

Fraud lessons from the ‘killer nurse’

How the Charles Cullen serial killer case can help us become better fraud examiners

Charles Cullen, a former registered nurse, is serving 11 consecutive life sentences for murdering 29 patients in 16 years at New Jersey and Pennsylvania hospitals. The author, who helped investigate the case, shares organizational deficiencies that have helped him in subsequent fraud investigations.

“Most of the hospitals I’ve worked at, they strongly suspected that there were deaths associated with me,” says Charles Cullen, in the Netflix documentary, “Capturing the Killer Nurse.” Cullen, a former registered nurse, was charged and convicted in 2006 with murdering 29 patients in 16 years at New Jersey and Pennsylvania hospitals.

“Why do you think they didn’t take it further?” asks Tim Braun, the then-commander of the Somerset (New Jersey) Major Crime Unit during an interview. “I think they were worried about the publicity,” Cullen says.

Apparently, the hospitals that employed Cullen had lacked a strong “tone at the top” in which management shows its staffers — through its words and actions — that dishonest or unethical behavior won’t be tolerated. Management at these hospitals also didn’t create cultures in which employees felt safe to speak up when they suspected Cullen. And the hospitals didn’t run background checks, so he was allowed to continue to market his nursing skills, plus they had poor internal controls that freed him to access medications that he’d use to poison patients.

For full access to story, members may sign in here.

Not a member? Click here to Join Now. Or Click here to sign up for a FREE TRIAL.