From the President

A journalist’s battle to expose corruption

“Corruption is an integral part of humanity,” says investigative journalist Miranda Patrucic in this issue of Fraud Magazine. It’s a sad summation, but it rings true. According to the ACFE’s Occupational Fraud 2022: Report to the Nations, corruption was indeed the most common fraud scheme in every global region we surveyed. Thank goodness the public has strong journalists like Patrucic, the focus of our cover story and the recipient of the ACFE’s Guardian Award, which we’ll present to her at the 34th Annual ACFE Global Fraud Conference in Seattle, June 11-16. The award honors journalists whose determination, perseverance and commitment to the truth have contributed significantly to the fight against fraud.

Like so many of us, Patrucic fell into her job. After clinching a string of journalism positions in her teens, she one day applied for a post at the Center for Investigative Reporting in Bosnia. She knew little about investigative journalism, but it sparked an interest in Patrucic, who had grown up during Bosnia’s brutal 1992-1995 war and saw a need for some honest reporting in her country.

Today, Patrucic is an award-winning journalist and was recently promoted to editor-in-chief at the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP). Through her work at the OCCRP and helping with the investigation of the Panama and Pandora Papers, Patrucic has exposed the corrupt practices of the ruling elites throughout Central Asia and Eastern Europe.

Patrucic’s techniques are very similar to the way CFEs pursue fraudsters. She follows the money and “turns every stone” to find just “one more piece of information” to prove her case and expose the truth. And she uses every investigative tool available to her, including social media posts, where miscreants and their families are tempted to boast about their flashy purchases.

Patrucic believes in collaboration, and she often teams up with in-country journalists who have the language skills and local knowledge to make all the difference in cracking a case. She says working with colleagues across borders has made her reporting stronger and helped spread the word about corrupt officials. CFEs value that same level of cooperation with their cases. Indeed, we must work together to fight fraud.

Mentoring the next generation of journalists and fraud fighters is also an important part of this collaborative effort. In the spirit of paying back her own teachers and profession, Patrucic trains aspiring reporters to follow the money and expose corruption. Seasoned CFEs mentor those new to our profession in much the same way so that we can make sure we have soldiers ready to continue the battle against fraud.

“Journalism was a calling rather than a conscious choice,” recalls Patrucic. That calling led her to expose very influential fraudsters and bring them to justice. We congratulate Patrucic for her effort, dedication and commitment in the fight against fraud. Her stories are proof that speaking up and exposing wrongdoing can make a difference.

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