Joseph R. Dervaes teaches fraud lessons and awards first scholarship named in his honor at PNW Chapter Annual Conference

ACFE Regent Emeritus Joseph R. Dervaes, CFE, gave his final presentation and awarded the Pacific Northwest Chapter’s scholarship, renamed in his honor, at the chapter’s first hybrid annual fraud conference held in Tacoma, Washington, in May.

“Joe Dervaes is a bit of a local legend here in the Pacific Northwest ACFE community,” says Victoria Kitts, senior manager in the audit and assurance department at Clark Nuber and the PNW Chapter secretary/treasurer. “He founded the PNW Chapter in 1993 and was involved with the board for many years. His ‘Rolodex’ of fraud-fighting professionals is extensive.”

Dervaes was chair of the ACFE Board of Regents and became the first ACFE Fellow in 2000. He served on the PNW Chapter’s Board of Officers for 25 years and was appointed president emeritus in 2003, the same year he received the ACFE’s Cressey Award for a lifetime achievement in fraud deterrence and detection. And in 2007, Dervaes earned the ACFE Outstanding Achievement in Community Service and Outreach award. He also authored Fraud Magazine’s “Fraud’s Finer Points” column for 13 years and was inducted into the ACFE Hall of Fame in 2021.

“It seems that everyone knows Joe, either from having worked with him through the chapter, during his tenure at the Washington State Auditor’s Office, reading his articles or benefiting from his network connections,” says Kitts.

At the 2023 PNW Chapter Annual Fraud Conference, Dervaes delivered a presentation titled “My 80-Year Life Journey to the ACFE Hall of Fame — ‘Leadership Through Service’,” in which he imparted 13 life lessons every fraud examiner should incorporate into their career. Lessons included the importance of developing a strong work ethic early in life and dealing with difficult supervisors.

“It’s because of Joe’s lifelong pursuits and accomplishments that the chapter decided to rename our annual chapter scholarship after him in 2020,” says Kitts. But as the name change occurred during the pandemic and there were no eligible candidates at the time, it wasn’t until this year that the PNW Chapter could award its first Joseph R. Dervaes Scholarship.

The PNW Chapter awards one $1,500 scholarship per year to a deserving student who fulfills the requirements for the ACFE Foundation’s Ritchie-Jennings Memorial Scholarship Program and attends a qualifying four-year college or university in the state of Washington. The PNW Chapter renamed the higher-education scholarship in Dervaes’ honor in 2020.

“I was very pleased and immensely honored when the chapter renamed its student scholarship program,” says Dervaes. “This change presented an amazing opportunity for me to continue touching the lives of some of the most deserving students in the state of Washington who will ultimately become the future of our profession.”

This year’s recipient, Grace Brenner, is majoring in accounting and business administration at St. Martin’s University and plans to become a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE). The PNW Chapter also awarded two additional chapter scholarships, which Dervaes also presented at the conference. (See for more information about PNW Chapter scholarships.)

“I was pleasantly surprised to be able to personally make the first student scholarship presentations since the name of the scholarship program was changed,” says Dervaes. “It was an honor and privilege to meet these extraordinary students.

“I dedicated my entire career to educating others about fraud’s finer points and can’t think of a better way to expand the impact this scholarship program will have in developing the next generation of fraud fighters. We must do a better job protecting the organization’s resources, and I know this scholarship program is a great start in that direction.”

FRM update addresses new external fraud threats, augments data analytics info

The rapid pace of technological change means that organizations face an ever-evolving fraud landscape. The latest edition of the Fraud Risk Management Guide helps fraud examiners keep apprised of those latest threats and the multiple ways they can tackle them.

Co-published by the ACFE and the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO), the recently released guide covers strategies for addressing looming fraud risks related to ESG, cyberfraud, cryptocurrencies, ransomware, identity theft, COVID-19 response efforts, remote work and much more.

“In light of technological developments, the global pandemic, and shifts in the general business and regulatory environment, COSO and the ACFE recognized the need for updated guidance for organizations in building, implementing, and maturing their anti-fraud programs to address current and emerging fraud risks and threats,” says Andi McNeal, CFE, CPA, ACFE’s vice president of education and member of the fraud risk management update task force.

The Fraud Risk Management Guide was first published in 2016 to help organizations of all sizes manage risk, design their own fraud risk management programs and perform periodic risk assessments. It’s built around five principles of fraud risk management — establishing fraud risk governance policies; performing fraud risk assessments; designing and deploying fraud preventive and detective control activities; conducting investigations; and monitoring and evaluating the total fraud risk management program.

“Fraud risk management and strong internal controls are key themes in COSO’s mission,” says COSO Chair Lucia Wind, CFE. “The updated guide explains how internal controls and fraud risk management are related and support each other. Fraud prevention and detection is as critical in today’s business world as ever and the new guide outlines tools and thought leadership related to emerging topics.”

For the latest edition, COSO and ACFE solicited feedback from anti-fraud professionals on areas where the guide could be improved and updated. The resulting guide addresses current anti-fraud developments and technologies, including expanded instruction on incorporating data analytics into fraud prevention and detection control activities.

“To help all practitioners stay ahead of such changes, the guide highlights the importance of data analytics and provides extensive thought leadership on the use of specific data analytics through all five fraud risk management principles,” says Wind.

The guide now includes a data analytics point of focus for each of the five fraud risk management principles, explaining how organizations can incorporate different data analysis techniques into every area of their fraud risk assessment programs. And, along with the expanded data analyses instruction, the guide contains links to tools that organizations can use to enhance their risk management endeavors.

“These resources can be used for free by organizations of all sizes, in all industries, around the globe to improve their fraud risk management programs,” says McNeal. (See to access those resources.)

“The combination of the updated guidance and the enhanced suite of implementation tools provides a comprehensive toolkit for anti-fraud professionals and organizational management to effectively protect against the harms of fraud.”

In recent years, many organizations have started to incorporate environmental and social initiatives into their governance plans. As such, the updated guide includes information on the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Climate and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Task Force Reports and the types of questions that organizations should ask themselves concerning ESG reporting requirements and how they’ll handle disclosing and reporting problems.

External threats to organizations are constantly evolving. Indeed, fraudsters have cooked up new ways to target organizations since the first edition of the guide with numerous cyberfraud schemes, identity theft, cryptocurrency and ransomware — just to name a few. The new edition of the Fraud Risk Management Guide leads organizations through the process of identifying new fraud schemes and risks by monitoring news media and the dark web for emerging threats.

Since the first edition was published, a worldwide pandemic in 2020 generated a shift to remote working and altered the way organizations look at fraud risks. According to the Fraud Risk Management Guide, fraud risk assessments conducted in mid-to-late 2019 were outdated by the spring and summer of 2020, so organizations will need to go beyond periodic reviews based on a snapshot of time and implement continuous reviews of their risk management programs. (See Fraud Risk Management Guide, Second Edition, COSO and ACFE.)

“As a result of the pandemic, companies have adopted more technologies and automation to operate remotely or in a hybrid environment, changing the game for many fraud schemes, including asset theft, expense management, billing or currency use,” says Wind. “Physical handoffs of documents, manual checks or physical approvals are becoming controls of the past as all companies adopt a stronger digital footprint.”

Board of Regents suspends member

The ACFE Board of Regents voted to suspend Vicente Alvarez, CFE, of Northridge, California, from the ACFE for two years. This decision was based on Mr. Alvarez’s repeated failure to properly conduct and document engagement quality reviews, as well as his failure to maintain appropriate standards and policies regarding such reviews, as required by the relevant auditing standards. The Board noted that Mr. Alvarez quickly and fully cooperated with the ACFE’s investigation in considering its decision.

Reporting disciplinary cases

If you believe an ACFE member has committed a violation of the ACFE rules of conduct, you can report directly to the ACFE Legal Department, The ACFE also maintains an anonymous hotline. For more information, visit

Reader's response

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