From the President

A sneak peek at the 2024 Report to the Nations

In the early 1990s, ACFE founder and Chairman Dr. Joseph T. Wells, CFE, CPA, created a survey that was sent to all our members. It was an extremely intricate survey instrument, and we’re still indebted to the more than 2,000 members who wrote such detailed descriptions of the occupational frauds they’d encountered. That first survey evolved into the most widely quoted source on occupational fraud in the world.

Now, in this issue of Fraud Magazine, we’re providing a sneak peek at the latest edition of the ACFE’s biennial publication, Occupational Fraud 2024: A Report to the Nations (see ACFE News: First look at Occupational Fraud 2024: A Report to the Nations). The full report will be available online later this March. Since the results of that first survey were published in 1996, findings from the Report to the Nations have helped develop the well-known Fraud Tree and provide standard classifications for dozens of occupational fraud schemes.

The 2024 Report to the Nations examines 1,921 cases investigated by Certified Fraud Examiners (CFEs) from 138 countries and territories. In total, losses from the reported fraud cases exceeded $3.1 billion. It’s difficult to pick only a few statistics to share with you; the report contains so much useful data detailing specific schemes and their effects on various industries and regions. While all the information in this year’s Report to the Nations is fascinating to anyone involved in detecting or preventing fraud, I can’t resist sharing a few of my favorite insights with you.

One of the most important pieces of information detailed in this survey is that tips are the most common method of detecting fraud. Forty-three percent of cases were uncovered because someone chose to report them. Employees were the source of the report 52% of the time, while customers or vendors reported nearly one-third of the tips. In every presentation I give, I reinforce how the most important initiative an organization can take to reduce fraud is to increase fraud awareness among employees and implement an effective method for employees, customers and vendors to report anything they might suspect is unusual.

Another insight from this report highlights the value of maintaining effective anti-fraud controls. No organization can eliminate fraud; it’s just not possible. However, by instituting a strong system of checks and balances, approvals, reviews, etc., these controls can stop fraud from happening and increase the perception of detection. If you eliminate the opportunity, or if employees believe they’ll be caught, then they’re less likely to commit fraud. Enacting these measures is aimed directly at the “Perceived Opportunity” leg of the Fraud Triangle, and data from the report reinforces that internal controls can decrease an employee’s perception that they can carry out a successful fraud.

A final statistic that stands out to me concerns the impact that owners and executives have on an organization’s bottom line — and not in a good way. Fraud losses for schemes committed by owners and executives are seven times higher than those committed by lower-level employees. More than half of all occupational frauds occur because of a lack of internal controls or an override of existing controls by management. I’ve heard many horror stories of organizations spending all their resources instituting controls for staff-level employees, but they never investigated how many times management overrode those controls for their own purposes.

I want to thank the ACFE staff who spent countless hours analyzing data, creating valuable charts and graphs, and designing the final layout. But the biggest thanks goes out to the thousands of ACFE members who took the time to complete the survey and helped create a vital resource that’s supported the global anti-fraud community for nearly 30 years.

John D. Gill, J.D., CFE, is president of the ACFE. Contact him at