The Association that Generated a Movement

By Dick Carozza

In a mere two decades, the ACFE has produced a grass-roots, anti-fraud movement that's just getting started. 

Joseph Wells and Jim Ratley sat in chairs on the wide porch of the Victorian house that served as their office in Austin, Texas. As they enjoyed the morning breeze in the spring of 1988, they talked about Wells & Associates, their successful financial investigative firm. Then Wells told Ratley he'd like to do something that had never been done. 

For the last few years, Wells had talked with criminologists and educators about the need for a new profession. He said an organization must be started to give eager auditors, accountants, law enforcement personnel and others the skills to fight and prevent fraud. 

These "corporate cops" would earn a Certified Fraud Examiner designation that would tell the world that they were serious professionals who meant business. They would no longer be dumbfounded by fraud, but they would apply principles learned through seminars, publications, and videos to not only detect and crack cases but hopefully deter future crimes.

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