ACFE names Bruce Dorris as new CEO

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The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners appointed a new CEO and president, Bruce Dorris, succeeding longtime leader Jim Ratley, who will be retiring.

Dorris, a former prosecutor who specialized in cases involving white collar crime, has been vice president and program director at the ACFE. He is both a CFE and CEO and joined the ACFE 11 years ago. He was formerly an Assistant District Attorney for the Caddo Parish District Attorney’s Office in Shreveport, Louisiana, and created and directed its Financial Crimes Screening Section.

“To be able to come in now and lead an organization of over 80,000 members around the world all dedicated to fighting fraud is a tremendous honor,” Dorris told Accounting Today. “It’s an incredible feeling that I am now part of an organization that does so much to right so many wrongs in the financial industry, in government, in terms of fraud and corruption.”

Dorris will be following in the footsteps of Ratley, who has been president of the ACFE since 2006 and CEO since 2011. He founded the group in 1988 with ACFE chairman Dr. Joseph Wells. Wells praised his longtime friend and colleague in an announcement Thursday about the leadership transition.

“I am personally sad about his retirement because I will miss seeing him regularly at the office; Jim has become my closest friend and stalwart colleague,” Wells wrote. “But with that sadness comes joy for Jim and for the future of the ACFE. At age 68, he is still young and healthy enough to truly enjoy retirement by pursuing his many outside interests.”

Wells also praised Ratley’s successor, Dorris, in his announcement to the ACFE members. “When Jim and I began your association, we recognized that it was our duty to ensure the ACFE would live on after us,” he wrote. “Just as I assured you of our strength during my own retirement four years ago, we’ve worked to make certain that our management ranks are strong, experienced and dedicated. No one exemplifies that more than our current Vice President and Program Director Bruce Dorris, J.D., CFE, CPA. He was personally selected by Jim for promotion to President and CEO. He has one of the brightest minds around, and I am confident he will put his own personal stamp on our continued growth and professional direction.”

Dorris told Accounting Today about his plans for the organization. “I plan to continue the great services and education and training opportunities that both Jim and Dr. Wells have done so well for 30 years,” he said.

One of his priorities will be adjusting to the new forms of fraud that ever sophisticated criminals are practicing with the latest forms of technology, including cryptocurrencies. “As technology advances there are many more opportunities and avenues for fraud to be committed,” said Dorris. “What I plan to do is to continue that legacy, to make sure that we are on that cutting edge. As we move toward digital currencies, for example, what are the ways that fraudsters are going to be able to exploit that? We’ve got a number of trainings that have come online within the last year or so. As technology evolves, we at the ACFE must evolve in order to combat it, not just for our members, but for the public that they protect against financial crime.”

As the federal government continues to strip away regulations, the ACFE plans to make sure that financial fraudsters don’t exploit the deregulatory trend. “We’ve worked with not only regulators, but those who are policing internally within organizations, the National Futures Association for one, when you’re talking about digital currencies and the futures associated with them,” said Dorris. “We’re making certain that despite regulation one way or the other that organizations and governments have the tools to combat, that they can think like a fraudster, not only within the areas that they would exploit, but in particular what are the tools, the ways that they are trying to get into our systems [like using social engineering]. It’s making sure that they do have those tools. We have a research department that is on that cutting edge.”

The ACFE plans to step up its education campaigns to warn the public about the scammers who might exploit digital currencies, for example, by offering a Bitcoin payment option as a way to steal users’ confidential information. “With any technology there are good things to it, but there’s also a dark side,” said Dorris. “We want to make sure that not only our members but the public at large are aware of those dark sides.”

The ACFE also provides information about the growing number of tax-related scams that have been evolving as cybercriminals grow more sophisticated and find ways to impersonate the IRS and other tax authorities.

“We have a lot of members that have seen upticks with that,” said Dorris. “We know that a lot of emails come out from a number of organizations purporting to be Treasury. I think that continuing to educate and talk to the media about these types of email scams and telemarketing scams that are out there, so that those who are most vulnerable are at least aware of the dangers of clicking on an email or agreeing to things over the phone, not giving out identifying information which could come back to haunt them for many years to come. We have a tremendous amount of information on that helps those who are maybe new to the field about what fraud is. We’re using that platform to educate others about phishing scams. You do start seeing an uptick between now and April as it relates to tax fraud and identity theft. I always encourage people to file as early as possible before a fraudster files for you.”

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Accounting fraud Financial crimes Cryptocurrencies Bitcoin Tax fraud