resources to find out why and how employees go bad, so that it might do something to pre- vent it. This quest took me to the vast libraries of the University of Texas at Austin, which led me to Cressey’s early research. After reading his book, I realized that Cressey had de- scribed the embezzlers I had encountered to a “T.” I wanted to meet him.
Finding Cressey was easy enough. I made two phone calls and found that he was still alive, well, and teaching in Santa Barbara. He was in the telephone book, and I called him. He agreed to meet me the next time I came to California. That began what became a very close relationship between us which lasted until his untimely death in 1987. It was he who recognized the real value of combining the theorist with the practitioner. Cressey used to proclaim that he learned as much from me as I from him. But then, in addition to his brilliance, he was one of the most gracious people I have ever met. Although we were together professionally for only four years, we covered a lot of ground. Cressey was con- vinced there was a need for an organization devoted exclusively to fraud detection and deterrence. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, started about a year after his death, is in existence in large measure because of Cressey’s vision. Moreover, although Cressey didn’t know it at the time, he created the concept of what eventually became the certified fraud examiner.
It happened like this. Don, his wife, Elaine, my wife, Judy, and I were returning from a fraud conference in Australia when we stopped over in Fiji for two days. As he and I were sitting on the beach talking, Cressey theorized that it was time for a new type of “corporate cop”—one trained in detecting and deterring the crime of the future: fraud. Cressey pointed out that the traditional policeman was ill-equipped to deal with sophis- ticated financial crimes, as were the traditional accountants. It was just one of many ideas he had discussed that day, but that one stuck.
Dr. W. Steve Albrecht
Not too long thereafter, I met another pioneer researcher in occupational fraud and abuse, Dr. Steve Albrecht of Brigham Young University. Unlike Cressey, Albrecht was educated as an accountant. We discussed, among other things, Cressey’s vision. Albrecht agreed with Cressey—traditional accountants, he said, were ill-equipped to deal with complex financial crimes. Eventually my colleagues and I decided that this new kind of “corporate cop” would have training in four disciplines: accounting, law, investigation, and criminology. And that new corporate cop is now the certified fraud examiner (CFE).
The Albrecht Study
Steve was helpful in commencing the CFE program, and his research contributions in fraud have been enormous. He and two of his colleagues, Keith Howe and Marshall Romney, conducted an analysis of 212 frauds in the early 1980s under a grant from the Institute of Internal Auditors Research Foundation, leading to their book entitled Deter- ring Fraud: The Internal Auditor’s Perspective. The study’s methodology involved ob- taining demographics and background information on the frauds through the extensive use of questionnaires. The participants in the survey were internal auditors of companies who had experienced frauds.