ACFE Member Profile
David Crump, CFE, is currently working in Afghanistan for Engility Corp. as a law enforcement professional assigned to a U.S. Army battalion. His job is to advise, mentor and train U.S. soldiers and leaders in law enforcement, evidence handling and collection, and rule of law. Crump also mentors and trains leaders and investigators from Afghan law enforcement agencies on investigation techniques, processing of evidence and detainee operations.
Please tell us about your background in law enforcement. How has your career grown?
I always wanted to be a police officer. After three years in the Army and then college, I joined the Wichita (Kansas) Police Department, where I served for 20 years. I liked being a police officer, and I loved being a detective. As a detective, I spent two years in undercover narcotics, two years in the robbery section and four years in the exploited and missing child unit.
I retired as a detective in 2011 and moved to Kansas City, where I worked in the marketing department of a large corporation. I got to travel a lot and loved it, but I missed law enforcement. When the job in Afghanistan became available, I eagerly accepted it. It has been a great honor to be here with the military. I have been able to use my training and experience to help keep our soldiers safe and help the Afghan police forces improve their rule of law and investigation skills.
How often does your job involve fraud investigation – and what types of fraud are you most likely to investigate?
I deal with bribery and corruption investigations on a regular basis here. It is no secret that corruption is rampant in just about every aspect of Afghanistan politics, business and life in general. Bribery and corruption are technically illegal here, but are extremely common nonetheless. I work with some of the Afghan law enforcement authorities who try to fight this activity.
Which types of cases are the most interesting to you, personally? Did a certain type of investigation really draw you in?
Early in my career, I ran away from financial crimes cases as fast as I could; until I realized that practically every type of crime has a financial motivator as a common factor (child sex abuse is usually an exception). When I worked in the undercover narcotics section, I became fascinated with the ingenuity of drug dealers to hide and launder their money. Whether the crime is forgery, embezzlement, robbery or drug dealing, there is usually some sort of financial motivation involved. I have always enjoyed following the money trail and documenting the benefits received from the criminal activity. This information always makes for a better case to present for prosecution.
Which types of criminal cases do you find the most challenging?
The most challenging cases, but also the most rewarding, were child sexual abuse cases. In addition to interviewing suspects and witnesses, I specialized in conducting forensic interviews with the child victims. The most enjoyable part of my investigations, though, has always been the suspect interviews. Whether I am interviewing a suspect in a financial crime, a bank robber, a terrorist or a rapist, the objective of the interview is always the same: To find out the truth. Each interview is different. Every suspect doesn’t always turn out to be guilty and you don’t always get a confession from the ones who are, but going into an interview and getting a confession from a suspect is always extremely satisfying.
When working a fraud investigation, what are some of the most important things to keep in mind? Is there an element that requires the most focus from you?
Whatever type of investigation I am working on, I always try to keep focused on the end goal. What am I trying to accomplish? I try to interview everyone involved in the case, including friends and acquaintances of the suspects. Much information can be gathered from computer searches and bank statements, but I believe interviews are also an important part of most investigations. There have been many times when I have learned important information from people whom I didn’t think I was going to get anything useful from. I want to have as many facts as possible, from as many different sources as possible, before I speak with the primary suspect.
What advice do you have for other fraud examiners who are following a fraudster’s trail as investigators?
Cases do not always go the direction you think they will go. Follow the facts. Talk to people. Listen to what they have to say and do not ask leading questions. Interviews do not always have to be done in a formal setting. Often, casual conversations with neighbors, acquaintances, the trash collector or the mailman will result in very useful information. Use your imagination.
Is there a particular case that stands out in your mind – either as very intriguing, or simply very successful from the standpoint of your investigation?
One case that turned out completely different than I anticipated was an attempted murder / aggravated arson / rape case, where a man tried to kill his 11 year-old stepdaughter while she was sleeping (he was unsuccessful). I was certain there was a financial motivator behind it. There were no life insurance policies on any of the family members and no rental insurance policy on the home. During the interview, the suspect confessed to the crimes, but denied any financial motivation. This was a case where I searched in vain for a financial connection, where there ended up not being one (the suspect is now serving a life sentence for attempted murder, rape and aggravated arson).
Where are you from, and what do you consider your “home base” in the U.S.?
Wichita, Kansas was my home for over 20 years, but I now live in Kansas City. When I return from Afghanistan this fall, I want to find a job with an organization where I can use my CFE and investigations skills and I will go wherever that takes me.
What are your hobbies or interests outside of investigation?
My wife and I have show dogs and we enjoy going to dog shows. I also enjoy wood working and home improvement projects.