ACFE Member Profile
Battley, CFE, serves as divisional director for Haymarket Risk Management,
where she investigates fraud and implements measures to detect and prevent it. Previously,
Battley was an agent at New Scotland Yard. She shared with us some of her
experiences in the field.
Q. What led
you to this type of work?
inquiring mind coupled with a passion for probity.
handled many complex, international investigations while at New Scotland Yard,
including kidnapping cases. How often did your work involve fraud? And what
types of fraud were most common?
cuts across most serious criminality (such as) art and high value jewelry thefts, which are achieved through careful planning and pretext. The key to all investigations, but particularly
fraud, is the initial information development and then looking at the best
option to achieve the required outcome. Inevitably this is done by taking the investigation through stages ranging
from undercover covert work to fully overt investigations.
there similarities in the way you would investigate kidnapping, ransom and/or
blackmail cases – and fraud cases?
was commonality in just about every case in terms of pre-planning, research,
surveillance, informant handling and ultimately in planning and coordinating
the confrontation of the perpetrators. Similarly, all these cases end up
in an interview scenario, the difference being that in complex fraud cases the
perpetrators were often more likely to come clean when confronted with
incontrovertible evidence than your average armed robber.
did you come to be divisional director at Haymarket?
had been doing anti-corruption work in the Caribbean for four years when a
former colleague from New Scotland Yard who had worked as an interpreter with Haymarket
on complicated fraud cases in mainland Europe introduced me to the managing director.
Q. What does this role encompass?
detecting and investigating corporate fraud. That said, we are great advocates
of prevention as that is always better than cure, but so many organizations
still pay lip service to controls against fraud. Inexplicably, despite all the
well publicized increases in fraud levels, many organizations still continue to
rely on hopelessly inadequate pre-employment screening checks and staff are
rarely, if ever, given fraud awareness training as part of their induction
types of cases are the most interesting to you, personally? Did a certain type
of investigation really draw you in?
investigations are interesting, and the range of innovative ruses people invent
to cover their tracks ensures you are constantly being challenged to stay sharp
working to mitigate risk and prevent fraud, what are some of the most important
things for fraud examiners to keep in mind? Is there an element that requires
the most focus for you?
optimum scenario is a risk analysis that focuses on identifying control and
process vulnerabilities across the client’s operations. This has to go beyond
physical and IT security and must encompass examination of various functions
including procurement, tendering and contract award, pre-employment screening
procedures, disposals (so often overlooked but premature disposal of serviceable
equipment and perfectly saleable stock is an increasing area of fraud), and
increasingly, information security (information is the fraudster’s lifeblood, but how many companies provide staff training in spotting an
foregoing is the first step toward mitigating and reducing risk, however, the
“buy-in” and support of senior management is the key and that has to be
reflected in the production of a company policy manual, which incorporates a
code of ethics and clear rules. As to responsibility and accountability, staff
must be aware of the stance the company will take if they step across the line. At
Haymarket we also encourage clients to publish their code of ethics policy to
external parties (suppliers and contractors) in order that they are in no doubt
as to the company’s stance against fraud.
advice do you have for other fraud examiners who would follow in your
take anything at face value and keep an open mind. In handling cases of
suspected fraud by an employee, always encourage the client to keep the suspect
in place and investigate covertly without their knowledge. Premature
confrontation will only ever lead to disposal of evidence and warning off of
others involved whereas a detailed covert investigation provides the
opportunity to harness all available evidence (through computer forensics
searches, lifestyle checks, undercover approaches and so on), and also to
identify other internal and/or external parties who may be involved. Once that
stage is reached, with client approval, simultaneous unannounced interviews, in
which each party is confronted with evidence assimilated, should be conducted
with all internal and external suspects.
Q. Where are you from, and what is your “home base,” so to speak?
was brought up in Australia but came to England to join the police. I always
wanted to be a Detective at New Scotland Yard.
you have any hobbies or interests outside of your anti-fraud work?
A. The arts. I am passionate
about theatre, dance, music, art, literature and poetry. For a time I also had my own airplane, but my
other interests meant I wasn’t flying socially as much as I wanted -- so now it is
mainly being a patron of the arts. That is my first love.
For more information, contact Sarah Hofmann, Public Information Officer, at (512) 478-9000 ext. 324 or