ACFE Member Profile
Simon Markham, CFE, is a fraud investigator for UK-based mobile phone
operator EE, Ltd. in Duxford, Cambridgeshire. Markham has extensive experience
in fighting fraud, including 13 years of work at the Metropolitan Police as a
higher intelligence analyst. In this interview he discusses the various
approaches needed to protect the organization from fraud.
Q. What are your essential
responsibilities at your job?
A. I’m a fraud investigator at EE, which is the mobile phone operator that
runs the T-Mobile, Orange and EE brands. We recently launched the only 4G
network in the UK, and we supply some pretty high-end handsets and very desirable
mobile and data services. As such we are the target of fraud from both inside
and outside the company. My role is mainly to conduct investigations into
criminal acts (mostly fraud) carried out against the company from outside. These are usually organized attacks by groups who commit large-scale fraud to obtain
high-value mobile equipment.
I work closely with the police and business partners to identify and
frustrate the fraudsters by having them arrested or tightening our processes so
the opportunity to commit fraud is removed. I can be involved in everything
from carrying out surveillance, taking witness statements or conducting
interviews, to having meetings to discuss control improvements when a weakness
has been identified. I also get involved if the fraud is carried out by
internal staff, but only if the nature of it is serious or shows signs of
Q. How did you get started as an ACFE member?
A. A former colleague who I have much respect for had earned the CFE credential. I was curious to find out more, and so I visited the ACFE
website and read all about it. I was very impressed by the variety of topics
beyond my own field of investigation that is required to pass the exam, but
also by the fact that it requires you to continue to study in order to retain
the credential. I recently took a course that was a straightforward pass or
fail. There was no requirement to continue your learning or even keep your
skills up to date, yet the qualification would still be yours forever more. The
CFE credential seemed to have a lot more credibility in that respect.
Q. Please tell us about your experience at the Metropolitan Police and how it influenced you to become
A. I worked at New Scotland Yard as a Senior Intelligence Analyst for a
number of years and was involved in many high-level investigations. I joined
the private sector 13 years ago as an investigator and have conducted many
enquiries. I’ve interviewed suspects, given evidence in court, carried out
complex fraud enquiries, and built a wealth of knowledge and experience.
It occurred to me, though, that if I ever decided to leave my current
job then I have absolutely nothing that demonstrates all those years of hard
work. In other words, I would be plain old Simon Markham, former fraud investigator.
Now I have attained my CFE credential, that’s mine to keep and regardless of
who I’m working for (or not) I will be able to say that I’m a Certified Fraud
I’m also lucky that my current employer recognizes the importance and
value of having a CFE working for them, and they allow me time to carry out
my CPD and attend ACFE events. It’s also been really beneficial to me as
recently my team moved and has joined a bigger internal audit and control department. The lessons I learned while studying for my CFE Exam have
already been a great help to me.
Q. When you're not at work tracking
fraudsters, what do you do?
A. I have two young children so I like to spend as much time with them as
I can. When I’m busy at work, say leaving home at 4 a.m. to go and do
surveillance all day, by the time I get home I may be lucky to see them for an
hour before they go off to bed. So when I’m not “catching criminals” (as my
daughter likes to call it), I like to be at home doing the normal stuff.
I also work part-time for a company called the Research and
Intelligence Support Centre (RISC) as a teacher of Intelligence Analysis which
is a throwback to my previous job with the Met. I’ve traveled as far as
Australia and Mexico, as well as throughout the UK, to teach the police and other
law enforcement agencies the tricks of the trade. I really enjoy passing on
knowledge that helps them do their job. We teach private companies, too, and
I’ve met some really dedicated people involved in this type of work – and I
will now proudly be telling my students all about my CFE credential and
encouraging them to study for it, too!