The Fraud Examiner

CFE Prevents Fraud Through Immersion and Communication
 

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June 2017

ACFE Member Profile
Britta Bohlinger, CFE, MA
Founding Director
RisikoKlár


Britta Bohlinger, CFE, MA, BSc (Hons), Quality Manager and Auditor (IHK Berlin), founding director of RisikoKlár, is no stranger to debates or uncomfortable discussions. From a young age, she enjoyed lively conversations with her father about his work and later became active in academic association discussions. She said, “The element of informal mentoring was invaluable — a source of motivation, challenge and aspiration. [The discussions] were also a source of comfortable discomfort as being an active member always reminded me of how much more I needed to learn.” As the only female CFE in Iceland, she now brings her passion for discourse and spreading risk management knowledge to the ACFE’s members-only online community and her clients.



How did you first become passionate about fighting fraud?
When I turned 10, my grandmother gave me the biographies of Martin Luther King Jr. and Käthe Kollwitz — they laid the groundwork for my moral compass. I also witnessed my father working late at night and on weekends on machinery assessments and analyses. Deeply immersed, he was drafting, improving and inventing mechanisms, processes and devices that would reduce serious risks and protect the safety of fellow workers. He had suffered a work accident himself, but his loyalty to his employer never wavered and I understood that the awards and rewards he was given, in appreciation of the risks mitigated for the firm thanks to his inventions and improvements, played a key role in this lifelong commitment. We later enjoyed many arguments over environmental issues in his industry, and I consider myself fortunate for growing up with my father’s willingness to engage in ongoing intellectual battle over ethical matters with me. His respect for my perspective, coupled with my insight that risk can be mitigated — and that preventive measures in combination with a passion for risk detection and the right incentives can make a major difference — were character-building. Little did I know then that conduct and fraud risk would become central to my work one day, but the passion was instilled early and strongly.

 

My background in the social sciences, which entailed studies in social psychology and criminology, ignited my interest in fighting fraud and white-collar crime (German: Wirtschaftskriminalität). My work in mitigating and managing banking risk tied all these elements together in a holistic and passionate way.

What is your current role and what does it entail?

I am founder and head of RisikoKlár, an independent nonprofit agency and think tank that researches and advises on risk mitigation and fraud prevention. This includes education and provision of resources as well as empowerment through dialogue. My work currently entails methods usually employed in ethnographic studies — which means deep immersion in the local culture and in-depth dialogue with key influencers, decision-makers and a diverse range of locals and immigrants. It also involves ad hoc support for individuals who approach me with ethical issues, whistleblowing matters, or requests for specific advice or guidance.


A major milestone in this work, currently based in Iceland, has been the support of the local media. In order to raise awareness and enable clear, fact-based flows of information in support of anti-corruption, fraud risk awareness and white-collar crime prevention, well-informed journalists are necessary. They play a central role in educating the public and steering public discourse toward civic participation, and they demand accountability and transparency from authority figures.


I also study and research the factors which prevent effective risk management, what issues may pose risks from a macro-economic perspective and I develop recommendations for stakeholders. On a practical level, I advise stakeholders on conduct risk, conflicts of interest, due diligence, risk and loss events, and other aspects of operational risk and fraud risk, including legislative changes and developments resulting from European Union directives.


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