Together, Reducing Fraud Worldwide
Terry R. Sumner, CFE, CFS, MBA
Internal Revenue Agent/Anti-Money Laundering Examiner Internal Revenue Service
Dallas, Texas, USA
In a 2008 Psychological Medicine survey, speaking up at a meeting and speaking in public were ranked as the top two fears among participants. Yet Terry R. Sumner, CFE, CFS, an Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) agent and anti-money laundering examiner, said meeting new contacts in the fraud-fighting field was one of the main reasons he joined the ACFE. He deems networking as one of the most important aspects of a fraud professional’s education. Networking, teamed with interviewing training, is this IRS agent’s one-two punch for taking out some of the most dangerous fraudsters and money launderers.
Describe your job function (a day in the life of):
My job function is to conduct Bank Secrecy Act (BSA/Title 31) compliance examinations and Form 8300 compliance reviews. The purpose of this is to identify, detect and deter money laundering whether it is in the furtherance of a criminal enterprise, terrorism, tax evasion or other unlawful activity.
What made you decide to become a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) and how has the credential benefited you in your career?
I wanted the ability to interact with other fraud professionals, as well as to further my education and training. The credential has helped me to know what elements are needed for a good criminal referral, and it has increased my knowledge of interviewing and conducting investigations.
What type of training from the ACFE has benefited you most as an internal revenue agent for the IRS?
I try to take every interviewing course I can. The training and large variety of presentations at the annual fraud conference allows me to keep up with some of the latest techniques used for detecting unlawful activity.
What do you enjoy most about your career as a CFE?
I most enjoy the feeling I have that I am protecting my country by detecting unlawful activity and terrorism.
You’ve been to a few of the ACFE’s annual fraud conferences and attended this year’s conference as well. What keeps you coming back? What do find most useful among the benefits of attending the annual conference?
I enjoy the annual fraud conferences because of the many friendships that I make and the ability I have to use these contacts as resources of knowledge on fraud. At both the local chapter events and the annual conferences, I learn a lot of valuable information for my job, as well as new auditing/investigation techniques.
In your opinion, what are some of the biggest challenges and opportunities for CFEs today?
What were some of the more challenging tasks you’ve personally faced as a CFE?
What are some of the benefits/advantages to a company or government agency employing CFEs on its staff?
The largest benefit is the ability for staff to interact with other fraud professionals and discuss current trends. In addition, it is an advantage for a government agency to train their staff and improve their job performance. It is also helpful when I encourage employees to take classes from professional instructors that have new ideas on techniques that can be used in their jobs.
Please describe your most memorable case and its resolution (to-date if it’s a fresh case). Feel free to use pseudonyms for suspects if the case is ongoing and no judgment has yet been made.
The most memorable cases are 1) a casino with ties to organized crime and 2) a Money Service Business (MSB) where potential terrorism and organized crime elements were present.
How important is networking to you as an anti-fraud professional?
Networking is one of the most important aspects to any fraud professional’s education. Many times other CFEs have detected the people or techniques for fraud I am investigating. Annual fraud conference presentations give me ideas on where to look during my examinations to detect potential fraud and where to test the business anti-money laundering program for improvements. The instructors are always ready to answer my questions both at the conference as well as during the year.
What is your personal motto?
Treat others as you would like to be treated. My other personal motto is “in God we trust, but all others we verify.”
What advice would you give to someone hoping to follow a similar career path as you?
This is one of the most personally rewarding careers in the IRS. I would advise someone to get as much training in all aspects of fraud and in life experience so that they can relate to the businesses that they are examining. I would tell them to get training so they have the ability to find new methods in the commission of fraud.
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