Fraud and Character: The Psychology and Motivations of White-Collar Criminals

Originally Aired: October 11, 2017   

Duration: 100 minutes

CPE Credit: 2

Description: Edwin Sutherland, the most influential criminologist of the 20th century, first described the concept of “white-collar criminality” in 1939. Investigators, law enforcement officers, prosecutors, psychologist, forensic examiners and the anti-fraud profession have built on his groundbreaking work. 

In this webinar, Michael Pocalyko, a corporate chairman and CFE who specializes in white-collar investigations, and Dr. Michael Greelis will describe the ethics and psychology of white-collar criminals using case studies and analysis of fraudsters’ motivations.

Sutherland’s model of the “violation of delegated or implied trust” and his original two categories of white-collar crime, “the misrepresentation of asset values and duplicity in the manipulation of power” will be explained, along with the roles that narcissism, sociopathy and greed play in fraud. The applicability of the Fraud Triangle, and how white-collar crime differs from occupational fraud, will also be discussed.

Field of Study: Behavioral Ethics

 This course fulfills the annual ethics CPE requirement for CFEs. To learn more about the ethics CPE requirement for CFEs, please visit

Course Level: Intermediate

Prerequisite: Working knowledge of fraud and fraud schemes

Advanced Preparation: None 

Delivery Format: Group Internet Based

You Will Learn How To:

  • Apply some of the criteria for aberrant behavior and psychopathology to white-collar criminals
  • Recognize how character and ethical breaches can signal the existence of white-collar crime
  • Assess the motivations that white-collar criminals have in common
  • Recognize the components of the Fraud Triangle based on the discussion of convicted fraudsters
  • Recall three convicted fraudsters motivations for committing white-collar crimes 

    Who should Attend:  

    • Certified Fraud Examiners and other anti-fraud professionals
    • Law enforcement officers and prosecutors
    • Private investigators
    • C-Suite executives
    • Accountants and internal auditors
    • Students                                                                                                                                                                                                                  



    Michael Pocalyko CFE, MPA, PI, CA
    Managing Partner
    Special Investigations

    Michael Pocalyko is managing partner of Special Investigations and CEO of Monticello Capital, based in northern Virginia in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Special Investigations is the first investigative firm ever to be formed out of the securities and financial services sector, concentrating in fraud, corruption, corporate board-level inquiries, international financial investigations and white-collar crime. Pocalyko is also chairman of the board of Enterprise Applications. A decorated Navy pilot and retired commander, he previously chaired the boards of Erdevel Europa in Luxembourg and Saudi Arabia, TherimuneX Pharmaceuticals and Advanced Environmental Resources, Inc. An experienced corporate director of both NASDAQ publicly-listed and private corporations, he was audit committee chairman at Herley Industries and Challenger Corporation, and is a Sarbanes-Oxley audit committee financial expert. He is a CFE, private investigator, compliance agent, and a continuing education instructor for CFEs, legal investigators and attorneys. His best-selling and fraud-themed novel The Navigator was published by Macmillan. As a corporate chairman Pocalyko is a member of the National Association of Corporate Directors Board Advisory Services practice, an NACD Board Leadership Fellow and on NACD’s teaching faculty for corporate governance. He is a graduate of Muhlenberg College, earned his MPA at the Harvard Kennedy School and his MBA at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.


    Michael Greelis, Ph.D. LPC, LMFT


    Michael Greelis, Ph.D., is a licensed professional counselor and a licensed marriage and family therapist in the Commonwealth of Virginia. He has been in private practice for 24 years, using techniques of interpersonal, cognitive and existential psychotherapy. He is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara, and earned his doctorate from George Mason University, specializing in community and agency counseling. He has worked clinically with serious mental illness, psychological trauma, behavioral problems involving oppositional behavior and conduct issues, family conflict, bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety disorders. He has extensive experience with partner abuse, with the assessment and treatment of substance abuse and dependence, and with potential risks from violence in the workplace. Prior to becoming a psychotherapist, Dr. Greelis had a business career in network services during the founding stages of the internet. He was vice president of National Systems Inc., one of the original national information networks, and general manager of GTE Education Services, Inc. He was also a senior account executive for Telenet, the nation's first public data network — the original internet — where he sold and developed the first electronic information network for mortgage banking.


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    Please note: To be eligible for CPE credit for the Online Archive webinar, you must complete the final exam within one year of purchase date. You may only claim CPE credit for a course once.