ACFE Executive Leadership

Dr. Joseph T. Wells, CFE, CPA

Dr. Joseph T. Wells, CFE, CPA
Chairman of the Board
Association of Certified Fraud Examiners


Joseph T. Wells is founder and Chairman of the Board of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), the world’s largest anti-fraud organization.

After graduating with honors from the University of Oklahoma, Dr. Wells spent two years on the audit staff of Coopers and Lybrand (now PriceWaterhouseCoopers).

He then was appointed a Special Agent of the FBI. Over the next ten years, Dr. Wells investigated thousands of fraud cases, ranging from nickel-and-dime con artists to former U.S. Attorney General John Mitchell for his role in the Watergate case. In 1982, he left the government to form Wells & Associates, a firm of criminologists specializing in fraud detection and deterrence.

Since founding the ACFE in 1988, Dr. Wells has lectured to tens of thousands of business professionals, written 23 books and authored scores of articles and research projects. His writing has won numerous awards, including the top articles of the year for both Internal Auditor Magazine and the Journal of Accountancy.

In addition to his duties as ACFE chairman, Dr. Wells served as a professor of fraud examination in the Graduate Business School at the University of Texas at Austin where his pioneering work was recognized by the American Accounting Association, which named him Accounting Education Innovator of the Year.

Dr. Wells has served on various senior committees of the American Institute of CPAs and is a member of the AICPA’s Business and Industry Hall of Fame. He was named to Accounting Today magazine’s annual list of the “Top 100 Most Influential People” in accounting nine times. He was honored in 2010 as a Doctor of Commercial Science by York College of the City University of New York.