The Fraud Examiner

20-Year Special Agent: Integrity and Passion the Fraud Investigator’s Most Important Assets

December 2015

ACFE Member Profile
Ann Petterson, CFE
Senior Manager, Baker Tilly 

Ann Petterson, CFE, Senior Manager at Baker Tilly, became passionate about fighting fraud at an early age. “As long as I can remember, I wanted to be a federal agent,” says Petterson. “As a child, I remember hearing about victims of an Irish Sweepstakes scam, empathizing with the victims and wanting to figure out ways to thwart the bad guys.”

Where were you born and raised?

I was born in Hollis, New York, and was raised on Long Island. 


What is one of the biggest lessons you have learned since becoming a CFE?

Cressey’s Fraud Triangle. It added a new dimension to fraud fighting. The thought of profiling fraud perpetrators by being cognizant of the relevant factors that constitute the perfect environment for fraudulent conduct was an idea that was previously never within my purview. Adding Cressey’s factors to a risk assessment helps optimize the analytics. 


What steps led you to your current position?

I was employed as a Special Agent with the IRS Criminal Investigation Division for 20 years. As a financial investigator, I reviewed and evaluated financial records to determine whether a crime had been committed and, if so, to identify the perpetrators of the crime. The ability to “follow the money” is key in identifying crimes, determining motive and obtaining sufficient evidence to successfully adjudicate white-collar crime. I was also employed by the district attorney’s office and, again, I would follow the money to prove intent in murder cases, to prosecute mortgage fraud and money laundering cases, and to uncover embezzlements perpetrated by high-ranking officials of local government.

These skills have parlayed well to the private sector, where I conduct business fraud investigations, provide litigation support in white-collar crime cases, assist in integrity monitoring and apply money laundering skills to assist in regulatory compliance of financial institutions.

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