ACFE Member Profile
Sergeant Paul F. Bilotta, M.S., CFE
Police Benevolent & Protective Association Chicago Police Sergeant's Association
Like a number of CFEs, Sgt. Paul Bilotta of the Chicago
Police Department became interested in fraud when it hit close to home. In the
late 2000s, the president of the Chicago Police Sergeants’ Association was
arrested when it came to light he had embezzled more than $1 million from his
fellow officers’ dues. “He hurt his friends who trusted him, and he hurt his co-workers
who believed in him,” Bilotta told
the Chicago Tribune. Bilotta
never intended to get involved with the case but ultimately found himself as
one of the leaders of the association as they rebuilt.
How did you become
passionate about fighting fraud?
I became very interested in fraud around 2009 when our
then-union president stole approximately $1.1 million of union dues money from
the Chicago Police Sergeants’ Association. I attended court and was at the
trial during this process. He was tried, convicted and sentenced to eight years
in prison. He served approximately four and has been released. This entire
process got me most interested in fraud as I played a small role.
What is one of the biggest lessons you have learned since becoming
There are two sides to every story — sometimes three. Get
all the facts before decisions are made; facts are important. I cannot tell you
the amount of times I have seen people react without having all the information.
Sometimes it can be painstakingly difficult to gather facts, but they are
necessary for a complete and fair outcome.
What steps led you to your current position in the Chicago Police
When I attended the union meeting regarding the theft of
our dues, I stood up and made some comments. The then-president approached me
and asked me to get involved in the union. I never envisioned my career path
going in that direction and was hesitant. I told the then-president that I
really did not want to become involved and that I only wanted to air my
grievances. But he prodded me into becoming a director and I later became the financial
secretary. After an election, I was elected vice president and became a full-time
employee of the Chicago Police Sergeants’ Association. I currently serve as the
grievance chair, the bylaws chair and am one of the members of the contract
negotiating team. As I write this, our association is having elections in the
next month and I am running unopposed for president. I will lead this association
into their next contract and serve as their president until my term expires in
What unique challenges do you face working as a police Sergeant?
There are unique challenges on a daily basis. Our members
who work on the street face many challenges every day as they risk their lives
dealing with the criminal element and those citizens who do not appreciate, or
like, the police. My challenges are different as I work to protect my members
and their contractual rights that have been earned over many years of this job.
What is a memorable case or project that you have worked on?
Again, I have to refer back to the case of the theft of
our dues money. This case finally culminated with a guilty plea. It was
actually a case that lingered on for several years with the defendant claiming
his innocence until he finally realized that his lie was no longer being
believed by anyone — including his own attorneys, leading him to plead guilty. This
was not an easy case and many man hours from many people went into the outcome
of this case.
What do you like about being an ACFE member?
I enjoy being an ACFE member for the mere fact that I get
to meet so many interesting people. As vice president of the Chicago Chapter, I
meet many people at our monthly meetings and get to learn what they do, as well as learn different
perspectives about so many other jobs that use the CFE credential. Our Chicago
Chapter is filled with many talented people that truly denote what being a CFE
is all about. The Chicago board of directors has some remarkable people that
have been very insightful into my pilgrimage into the world of CFEs. I attended my first conference this year in
Nashville and had a great time. The breakout sessions were interesting and
there was always somewhere to be and something to do. I met some great people
and made some worthy contacts. I look forward to being able to attend another
conference in the future.
How has membership in the ACFE impacted your professional
I have always preached to my children that you can never
stop learning no matter your age. I received my M.S. well into my 30s while
working nights and having a wife and three children at home. My second graduate
certificate came about 10 years later. Professionally, the ACFE has allowed me
to expand my knowledge of the career choices available to CFEs, as well as meet
great and interesting people. I truly enjoy being a part of this organization
and having all the resources that are made available to CFEs. If you use what
is offered to you through the ACFE, you can't lose. The people involved truly
care and will usually help in any way they can to ensure a successful outcome
once a challenge is presented.
What activities or hobbies do you like to do outside of work?
Outside of work is busy for me. I enjoy boating, fishing,
skiing, tinkering with cars and home repair. I'm not sure how I have time to
actually go to work. As of today I have 1165 more days of work before I can join
the retirement club, but who’s counting?