Paul Hurrell, CFE
From public sector to private sector to heading up his own firm: one CFE’s journey
Paul Hurrell, CFE, has enjoyed a long and varied career in the anti-fraud field. He began in the public sector, serving in the New Zealand Police before making a switch to the private sector. Now the head of his own firm, Hurrell Global Risk, he is thriving in the ever-evolving landscape of international client services. "What I enjoy are the opportunities it has given me to meet people in different locations, areas of business or countries I may not have met otherwise," he said. "I work on engagements that use my skills in areas I had not even thought of — some not related to fraud or crime at all. Also, those I assumed would-be competitors have become associates and mentors, generously imparting their experience and knowledge."
When you think you have seen it all, a fraud or corruption risk comes along that changes that view.Paul Hurrell, CFE
Founder and Owner of Hurrell Global Risk
Morrinsville, New Zealand
Working in my own fraud risk and investigations company is something I contemplated for some years — I just needed a final push. Stepping away from the corporate paycheck was scary, exhilarating and a massive learning curve, all in one.
I have formed an association with Australian data analytics company Analytics in Motion, as well as a London-based company that specializes in deep web searching. With a large fraud risk network, I often find that if I can’t help a client, I know someone who can — it’s all about the swings and roundabouts in life.
Some of the challenges that we face situated in the Oceania, Asia-Pacific region relate mostly to cultural expectations and time zones. Having created, and working within, a small enterprise network of fraud and investigations specialists, we offer clients a range of services and capabilities in various parts of the globe, with various languages in normally harder to reach or developing regions.
I moved directly from the police into corporate work and was lucky enough to be mentored by some great managers. I have always said when hiring investigators that, in general, it takes a couple of years for the policeman to leave the corporate investigator, and that was true for myself too.
The major difference for me between public and private is of course whose interests you are employed to protect — as well as the amount of money available to do so. Both have politics, which you need to navigate, and both can be rewarding in very different ways.
It’s hard to identify just one. Like children, they make you feel proud for different reasons. One that stands out, mainly because we identified it soon after commencing work in a large corporation, was a case of a worker who had stolen just under $1 million in six months. From that scenario we developed fraud analytics testing and found three historical and three other current frauds happening in the same company using similar systems.
When it came time for this person to be sentenced, the lawyer wanted us to agree that they could return to work at the same company, to enable them to reimburse the money to the company each month. I worked out the math and said I would consider putting it to the management if the lawyer provided me with proof that the person would live to 147 years of age — which is how long it would have taken that person to repay the stolen amount without any interest being applied.
Membership in the ACFE enabled me to discover associated areas of study and also provided informal training opportunities through the networking and publications on offer. Taking on something I learned from a mentor, I now spend around 3% of my previous net earnings on personal development. Whether that is formal study or courses, a conference — I went to the ACFE Global Fraud Conference in Nashville — or the purchase of fraud-related reading material for my Kindle or iPad, it’s helped me grow in my professional and personal development.
I have been involved in volunteer firefighting in New Zealand and Australia for more than 20 years. I rose to be chief of a rural fire department before stepping down due to work commitments. I am also a keen photographer of landscapes and animals in their natural habitats. I’ve received recognition in a competition for a photo I took in Colombia of a colorful lizard, which is now used on my company marketing material. I’m currently intrigued by the various forms that rust and oxidization in general take on old railway wagons and bridges. But with grandkids having arrived, and more on the way, my time will take on a new direction.
ACFE membership is open to individuals of all job functions, industries and levels of experience who are interested in the prevention, detection and deterrence of fraud. If you want to level up your anti-fraud career, we can help.