• Career Center: Help Me Leave a Legacy

    CFE’s Knowledge, Persistence Exonerated Innocent Woman 

    Cliff Coutcher, CFE 

    Fraud Investigator (retired) 

    Rhode Island State Police 

    Cliff Coutcher 

    “It was a classic case of when bad things happen to innocent people,” Cliff Coutcher, CFE, said about a particularly memorable case “It’s scary.”

    Coutcher, a former fraud investigator for the Rhode Island State Police, helped free an innocent woman who had been arrested, transported across several states, and held in custody for 11 days for a fraud she didn’t commit. Coutcher helped uncover a case of identity theft by an 18-year-old Rhode Island man that had turned the woman’s life into a nightmare.


    “The incident was an example of something that can go perversely wrong in the system… if people don’t have the knowledge or the training to uncover what really happened,” Coutcher said. The case involved internet fraud – and Coutcher successfully traced the criminal activity to a Rhode Island man who had stolen the woman’s personal information to set up a purchasing scheme. The suspect’s subsequent confession to Coutcher exonerated the Tennessee woman.


    Now retired, Coutcher looks back on the identity theft episode as one of many significant accomplishments in a decades-long career of fighting fraud. He investigated cases including millions of missing dollars from a loan and investment firm, the collapse of the Rhode Island Share and Deposit Indemnity Corp., the corruption case of a former governor, and the fraud investigation of a former state senator.


    Coutcher said his CFE certification and access to membership resources helped provide the tools he needed to stay on the cutting edge of fighting fraud in an ever-changing industry.


    “The training and networking have been excellent, and the ACFE always keeps me up-to-date on current (fraud) issues,” Coutcher said.


    An ACFE Life Member since 1991, Coutcher was named 2005 CFE of the Year. He was awarded at the 16th Annual ACFE Fraud Conference and Exhibition for his commitment to fighting fraud.


    A woman in Tennessee can attest to his dedication. For her, Coutcher is a personal hero.