Career Center: Take Me to the Next Level
Elenore Cox, CFE, CPA
Senior Manager-Fraud and Investigations
NBN Co Limited
Elenore Cox, CFE, CPA, has always been focused on doing what is right for society as a whole. After working on an emotional case involving retirees who fell victim to fraud, she found a home for that passion to do right by heading up fraud detection in Australia’s largest communications infrastructure project, the National Broadband Network (NBN). “I wanted to be able to work on such a large project which is extremely beneficial to Australians and future generations,” she said.
How did you become passionate about fighting fraud?
I believe in integrity and doing the right thing all the time, even when no one is watching. I believe the people who make a conscious decision not to act with integrity and choose to commit fraud, or take part in corrupt activities when no one is watching, should be detected, investigated and (where proven and appropriate) prosecuted as a result. It is in the interests of individuals, organizations and the wider population. My passion stemmed from the underlying principle of doing the right thing, and I’m keen to ensure we prevent and minimize the risk of fraud and corruption.
What is one of the biggest lessons you have learned since becoming a CFE?
I have learned that fraud prevention, detection and response as a CFE is even more important when we have a wider net of people to support. It is imperative to advocate for what is right and ethical when we have valuable resources at our fingertips to increase efficiencies and knowledge.
What steps led you to your current position?
I had previously worked for one of the “Big 4” accounting firms in Australia. While this gave me the foundation to launch and develop my career by exposing me to the fundamentals of fraud prevention, detection and response/investigation across a variety of sectors and industries, my career aspiration has always been to own, and be responsible for, fraud management in one place over a long period of time. This led me to NBN, a government-owned company facilitating Australia’s largest communications infrastructure project. I wanted to be able to work on such a large project which is extremely beneficial to Australians and future generations; my role was to be a steward of NBN’s assets, to advise the management of fraud and corruption risks, and to add value from an improvement perspective through being proactive.
What is your current role and what does it entail?
I am NBN’s Senior Manager – Fraud Management and Investigations. My team and I aim to prevent, detect and respond appropriately to fraud and corruption. We work with the business as a whole, as well as other departments such as security, human resources and legal.
What is a memorable case or project that you have worked on; one that made you feel especially proud?
In a prior role, I worked on a case which was in the media that not only affected the client, but third parties to the organization — namely retirees. They had invested significant amounts of lifetime savings into investments, superannuation and insurance products/plans through a financial planner who was employed by a subsidiary of a large banking corporation.
The financial planner had more than 1,000 clients and defrauded approximately 60 percent, amounting to around $5.7 million over the course of 10 years.
While CFEs need to remain independent, calm and neutral, this case really pushed me to my limits as peoples’ livelihoods and their lifetime of hard work in savings was deceitfully taken from them with the promise of security, gains or, at a minimum, peace of mind (i.e. the insurance component). This was one of the cases that created the hashtag #trustisnotacontrol which I frequently quote.
How has earning the CFE credential benefited your career?
I was able to learn so much more, especially on a global scale, through studying to become a CFE. I can now apply a lot of the learnings to my day-to-day activities, leveraging off the ongoing support and continued resources at hand. It is wonderful to be associated with such a great organization. Being part of such a large network and pool of knowledge has enabled me to dive in deep to increase my own knowledge while sharing with others what I know, as well as growing personally and professionally — ultimately pushing myself to achieve and learn more.
What activities or hobbies do you like to do outside of work?
Some of my colleagues say that I am so passionate about my job that it’s also my hobby! I think that it’s a pretty good situation to be in; to be doing something I love day to day is priceless. They say, “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.”
In all seriousness, though, I love to travel and explore. I love spending time with my family and friends, am passionate about music, namely guitar and saxophone, and I like to play and watch sports and be out and about.
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