Career Center: Take Me to the Next Level
Director of Fraud Loss/Control
AMC Entertainment, Inc.
Few people can say that their current place of employment was their first; especially after a 25-year career. But, for Wendy Hans, CFE, Director of Fraud Loss/Control at AMC Entertainment, Inc. (AMC), that is exactly the case. Her first job in high school as a concessionist at a movie theatre sparked her later interest in investigating fraud. "Years ago, in an accounting class, we watched videos of convicted felons recounting their scams from the prison yard. It stuck with me that the fraudsters claimed their coworkers should have noticed their suspicious activity," Hans said. "Shortly after, a close coworker was acting strangely when some gift certificates went missing. We dug in and realized that she was stealing gift certificates and redeeming them on her own drawer to cover cash theft. It was my first bust — I was a box office cashier." Many roles later, Hans now oversees a team that conducts audits and closely monitors the transactions of nearly 18,000 AMC associates across the country.
Where were you born and raised?
I was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri. I earned my undergraduate degree and MBA from a local Jesuit college – Rockhurst University.
What steps led you to your current position?
I started with AMC 25 years ago as a concessionist – my first job. The evening and weekend shifts were a good fit during my high school and college years. I learned the business as I rose through the ranks. After working in the theatres nearly 10 years, I accepted a role in the accounting department and transferred to the corporate office. A fraud created my initial role in the fraud field. I was uniquely qualified with operations experience and an accounting degree. Over time, my responsibilities continued to increase and direct reports began to accumulate. The ACFE has been a wonderful resource to learn about all the new scams, sharpen my skills, interact with peers and understand where we should focus for the future. The ACFE's annual fraud conferences are the highlight of my year!
What is your current role and what does it entail?
I oversee the theatre audit program and loss prevention functions. My team conducts onsite theatre audits, and identifies and investigates any possible fraud. I also advise on potential risks and mitigating controls for company initiatives and sit on our Information Security Committee. Nearly all of our 18,000 associates have access to cash — so the need for thorough transaction monitoring keeps us on our toes.
What is a memorable case or project that you have worked on? Feel free to alter details to protect confidential information.
We regularly receive notifications of incidents that impact sales patterns. As soon as this case came in, it was clear that our knowledge of the available data and ability to discern patterns would be an asset, even though it was not a fraud case. Eager to help, we offered our assistance and got to work. Some speculated that an individual would not be foolish enough to leave an online trail, but that was ultimately what caught our suspect. I learned to never underestimate the power of data and the vast amount of information you can and will capture surrounding anything you are investigating.
What advice do you have for people looking to move up in their company and transition into a role with more responsibility?
Look like a leader and play the role before you are cast. Become an expert (attend continuing education, become a CFE), network (learn what other companies are doing) and educate others (volunteer to host an International Fraud Awareness Week lunch and learn – there are great plug-and-play resources for this event.)
Last but not least, figure out how you can make a difference and add value to your company. Not sure how? Think about what you do better than anyone else. I have never been bored at work; there is always a problem out there to solve.
When you are not working, what types of things do you enjoy doing?
Travel is my passion. It's a fascinating experience to go somewhere you have never been and explore. Plus, I love beautiful beaches and yummy, local food treats. I see a lot of movies too.
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