Occupational fraud is one of the most prevalent and costly problems faced by today's business community. According to the National White Collar Crime Center, it is estimated that losses due to employee theft can range from $20 to $90 billion annually, with as many as three-quarters of all employees stealing from their employers at least once. In its most recent "Report to the Nation," the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners estimated that fraud would impact the American economy by approximately $600 billion in 2002. Further, the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners concluded that this estimate is likely quite conservative, as not all fraud is detected or reported.
In response to a growing need for fraud-related services, Crowe Chizek and Company LLC has launched a Forensic Services & Investigations (FSI) practice. The launch of the FSI practice is an effort to align Crowe Chizek's fraud services under one umbrella - services that previously were provided to clients by different business units. Recently, the firm has provided fraud-related services to a broad array of clients, including financial institutions, an investment brokerage firm, a state agency, an equipment manufacturer, an IT training provider and a financial management and advisory company in areas including Albany, N.Y.; Chicago, Ill.; Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; Indianapolis; Ind.; New York, N.Y.; and South Bend, Ind.
"By formalizing this full-scale practice, we're tapping into areas of expertise that have been developed as a result of Crowe Chizek's continued growth," said Crowe Chizek CEO Mark Hildebrand. "The FSI practice combines our financial and technology expertise with our depth of industry understanding and knowledge of the legal process. Our significant experience in the prevention, detection and investigation of fraud enables us to provide our clients proven expertise and results."
The firm's FSI services are directed toward financial institutions, dealerships, and government, healthcare and not-for-profit agencies and other commercial entities. Services include risk management, forensic accounting, internal and external investigations, forensic technology, background and asset searches, and expert witness testimony.
Leading Crowe Chizek's FSI practice is Executive Mari Reidy, CPA, CFE, who has more than 11 years' experience in providing auditing, forensic accounting and investigative services. Joining Reidy is former Chicago FBI supervisory special agent Curtis Crawford, who has more than 27 years of criminal justice experience in areas including organized crime, public corruption, bankruptcy fraud, financial fraud and drug investigation.
"White-collar fraud is a serious and costly trend facing organizations of all sizes," said Reidy. "Our team works with clients to find ways to prevent fraud from occurring, conducts internal and external investigations and, if necessary, cooperates in the prosecution of those responsible for abuse. We're expanding this practice to address the growing issue of white-collar crime and to continue to find ways to help existing and potential clients curb the effects of these criminal acts."