According to the Federal Trade Commission, there were 4.8 million identity theft and fraud reports in 2020, up from 3.3 million in 2019. With these alarming statistics, the need for trained professionals in fraud investigation and forensic interview techniques will continue to grow.
The Anti-Fraud and Forensic Interview Specialist Certificate at the College of Graduate and Professional Education at Kennesaw State University consists of five modules designed in partnership with the International Association of Interviewers (IAI) and the Georgia Office of Inspector General (GAOIG).
The five modules are:
- Introduction to Fraud Examination and Investigation
- Criminal Procedure and the Legal Justice System in Fraud and Forensic Interview Investigations
- Non-Traditional Organized Crime Threats in Economic Crime and Following the Money Laundering Trail
- Ethics, Corruption, and Economic Crime Psychology
- Forensic Interviewing and Interrogation
We sat down with Bruno Pavlicek, instructor of The Anti-Fraud and Forensic Interview Specialist Certificate, to find out what students can expect from this dynamic course.
Tell us about your background.
Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to work in law enforcement (probably due to watching too many Columbo shows). I served as a uniformed officer and then advanced to the detective role. I am now a retired detective from a county prosecutor’s office where I worked in financial crime, narcotics, and special victims crimes. My background also includes private sector experience. For 17 years I’ve worked as a private investigator in the corporate security arena, where I worked in fraud and ethics investigations. I also possess several professional certifications as a Certified Fraud Examiner and Certified Forensic Investigator. From an educational perspective, I hold a master’s degree in Economic Crime Management and Ph.D. in Psychology.
Tell us more about what students will gain from the program.
This program consists of five modules that entail the study of fraud: white-collar crime, organized crime, and the study of interview techniques and interrogation. This program takes on a practitioner’s approach to education in that it utilizes a hands-on format that puts practice and theory into motion.
What will attract students most from a career perspective is that the program essentially contains three certificates in one program. Students will earn a professional certificate from KSU, a certificate from the GAOIG in Anti-Corruption Investigations, and an industry certificate as an Associate Certified Forensic Interviewer.
What are some examples of the hands-on instruction students will experience in the program?
Students will complete a mock investigation where they will work as a team and use techniques they’ve learned. The investigation starts out as a bribery and kickback case and develops into a more complex issue. It culminates with the final module, Forensic Interviewing and Interrogation, where we participate in role-play interrogations in-person and virtually. The course also features guest speakers who are industry professionals.
How long does it take to complete the program?
The program can be completed in just under one year from start to finish. Each module is eight weeks long, except for Forensic Interviewing and Interrogation, which is 10 weeks long.
How frequently do the modules meet, and in what format?
We meet once weekly for three hours in the evening. We alternate between in-person and virtual (one week meets in-person, and the next meets virtually). This hybrid format is an ideal setting because students are interacting and working together on team assignments and networking with each other.
There is also a virtual-only option for the program. For this option, live in-person classes will be video streamed. However, the ideal setting in this program is with one-half of the class being in person, and one-half being online. Both approaches together bring value to the program as students work and network together.
Who should enroll in this program?
The beauty of this program is that it will appeal to a wide variety of students: undergrads, post-graduates who are presently working in the field, private investigators, paralegals, and novice and veteran investigators who want to learn how to become a fraud investigator. This course will train the novice on how to think as an investigator. The seasoned investigator will enhance their fraud investigator experience.
Students should be interested in the investigation field and have an appreciation for following the money trail in complex white collar and organized crime cases.
I want to be clear that this is not a forensic accounting program. This is a fraud investigations program, which would be relevant to a certified accountant. This course teaches students to think like an investigator and not an accountant. You do not have to have accounting experience to succeed in this course.
What are the program prerequisites?
Students need a high school diploma or equivalency. Working knowledge of computers and access to a computer and the Internet are required. Microsoft Excel experience is a plus.
What employment opportunities will students be qualified for when they complete the program?
Students will be prepared for investigative law enforcement positions, from local to county, to state and federal agencies. Students who complete the program will be qualified for roles in loss prevention, corporate security, and ethics departments in the private sector.