a conversation with gacfe member david sawyer

GACFE: David, please if you would, start off by telling us about yourself and how you have seen the GACFE grow throughout the years.

David: Before I began specializing in forensic accounting and fraud investigation, I built a foundation in public accounting and internal audit, for about eight years.  I believe this has helped me see and approach casework from multiple different perspectives and angles.

I first joined the Board of Directors for ACFE Georgia in 2001 and have definitely seen changes in the Chapter.  I can remember meetings where we had less than ten people attending and have seen members come and go. The great thing about ACFE is how you get to interact with so many professionals from different disciplines in the anti-fraud field.  It helps you see the world from a different lens and become better well-rounded, in my opinion.  Like anything in life, the key to optimizing or maximizing the benefit of ACFE is consistency and commitment in attending meetings and plugging in to contribute on a committee or the Chapter Board of Directors.


GACFE: David, you are not only a member of GACFE, but you are also a member of the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist (ACAMS). As a matter of fact, you currently serve as the ACAMS Georgia Chapter President. Can you please describe to us the compatibility between the ACFE and ACAMS?

David: Being a member of both ACFE and ACAMS – and having served in leadership roles with both organizations – I’ve been able to see how fraud and money laundering operate hand in hand with each other.  That said, the two are ‘partners in crime,’ if you will.


“Broadly,” I feel “internal (or ‘occupational’) fraud is committed in three ways:


  1. Theft of Assets (‘Misappropriation’)
  2. Financial Statement Fraud (‘Cooking the Books’)
  3. Corruption (Bribery, Kickbacks, Conflicts of Interest, and the like)

Then, while the fraud is being committed (or ‘perpetrated’), there likely is an outright attempt by the fraudster to make an illegitimate act appear legitimate (money laundering).  Or, they might make an effort to conceal the illicit income altogether – ultimately resulting in tax evasion.  I guess that’s why they say that ‘money laundering is tax evasion in progress.

GACFE: That analogy makes sense, as the root of all fraud and money laundering is greed and in many respects, particularly with the latter, a criminal motive. And the facilitation of money laundering is in the end, an act of fraud. Can you now explain based upon your training and experience, what other emerging industry threats you foresee out there?


David: In recent years, I’ve been fortunate that my work has involved a close-up look at emerging threats and trends in our profession.  With my work as a CFE and CAMS, I’ve seen similarities in money laundering to WMD proliferation (which can almost be described as ‘products laundering’).  Closely connected to anti-money laundering (AML) is counter threat finance (CTF), or terrorist financing.  I’ve also worked on the threats of cyber crime and theft of our trade and military secrets (intellectual property) by foreign entities.  My training and experience as a CFE and CAMS provided the background to employ a unique application of these skillsets.

GACFE: Thank you David for taking this opportunity in speaking with us, and more importantly, thank you for your contributions that you bring to us as a GACFE member and former Board member.


ATTN: If you would like to write an article or be interviewed for our next quarterly issue of the GACFE Financial Crimes Times which will be coming in April, then let us make you famous. 

Meet GACFE Member...


In our second issue of the GACFE Financial Crimes Times, our spotlight shines this quarter upon David Sawyer. David originally served on the GACFE Board of Directors back in 2001. He also served as President of the GACFE as well.

In his 20 years as a CFE, David has conducted more than 300 investigations of white-collar crime, corruption, fraud and a variety of other forensic matters.  He has provided testimony as an expert witness more than two dozen times.  David is founder and managing director of Sawyer & Company LLC (www.sawyerforensic.com).  Additionally, he is  a CPA, Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) and licensed private detective (LPI).

If you would like to meet David, who also serves as the President of the GA. Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (ACAMS; Georgia chapter), join us for our joint social networking engagement with ACAMS on 1/24. There you will also meet other GACFE and ACAMS members. If you're a GACFE member, the event is FREE, but the opportunity for
networking is priceless.

Please register now!