In February, Mack Peterson received his fraud examiner certification. He works with George Braly of Carlsborg Investigation Services.
Fraud examiners are trained in fraudulent financial transactions, criminology, ethics, legal elements of fraud and fraud investigation.
Peterson began working in fraud examination in 2007 after retiring from Washington's Fish and Wildlife Department after 32 years. He was a detective for the last five years of his career.
He helped investigate and expose one of the largest falsifications of groundfish quotas in long-line and drag fishing history in Washington. Peterson said investigations like those require going through a lot of paperwork and "bean counting."
After retirement, Peterson desired new challenges so he began private investigations for the Carlsborg investigation company that led him to coursework toward his license.
"There are only 19,000 certified fraud examiners on Earth and we are probably the only ones on the Olympic Peninsula. Seventy-five percent of us are in government, too, so it is rare to see two of us together in a small town working privately," Braly said.
The investigative service covers cases in Jefferson and Clallam counties and has worked in the I-5 corridor and Kitsap County.
Peterson said he works with a broad range of cases. Sometimes people just want information or they want to have evidence for a court case.
He mainly works with finances such as breaking down assets in a divorce or in a will.
"A lot of the time it is a business association going awry," Peterson said. "Each day is new and challenging."
The most rewarding part is stopping fraud against senior citizens, he said, which he can relate to because his parents are elderly. Most crimes of fraud against seniors are commited by people the elders trust.
Most of the time, individuals affected by fraud don't see it and friends must bring it to their attention.
Peterson said it is rewarding to hear people say that he opened their eyes.
He advises everyone to know with whom you are dealing before you make a deal.
"I hear 'I should have known before making this agreement' a lot."
Peterson feels ethics are another key aspect to being a fraud examiner.
"Ethics is more than just obeying the law," he said.
"Driving fast and weaving in and out of traffic and not being caught doesn't mean that person is ethical."
Braly recommends people not run immediately to law enforcement because a fraud examiner is more specialized and could help individuals recover most or all of their money faster.
Braly has been a fraud examiner for three years and a certified public accountant for more than 25 years.
Matthew Nash can be reached at mnash@sequim gazette.com.
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