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Former FBI Director Louis Freeh Keynotes Assoc Of Certified Fraud Examiner's 25th Annual Conference

Forbes June 17, 2014

The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners kicked off its 25th Annual conference this year in San Antonio, TX. The association, founded by former FBI agent and renowned crime fighter Dr. Joseph T. Wells, boasts over 70,000 members and nearly 3,000 of them were in San Antonio to hear former FBI Director Louis Freeh speak.

Freeh's speech highlighted the progress the FBI has made in surveillance since his days as an agent in 1975 investigating organized crime. When he and his team received permission to send an informant into a meeting of mobsters, Freeh asked the FBI lab to send the latest technology they had to surreptitiously tape the meeting. "What they sent up a pair of shoes," Freeh said, "and the microphone was embedded in the shoe, but the problem was that the shoes were size 12 1/2 quadruple Es." The first thing said during the taped meeting was directed at the informant, "What's the matter with your feet?" Ask the guys on Wall Street how much technology has changed.

The audience was reminded that the FBI was formed in 1908 by President Theodore Roosevelt who started the Bureau out the Department of the Treasury. Freeh noted that, "The first Bureau of investigators were not gun slingers or bank robbery investigators, they were accountants. They had no weapons, they had no authority to arrest anybody, that didn't come until 1933. But evolved due to the necessity of being able to deal with financial crime." The FBI's focus these days? Cybercrime. (note to those in college looking for a good paying job).

With regard to the new era of "Big Data" and analysis, Freeh still sees value in being an old-school investigator. "I recently visited an FBI office and I saw hundreds of agents crunching numbers on computer screens crunching data," Freeh said, "But my view, which probably dates me, is that there is some advantage to going out knocking on doors and talking to people."

Freeh is now in the private sector and heads his own firm, Freeh Group International. He has met controversy with since leaving the FBI, most recently with his investigation into the Penn State scandal involving former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky … not an easy investigation.

The conference continues through the week.