About the Institute for Fraud Prevention

Mission Statement

The Institute for Fraud Prevention (IFP) is an Industry-University Cooperative Research Center dedicated to multidisciplinary research, detection, and deterrence of fraud and corruption, hosted at West Virginia University. The IFP’s primary goal is to improve the ability of business and government to combat these crimes and to share research on effective methods of recognizing and deterring them. The IFP draws on the talents and resources of domestic and international universities, as well as top experts from around the world to shed light on the root causes of fraud, the methods by which it is committed and the scope of its damages.

Why IFP was created

While recent statistics show that violent crime is diminishing across the country, fraud has exponentially increased. Fraud causes more direct financial loss than all other property crimes combined. In addition, the indirect consequences of fraud are taking an even higher, if less obvious, toll characterized by a decline in trust by investors and consumers.

Additionally, while more than a million police officers, correction and justice officials fight street crime and drug offenses, only a comparative handful of professionals are focused on corporate fraud and corruption. Even fewer are versed on how to detect and prevent the often sophisticated and devious approaches of perpetrators due to the lack of anti-fraud training that business and accounting professionals receive during their academic and professional careers.

Through its research and education initiatives, the IFP seeks to aid in the prevention of fraud and corruption and meet the needs of law enforcement, regulators and its corporate members.

For the first time:

  • Those involved in the fight against fraud will have a single source where they can turn for the latest and most important findings, including unprecedented collections of data on fraud
  • The knowledge void that has worked to the advantage of fraud perpetrators will be reduced at all levels from government to consumers
  • The business community, consumers and investors, non-profit associations and government can come together to develop more effective anti-fraud programs
  • Graduate and undergraduate students will gain a multi-disciplinary knowledge of anti-fraud strategies and methodologies
  • Dissemination of information on fraud will be swift and broad-based utilizing a variety of appropriate venues including monographs, web sites, emails, classrooms, seminars and e-publications

These initiatives have been brought to bear for the initial round of studies on the detection and prevention of financial fraud; specifically under the subjects of control overrides in financial statement fraud, identity theft, and procurement fraud. As funding and partnerships grow, organizations that join will have the opportunity to shape the specific research that is conducted.

The IFP and West Virginia University

In 2008, the IFP officially partnered with West Virginia University. The West Virginia University Division of Accounting in the College of Business and Economics gained nationwide prominence in the fraud and forensic accounting arena in 2004 when faculty in the Accounting Division assembled a world-renowned group of experts to develop guidelines for a national model for fraud and forensic accounting curriculum through a grant from the federal Office of Science and Technology at the National Institute for Justice. The curriculum guidelines were sent to the Department of Justice in December 2005.

The College of Business and Economics has been host to forensic lab managers, IRS agents and others interested in learning about the entire spectrum of fraud and forensic best practices.

West Virginia University was one of the first universities in the world to offer a forensic identification degree, and the Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering has been designated as a Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education by the National Security Agency.

Consulting

The IFP has served as a consultant to the World Bank in developing a major anti-corruption initiative, theVoluntary Disclosure Program.

The IFP was retained as a consultant by the Texas Comptroller to assist in an investigation of fraud and internal control deficiencies at ERCOT.