Bill Vasiliou, CFE, has been detecting and deterring fraud for 40 years. His desire to protect the public from fraud ultimately led him to become a leader in the Toronto chapter, where he has been serving for 20 years and is currently president.
What do you do for a living?
I have been involved in investigations and examinations of financial institutions through regulatory oversight in both the private and government agencies. More recently, I've transitioned into being a college professor.
Why did you decide to enter the anti-fraud field?
It started in the mid-1970s when I was hired as the chief accountant and money market manager of a financial institution after it suffered a $600,000 fraud. Subsequently, the company started to computerize its operations. I noted that it was bleeding $100,000 a month, which was not caught by the auditors.
I investigated for about five months while the controller insisted it was an error related to the changeover and adjusted the financial statements without addressing the issue with senior management. In addressing the findings in my report with the board of directors, they thought that a second fraud had been committed in less than a year, this time by the senior vice president and friend of the chairman and president of the company. It was, in fact, financial mismanagement of the Estates, Trust and Agency funds by the VP and not a fraud. This gave me a taste of where my career was heading.
How has the CFE benefited your career?
The CFE and ongoing training has helped in the development of my analytical and business acumen in multiple disciplines. I continue to recommend the CFE to students and others as beneficial to their career development.
Why did you become active with the chapter and the board?
As with all volunteer activities, once one starts attending board meetings and events, you inherit a desire to give back to the membership and help the chapter to better serve the community in promoting and improving fraud detection and deterrence services.
How long have you been involved with the chapter?
I have been volunteering for the local chapter for approximately 20 years.
What has been a highlight during your time on the board?
There is no one thing that I can highlight. There are many areas such as representing the chapter at the global conferences, career days at the university, contributing to the education committee, being chapter treasurer and now being the president. I feel humbled by the experience, and the strong bond and friendship I have with my colleagues.
What are the benefits of serving as a chapter leader?
I have met other experienced and seasoned professionals who have shared their expertise with the community. And I have been able to work with other associations and organizations in related disciplines.
What goals would you like to help the chapter accomplish?
Increasing and retaining membership remains an elusive goal, but it also remains a major objective.
Do you have any advice for other chapter leaders?
Stay focused on the Association’s goals and objectives. Offer the training and support that your community needs in fulfilling your goals.
What do you consider your greatest achievement to date?
Having been involved in some 40 criminal and provincial offences trials and tribunal hearings leading to convictions and registration terminations. In addition, investigating green mail and junk bond activates, asset misappropriation, aspects of financial statement and mortgage fraud, which was detrimental to depositors and taxpayers.
What is your personal motto? Does it have any special meaning?
Having worked as a senior officer in a regulatory capacity overseeing financial institutions, if I had a motto it would be: “Be objective and protect the public interest.”
To me, it means that the public should not be harmed by financial predators. The public being any victim of a corrupt, fraudulent or financial crime.
What are your favorite activities and hobbies outside of work?
Outside of work I have enjoyed giving back to the community as a volunteer. I have been a youth scout counselor for over 40 years, was a member of the provincial scout council as chair of the audit and finance committee, and VP of special events and camping.
I sat on the parish church council for 10 years, raised funds for the local federated health campaign first as treasurer and then campaign vice chair, and received the Canada 125 medal for my volunteer work.
Of course, as many do, I enjoy traveling, but I also like to work around the house.