Joint Holiday Networking Reception Turns Into Unique Networking Experience

By Gabriela Coldea
Orange County Chapter President


The Orange County, Inland Empire, and San Diego chapters of the ACFE organized the first joint holiday networking event at the Mazda North Operations in Irvine, California, December 6. Certified Fraud Examiners (CFEs) from southern California gathered to meet and enjoy a unique networking experience.

Normally, such meetings tend to be rather dry and awkward — people of the same profession standing around, having a drink, eating hors d'oeuvres and uncomfortably exchanging small talk. This time around though, networking was facilitated through a shared task: They all played a round of “Find the Fraudster.”

Left to right: Patricia Ballesteros - Inland Empire Chapter member, Jeremy Salvador - Inland Empire Chapter VP Events, Pam Fairbrother- Orange County Treasurer, Guillermo Alvarez- Orange County Chapter Advisory Board Member, Gabriela Coldea - Orange County Chapter President, Andy Horita - San Diego Chapter President, Dave Kyman- San Diego Chapter VP

Left to right: Patricia Ballesteros - Inland Empire Chapter member, Jeremy Salvador - Inland Empire Chapter VP Events, Pam Fairbrother- Orange County Treasurer, Guillermo Alvarez- Orange County Chapter Advisory Board Member, Gabriela Coldea - Orange County Chapter President, Andy Horita - San Diego Chapter President, Dave Kyman- San Diego Chapter VP

How was the game played? Examiners were encouraged to meet others and to inquire about their backgrounds and history to determine which of them was the fraudster. The fraudster, on the other hand, was told to lie in response to any question which might directly reveal his identity as the fraudster, but he could answer questions truthfully so long as they were not directly connected.

Attendees were encouraged to write their guesses as to the identity of the fraudster on the back of their business cards. Three attendees identified the fraudster correctly. Since there were multiple winners, a drawing was made, and the owner of the winning card was rewarded with an ACFE notepad.

This year, the fraudster was a Disney investigator. For playing the fraudster, he was rewarded with an ACFE executive pen and an ACFE challenge coin.

This game of “Find the Fraudster” transformed what might otherwise have been an unexciting and predictable networking event into an exciting opportunity to meet others in the field and to make new and valuable professional connections.

We would like to thank our host Mazda, caterer 24 carrots and the media team COLDEA Productions, along with the joint steering committee (Andy Horita, Dave Kyman, David Wall, Patricia Ballesteros, Jeremy Salvador, Guillermo Alvarez, Pam Fairbrother and Gabriela Coldea) for organizing such a successful event.

Enjoy the short video below from the event.