Southeastern Accounting Professor serves as Faculty in Residence with FBI
Contact: Rene Abadie
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HAMMOND – What started as an inquiry to an FBI Special Agent who had lectured in his class soon led to a full time sabbatical with the agency last spring for a Southeastern accounting professor.
Pierre Titard, Southeastern’s Phil K. Livingston Professor of Accounting, is apparently the first member of a university faculty to serve a sabbatical with the FBI. After the agent had spoken to his class, Titard outlined a proposal showing how a sabbatical with the FBI would benefit both the agency and the university.
“I was interested in providing a public service to the extent my knowledge and abilities allowed,” said Titard, a resident of Denham Springs.
Since this had not been done before, approval was required, not only by the New Orleans office, but also by FBI Headquarters in Washington, DC. He underwent an extensive background investigation in order to qualify for a security clearance that would allow him access to the files and databases with which he would be working.
While serving in the New Orleans branch, Titard developed an innovative process to help identify the most serious potential mortgage fraud cases.
“A significant amount of my work involved mortgage fraud,” he said. “And fraud can be by the borrower, the lender, or both. In addition some mortgage fraud involves collusion among several individuals, including an appraiser, whereby an individual obtains a mortgage for substantially more than the property is worth.”
Titard said he learned a lot from his experience, much of which he will be able to share with his students, especially those who may be interested in a career with the agency.
“For a long time, individuals in accounting and finance have played important roles in the FBI,” said Titard, who has been on the Southeastern faculty since 2000. “Their role has always been important, but because of the publicity of many recent financial crimes, the role probably has been more public than it has in the past.”
While working in the New Orleans Division, Titard became impressed with the dedication and conscientious efforts by the special agents and FBI staff in doing their everyday jobs. He said he hopes he has provided an avenue by which other faculty – from Southeastern and other institutions – will now be able to obtain this experience while lending expertise to the FBI.
“The FBI provides an excellent career opportunity for business majors, either as special agents, intelligence analysts or financial analysts,” he said. “Many skills are useful in the FBI, but accounting and financial skills are particularly helpful in investigating financial crimes.”