The three principals of DFI share a common background and common values. All three started their law-enforcement careers with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and subsequently transferred to U.S. Agency for International Development Office of the Inspector General (USAID/OIG). Having experienced firsthand the heartbreak and misery caused by fraud and corruption, they developed an empathy for the victims of fraud. Scott, Ken and Mike decided to launch DFI to level the playing field and assist those people least able to help themselves.
If not handled quickly and efficiently, allegations of fraud can escalate well beyond the initial facts. Allegations of wrongdoing, whether true or not, can damage the reputation of any development organization, regardless of size, standing or quality. This can have an immediate, and possibly irreversible, effect on funding and the ability of the organization to carry out its core work and functions.
DFI prides itself on its professionalism, competence, cost-effectiveness and results. Our goal is to respond quickly, conduct a thorough and efficient investigation or risk assessment and produce a final report in a timely manner. Although only one or two investigators will typically be assigned to the field, they will not work in a vacuum. The field investigator(s) will maintain contact with DFI headquarters personnel to draw on their extensive experience to augment the investigation. Deploying all of DFI’s expertise on each investigation ensures the client receives the best possible product. To further ensure a high-quality work product, all final reports are reviewed by at least two levels of DFI management.
Reviews conducted by an organization’s own employees can be effective in certain circumstances. However, serious allegations of fraud should be conducted by independent investigators who are not intimidated or affected by internal politics. DFI objectively collects information and follows all logical leads to wherever the facts may lead. Reports will lay out the facts in a clear, concise and easily understood format.
Conducting sensitive complex investigations in a developing country is a skill that cannot be taught - it can only be learned through experience. With over 90 years of combined investigative experience and having worked in over 65 countries, the principals of DFI are uniquely qualified to conduct investigations anywhere in the world.
DFI will not release sensitive or proprietary client information or investigative information unless subpoenaed by a U.S. court of law.
Scott Nichols, President
Scott served as a Peace Corps volunteer in St. Lucia, West Indies. He is a graduate of the FBI Academy and served as a Special Agent in the New Orleans Office where he specialized in white-collar criminal investigations. Scott transferred to the Office of the Inspector General for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID/OIG) where he completed 16 years of service conducting both criminal and civil investigations.
As a Special Agent with USAID/OIG, he served two four-year assignments in Cairo, Egypt. During his tours in Egypt, Scott, along with his colleagues, worked on an antitrust bid-rigging investigation regarding USAID-financed sewer contracts in Egypt that resulted in over $300 million in civil and criminal fines. He also started a complex cost-shifting investigation that ultimately led to three criminal convictions and approximately $70 million in restitution to the United States government. To date, this is the largest single recovery from any U.S. government contractor working in Iraq or Afghanistan.
After leaving government service, Scott spent 10 years conducting internal and external investigations for Saudi Aramco in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Aramco is Saudi Arabia’s national oil company and the largest company in the world. One investigation, which included Saudi colleagues, uncovered the diversion of approximately 300,000 liters of oil per day. This oil, with a market value of over $90 million, was destined for a power plant but ended up on the black market.
During his time with the public and private sectors and his 31 years of investigative experience, Scott has worked on investigations that led to employee dismissals, monetary recoveries and the debarment of numerous contractors.
MIAMI UNIVERSITY OXFORD, OHIO
B.A., Accounting & Finance
• Certified Fraud Examiner
• Professional Certified Investigator
Michael Haer, Senior Advisor
Mike has more than 30 years of investigative experience. He has provided investigative expertise in 28 countries. A licensed attorney who speaks Chinese Mandarin, Mike began his career as an attorney in Kansas City, Missouri. He joined the FBI in 1981 as a Special Agent. While with the FBI, he conducted both criminal investigations and foreign counterintelligence operations. After seven years with the FBI, he joined the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). While with USAID, he lived and worked in Singapore; Bangkok, Thailand; Manila, Philippines; and Washington, D.C. He travelled extensively throughout the world to conduct and supervise global investigative efforts to combat fraud, waste, and abuse in U.S. foreign aid programs. After retiring from USAID, Mike worked for Texas Instruments (TI), a Fortune 200 company, and served as Investigations Manager, Personnel and Contractor Security Manager, and Key Personnel Protection Manager. Mike’s responsibilities with TI allowed him to continue conducting and supervising sensitive investigations within the U.S. and around the world. Mike currently works as a contractor, providing security consultations and investigative services for private sector companies and government agencies.
UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT COLUMBIA
UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT KANSAS CITY
Kenneth R. Strange Jr.,Vice President of Business Development & Quality Control
A Spanish speaker, Ken has three decades of experience in Investigations, Risk Assessment and Compliance operations and procedures within the public and private sectors. He has worked for the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, the U. S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Office of Inspector General in Latin America, and the U. S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Inspector General as Special Agent in Charge of the Los Angeles Field Office, managing a diverse staff of federal agents in the successful completion of complex audits and investigations. These involved a wide spectrum of federal and corporate crimes such as fraud, waste and abuse, collusion, misconduct of office, conflicts of interest, and improper financial and business practices. After 21 years of federal service, Ken worked for Siemens Mexico heading up Compliance Investigations in Central and South America. He also worked as Head of Corporate Investigations for Corning Inc. and Senior Compliance Manager for Amgen Pharmaceuticals covering the Middle East, Asia and Australia.
Ken offers a unique balance of knowledge of policies and procedures regarding regulations, compliance,statutes, laws, and standards applicable to the conduct of audits and investigations with considerable management and problem solving experience in the public and private sectors.
As Senior Fraud Investigator, Ken has just completed a consulting assignment in West and Central Africa for Save the Children International where he conducted serious case investigations and risk assessments.
LE MOYNE COLLEGE
BA, Modern Languages
STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK AT STONY BROOK
MA, Liberal Studies
THUNDERBIRD SCHOOL OF GLOBAL MANAGEMENT
MBA, Business Administration
• Certified International Credit Analyst