Mark Nigrini

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Mark Nigrini
Photo of Mark Nigrini.jpg
Cape Town, South Africa
CitizenshipUnited States of America
Alma materUniversity of Cincinnati (PhD)
University of Stellenbosch (M.B.A.)
University of Cape Town B.Com (Hons)
OccupationAssociate Professor of Accounting at West Virginia University
Known forPublications related to Benford's Law
AwardsJournal of Accountancy, Lawler Award 2014

Mark J. Nigrini, born in Cape Town, South Africa,[1] is an Associate Professor of Accounting at the College of Business and Economics at West Virginia University in Morgantown in the US state of West Virginia.[1] Nigrini is best known for his work on using Benford's Law as an auditing and accounting tool to detect anomalies in company data.[2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11] He is the author of Forensic Analytics[12][13] and Forensic Analytics Second Edition [14] which describes data analytics tests designed to detect fraud, errors, estimates, and biases in financial data. He is also the author of Benford's Law.[15] Benford's Law gives the expected patterns of the digits in tabulated data and it has been used by auditors and scientists to detect anomalies in tabulated data.[1]

Nigrini serves on the Executive Editorial Board of the International Journal of Disclosure and Governance [16] and also of the Journal of Forensic & Investigative Accounting.[17]

Nigrini's forensic work has been referenced in the national media including The Financial Times,[18] The New York Times,[19] The Wall Street Journal,[20][21]The Globe and Mail,[22] and New Scientist.[23] His work has also been featured in foreign language publications such as Der Spiegel.[24] His radio interviews have included the BBC in London, and NPR[25] in the United States. His television interviews have included appearances on NBC's Extra and The Investigation Discovery Channel for their series on Evil Twins.[1] A recent interview filmed in Ottawa, Ontario in December, 2019 for the Audit Informer addressed some advanced aspects of Benford's Law.[26] Nigrini is the recipient of the West Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants' Outstanding Educator Award for 2020.[27]

In October 2013 Nigrini delivered the prestigious Sufrin Lectureship in Accounting at the University at Buffalo.[28][29] In April 2014 Nigrini presented a pre-conference workshop in Palm Springs, California at the annual conference of the National Association of Purchasing Card Professionals on using Forensic Analytics to detect purchasing card fraud, errors, waste and abuse.[30] He also presented a keynote talk on Benford's Law at the same conference.[31] In June 2014 he presented a pre-conference workshop in San Antonio, Texas at the annual global conference of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners on Benford's Law and Analytical Fraud Detection Techniques.[32] In October, 2018 he presented two break-out sessions and one general session at the 27th Annual Conference of the International Association of Airline Internal Auditors held in Panama City, Panama.[33] Nigrini, along with Arno Berger, Theodore Hill[34], and Steven Miller[35], were keynote speakers at the Benford's Law Conference organized by the European Union (Stresa, Italy, 10-12 July, 2019).[36]

In August 2014 Nigrini published an article, Lessons from an $8 million fraud, with Nathan J. Mueller who stole $8.45 million from his employer, an insurance company, over a four-year period.[37] In the article Mueller describes his fraud scheme, how he explained his newfound wealth in the form of expensive cars, watches, nightlife entertainment, and Las Vegas gambling trips, to his wife and friends, and ultimately how he was caught. Mueller served his sentence at Federal Prison Camp, Duluth, a minimum security federal prison. He was released on February 27, 2015.[38] In the article Nigrini reviews the preventive and detective anti-fraud measures that could have detected the multimillion-dollar fraud long before it was detected, quite by chance, after four years. The Journal of Accountancy is the flagship publication of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. In August, 2015 the Journal of Accountancy announced that Nigrini and Mueller had won the prestigious Lawler Prize for the best article in 2014.[39]

Nigrini has a B.Com (Hons) degree from the University of Cape Town, an MBA degree from the University of Stellenbosch, and a PhD degree from the University of Cincinnati.[1] In addition to his academic credentials, Nigrini passed the Chartered Accountant (South Africa) exam in 1981 and his early accounting career included time with Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co. (now KPMG) and as a divisional accountant.[1] Nigrini has served as an expert witness and has done consulting engagements for large international organisations[40] and government departments at the state level.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Accounting Directory: Mark Nigrini, Ph.D", West Virginia University College of Business and Economics, West Virginia University, retrieved 13 May 2019
  2. ^ "Benford's Law: There's something to the numbers". Archived from the original on 3 September 2014. Retrieved 30 August 2014.
  3. ^ "Math Theory Offers Way to Detect Cooked Books by John Allen Paulos". 28 April 2007. Retrieved 30 August 2014.
  4. ^ "Benford's Law: How a Simple Misconception can Trip up a Fraudster and How a Savvy CFE Can Spot It". Retrieved 30 August 2014.
  5. ^ "Dr. Mark Nigrini to present at ISACA Toronto Seminar". Archived from the original on 4 September 2014. Retrieved 30 August 2014.
  6. ^ "Benford's Law Made Easy". Retrieved 8 September 2014.
  7. ^ "Thinking about tricking the tax man: Beware the long arm of Benford's Law". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 8 September 2014.
  8. ^ "When Using Math to Catch Crooks, You Can't Jump to Conclusions". The Wall Street Journal: The Numbers. 6 December 2014. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
  9. ^ "Benford's Law as a Risk Analytics Tool". Retrieved 8 February 2015.
  10. ^ Nigrini, Mark J. (2015). "Persistent Patterns in Stock Returns, Stock Volumes, and Accounting Data in the U.S. Capital Markets". Journal of Accounting, Auditing & Finance. 30 (4): 541–557. doi:10.1177/0148558X15584051.
  11. ^ Nigrini, Mark J. (2016). "The Implications of the Similarity Between Fraud Numbers and the Numbers in Financial Accounting Textbooks and Test Banks". Journal of Forensic Accounting Research. 1 (1): A1–A26. doi:10.2308/jfar-51465.
  12. ^ Mark J. Nigrini (June 2011). Forensic Analytics: Methods and Techniques for Forensic Accounting Investigations. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons Inc. ISBN 978-0-470-89046-2.
  13. ^ "Forensic Analytics book review". Retrieved 30 August 2014.
  14. ^ Mark J. Nigrini (May 2020). Forensic Analytics: Methods and Techniques for Forensic Accounting Investigations (Second Edition). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons Inc. ISBN 978-1-119-58576-3. Retrieved 31 May 2020.
  15. ^ Mark J. Nigrini (2012). Benford's Law: Applications for Forensic Accounting, Auditing, and Fraud Detection. John Wiley & Sons. p. 330. ISBN 978-1-118-15285-0.
  16. ^ "International Journal of Disclosure and Governance-Editors". Retrieved 28 August 2014.
  17. ^ "Journal of Forensic & Investigative Accounting-Editorial Advisory Board". Retrieved 28 August 2014.
  18. ^ "Your number's up (login required)". Retrieved 30 August 2014.
  19. ^ Browne, Malcolm W. (4 August 1998). "Following Benford's Law or Looking Out for No. 1". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
  20. ^ "Statistical Sleuthing on the Iran Election". The Wall Street Journal. July 2009. Retrieved 30 August 2014.
  21. ^ "Accountants Increasingly Use Data Analysis to Catch Fraud". The Wall Street Journal: The Numbers. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
  22. ^ "Benford's Law: a useful, but imperfect, fraud-catcher". Retrieved 27 August 2014.
  23. ^ "The Power of One (subscription required)". Retrieved 29 August 2014.
  24. ^ "Weiter Weg zur Zwei (further away for two)". Der Spiegel (47). 16 November 1998. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
  25. ^ "RadioLab: From Benford to Erdos". Retrieved 27 August 2014.
  26. ^ "A Deeper Dive into Benford's Law". Retrieved 31 May 2020.
  27. ^ "WVSCPA Award Descriptions & Award Winners" (PDF). Retrieved 22 June 2020.
  28. ^ "Sufrin Lectureship in Accounting 2013". Retrieved 29 August 2014.
  29. ^ "Forensic Accounting expert to speak at UB". Archived from the original on 3 September 2014. Retrieved 30 August 2014.
  30. ^ "2014 Pre-Conference Workshop". Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  31. ^ "Annual Conference a Hit in California". Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  32. ^ "ACFE Pre-Conference Sessions". Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  33. ^ "2018 IAAIA Conference overview". Retrieved 26 November 2018.
  34. ^ "Ted Hill's Home Page". Retrieved 13 May 2019.
  35. ^ "Mathematics & Statistics Faculty". Retrieved 13 May 2019.
  36. ^ "Conference on Benford's Law". Retrieved 31 May 2020.
  37. ^ Nigrini, Mark J. (August 2014). "Lessons from an $8 million fraud". Journal of Accountancy.
  38. ^ "Bureau of Prisons, Inmate Locator". Retrieved 4 October 2015.
  39. ^ "Journal of Accountancy Lawler Award winners". June 2015. Retrieved 4 October 2015.
  40. ^ "CaseWare IDEA Releases Highly Anticipated IDEA Version Nine". Archived from the original on 13 September 2013. Retrieved 28 August 2014.

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