Join and connect with industry professionals for unique networking opportunities near you


Join and connect with industry professionals for unique networking opportunities near you

The ACFCS Washington D.C. Chapter is your direct link to the national organization. By joining our Chapter, you not only receive the benefit of both local and national membership, but you gain an entire network of individuals looking to enhance their financial crime careers.
Through education, training, certification and networking, the Washington D.C. Chapter is helping to expand the global reach of ACFCS. Your membership will connect you with financial crime professionals locally and globally who wish to stay abreast of continuously changing financial crime trends and improve results in compliance, investigations and enforcement.


‘’The Washington, D.C. Chapter of ACFCS exists to increase access to practical tools, knowledge, and emerging trends to help industry professionals improve results in financial crime detection and prevention. The Chapter promotes ACFCS as a platform for collaboration between public and private financial crime industry specialists to facilitate better financial crime compliance, investigations and enforcement. By sponsoring educational programs and hosting a wide range of meetings and events of local interest featuring speakers from private sector and financial regulatory and enforcement agencies, the Chapter offers unique career development and professional networking for its members in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.”


“To create a safe environment based on transparency and trust to inspire the community how to build a data driven and ethical society and prevent Financial Economic Crime.”
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Beth Peter


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Beth Peter (Co-Chair) is the Senior Bank Secrecy Act Anti-Money Laundering Analyst (BSA AML) Team Lead / Financial Crimes Analyst for the United States Postal Service (USPS) Headquarters. She has served in various capacities with the USPS for more than 33 years. Beth has 15 years+ experience in USPS Field Operations, 10+ years of experience in Financial Audit / Compliance and 6+ years with BSA Compliance. She currently holds the designations of Certified Financial Crimes Specialist (CFCS) and Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist (CAMS).

Beth earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Ashford University where she graduated with honors to include Magna Cum Laude, Alpha Sigma Lambda, International Golden Key Honor Societies. In 2018, Beth was the Alumni Commencement Guest Speaker for Ashford University in San Diego, CA. In September 2020, Beth was presented Ashford University Notable Alumni Recognition.

Bruce Zagaris Headshot

Toni Gillich


Bruce Zagaris Headshot

Bruce Zagaris

Programming Director

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Bruce Zagaris (Programming Director) is a partner in the Washington, D.C. firm of Berliner, Corcoran & Rowe LLP. Mr. Zagaris’ practice includes tax controversy work, including representing individuals and entities in offshore voluntary disclosure applications, audits, and criminal tax investigations, such as exchange of information and evidence gathering. He has also represented many governments and international organizations. The work has included negotiating tax treaties, advice on FATCA IGAs, bilateral investment treaties, mutual assistance in criminal matters treaties, and proposing and drafting financial products to attract investment. Mr. Zagaris appears regularly as an expert witness in international tax, financial regulatory, and money laundering cases. He has authored and edited six books and many law review and other articles and frequently lectures. He has served as an Adjunct Professor at several law schools in and outside the U.S. This semester he is an adjunct professor, teaching international white-collar crime in the LLM on Wealth and Risk Management at Texas A&M Law Faculty. His practice has involved advising clients in Latin America, especially Brazil, and the Caribbean.

His practice involves international evidence gathering, extraterritorial jurisdiction, extradition and INTERPOL, prisoner transfer matters, and advice on the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). He has been a registered agent under FARA since 1981.

Since 1985, he has served as editor-in-chief of the International Enforcement Law Reporter (www.ielr.com), a weekly and monthly journal on international enforcement law.

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Rick Cadenas

Programming Director

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Karen Schnell

Communications Director

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Karen Schnell (Communications Director) is a Senior Director in FTI Consulting’s Financial Services practice and is based in Washington, DC. She has more than 25 years of experience advising US and foreign clients on risk management, compliance, operations, and governance. Her skills and expertise range from high-level strategic planning to tactical, process workflow development and improvement. She is skilled in deep-dive reviews for transaction lookbacks associated with potential financial crimes, as well as analyzing and improving structural gaps such as governance weaknesses or information system vulnerabilities.

As a risk management specialist, Ms. Schnell has evaluated the internal controls of financial institutions, ranging in size from large, multinational banks to small, domestic credit unions, and she has developed programs to strengthen their controls and processes. She has conducted risk reviews of IT programs and developed recommendations to address identified weaknesses. For example, she conducted the risk analysis for a payments process that transmits $89 billion per day and identified weaknesses that could have resulted in overspending by $3 million per annum. For a client that wanted to introduce a new payments option, Ms. Schnell conducted a survey of global affiliates to assess their security awareness and identify security concerns and weaknesses associated with instituting the new product; she then made recommendations to ensure a smooth product rollout. Recently she conducted an AML transaction lookback and a sanctions review for an international banking entity to address regulatory concerns.

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Nicolas Cardillo

Secretary and Treasurer

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Nicolas Cardillo (Secretary and Treasurer) is a Partner and Chief Operating Officer of Abaxx Associates, LLC, a professional services firm based in Northern Virginia. Mr. Cardillo, a Certified Financial Crimes Specialist (CFCS), supports his clients as expert advisor on financial crimes investigations and management and data consultant. Mr. Cardillo leverages his vast experience in the private sector as well as with the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Intelligence and Analysis, where he supported the formulation of policy and execution of Treasury authorities by providing expert analysis and intelligence production on international sanctions and other key national security threats, to help his clients make authoritative business and mission decisions.

Mr. Cardillo earned a Bachelor of Arts in Government from The College of William and Mary in 2008 and a Master’s of Science in Applied Intelligence from Mercyhurst University in 2013.

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Eric Scofield

Chapter Advisor

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Eric Scofield (Chapter Advisor) is a Partner and CEO of Abaxx Associates, LLC, a professional services firm based in northern Virginia where he serves as an expert advisor, management, and data consultant to his clients. Mr. Scofield’s core focus is assisting clients to leverage financial data and intelligence in support of their domestic and international financial investigations, enforcement, analysis, and policy missions. Through public and private sector experience he has helped evaluate the financial underpinnings of national security threats, the impact of U.S. targeted financial measures, and assess vulnerabilities and tactics used by illicit financial networks. During his time as a U.S. Treasury officer, he acted as an important liaison channel between policymakers and the greater U.S. national security infrastructure.

He offers specific expertise in supporting anti-money laundering and financial crimes investigations, financial sanctions policy and enforcement, and combatting terrorism financing. His clients recognize him for his strong technical depth in sanctions analysis and enforcement and his ability to manage international financial intelligence strategies. Mr. Scofield has a degree in Systems & Information Engineering, dual MBA and MSBA graduate degrees, CFCS and PMP certifications, and published research on anonymous online financial transactions.

Abaxx is a proud member of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA) Financial Threats Council which works to strengthen public-private cooperation and information sharing regarding the broad range of threats faced by government, the financial services sector, and other industries, which include cyber security, money laundering, terrorist finance, transnational organized crime, corruption, and confidence in U.S. and global financial infrastructure. Mr. Scofield supports domestic and international engagements with financial service firms, firms specializing in financial investigations data and software, and a range of U.S. government agencies to include Treasury, FBI, IRS, Department of Justice, and various national security organizations.


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Hdeel Abdelhady

Chapter Advisor

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Hdeel Abdelhady (Chapter Advisor) brings to the table a unique blend of transactional and regulatory/compliance skills honed in independent and large firm practice, and as in-house secondment counsel to U.S. and foreign banks. Noted for her commitment to clients, Hdeel works to understand clients’ business and goals, and takes a strategic, commercially-aware approach to her representation of clients.

Hdeel has acted as lead transactional and regulatory counsel to U.S. and foreign banks, sovereign entities, companies and nonprofits. On their behalf, Hdeel has negotiated, drafted and executed conventional and Islamic finance, corporate, and commercial transactions; advised U.S. and foreign banks, money services businesses, companies, and non-profits on sanctions, anti-corruption, anti-money laundering, and counter-terrorism financing matters, including providing client training and drafting compliance programs; and structured and advised on bespoke investments and transactions combining multiple objectives and legal systems. In addition, Hdeel has represented U.S. and foreign companies in disputes opposite sovereigns and private parties. Her matters have involved the United States, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Europe.

Having handled transactions, compliance matters and disputes, Hdeel understands how transactions are put together, and why they fall apart. She is well-positioned to identify and manage legal and related risk.

Hdeel has since 2004 served as a Professorial Lecturer in Law at The George Washington University Law School, where she currently teaches Regulation of Foreign Access to U.S. Technology and Transactional Islamic Law. She has also taught an American legal skills course for international graduate students from around the world. Hdeel has published extensively. In addition to her MassPoint publications, Hdeel’s writings have been published in, among other publications, the World Bank Legal Review, Butterworths Journal of International Banking and Financial Law, the Sustainable Law and Development Journal, Law360, Reuters, and Ahram Online.

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See What Certified Financial Crime Specialists Are Saying

"The CFCS tests the skills necessary to fight financial crime. It's comprehensive. Passing it should be considered a mark of high achievement, distinguishing qualified experts in this growing specialty area."


(JD, Washington)

"It's a vigorous exam. Anyone passing it should have a great sense of achievement."


(CFCS, Official Superior

de Cumplimiento Cidel

Bank & Trust Inc. Nueva York)

"The exam tests one's ability to apply concepts in practical scenarios. Passing it can be a great asset for professionals in the converging disciplines of financial crime."


(CFCS, Royal Band of

Canada, Montreal)

"The Exam is far-reaching. I love that the questions are scenario based. I recommend it to anyone in the financial crime detection and prevention profession."


(CFCS, CAMS Lead Compliance

Trainer, FINRA, Member Regulation

Training, Washington, DC)

"This certification comes at a very ripe time. Professionals can no longer get away with having siloed knowledge. Compliance is all-encompassing and enterprise-driven."

Director, Global Risk
& Investigation Practice
FTI Consulting, Los Angeles