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Oil-for-food sleuth Hydoski hits the corporate fraud beat

In his more than three decades as an investigator, Frank Hydoski has hunted down the assets of Holocaust victims and probed alleged kickbacks in the multibillion-dollar United Nations oil-for-food program in Iraq.

In his more than three decades as an investigator, Frank Hydoski has hunted down the assets of Holocaust victims and probed alleged kickbacks in the multibillion-dollar United Nations oil-for-food program in Iraq. After assignments like those, getting to the bottom of corporate fraud should be a snap. That's what Deloitte Financial Advisory Services, a subsidiary of auditing firm Deloitte & Touche USA, was banking on when it hired Hydoski last month.

Hydoski, 62, is known for using sophisticated technology to analyze data collected in complex investigations, and Deloitte expects him to bring that approach to its forensic accounting assignments, which often involve detecting and reconstructing corporate fraud for shareholders and directors. Hydoski will be based in New York.

"I will help them figure out how to be more pro-active," says Hydoski, who early in his career founded and ran the forensic technology group at PricewaterhouseCoopers. More recently, he led the multinational team that sought to recover Holocaust victims' assets from various Swiss banks and served as chief of forensics for the independent committee that investigated the oil-for-food program.

Hydoski never formally studied accounting or computers. After earning his undergraduate degree from San Diego State University, he obtained a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Chicago. That training has given him the feel for human behavior that is as essential to tackling a complex investigation as are the most advanced computer systems.

He explains, "I learned very early on that you can use databases and spreadsheets to analyze data, but you always need a level of intuition as well."