Judge OKs potentially lethal lawsuit against the world's largest banks

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The biggest banks in the world have admitted to rigging LIBOR, a key interest rate that determines the value of trillions of dollars' worth of assets -- they paid billions in fines as a result. Read the rest

Plagiarism detection app vs Russia's elites: 1-2 fake PhDs discovered every day

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Dissernet, a leaderless collective of Russian scientists and journalists scrapes the doctoral dissertations of Russian elites -- who have been attaining advanced degrees at an unprecedented rate -- runs them through plagiarism detection software to flag probable frauds for human review, and publishes the names of officials who've been caught cheating, one or two every day. Read the rest

Banker implicated in one of history's biggest frauds says boss beat him with a tiny baseball bat

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Jonathan Mathew is one of the bankers at Barclays who participated in the Libor rigging fraud, which cost people all over the world trillions of dollars in higher payments on mortgages, government bonds, student loans, and other assets totalling $350 trillion. Read the rest

Deep Insert skimmers: undetectable, disposable short-lived ATM skimmers

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NCR reports in-the-wild sightings of "deep skimmers" (tiny, disposable card-skimmers that run on watch batteries and use crude radios to transmit to a nearby base-station) on ATMs around the world: "Greece, Ireland, Italy, Switzerland, Sweden, Bulgaria, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States." Read the rest

Fantasy accounting: how the biggest companies in America turn real losses into paper profits

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Lax enforcement from the SEC has allowed the biggest companies in America -- 90 percent of the companies in the S&P 500, led by the faltering energy sector -- to ignore the "Generally Accepted Accounting Principles" (GAAP) in presenting their financial information to investors, manufacturing nonexistent profits in quarters where they suffer punishing losses. Read the rest

Lottery security director accused of hacking random-number generator to rig prizes

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Eddie Tipton, the 51-year-old former security director of the US Multi-State Lottery Association, was convicted last year of hacking a random number generator to fix a $16.5 million lottery prize in Iowa. Now it looks like he could have pulled the same trick Colorado, Wisconsin, Oklahoma and Kansas, too. Tipton is in Texas, free on bond pending an appeal, and fighting extradition charges.

Wikipedia's description of how Tipton hacked the random number generator reads like the script from a crime drama:

Hot Lotto draws are conducted using a random number generator running on a computer in MUSL's Des Moines facility. The computer is in a "locked glass-walled room accessible only by two people at a time and then only on camera", and is not connected to the internet or any other networks. Tipton was let into the room on November 20, 2010 to manually adjust the time on the draw computer to reflect daylight saving time; it was alleged that while Tipton was in the room, he used a USB flash drive to install self-destructing malware on the random number generator computer, presumably to rig a draw. Tipton's co-workers described him as having been "obsessed" with rootkits at the time. It was also noted that on that day, security cameras were configured to record only for "roughly one second per minute," a change the prosecutors believed was made to prevent anything suspicious from being recorded.

Read the rest

Goldman Sachs will pay $5B for fraudulent sales of toxic debt, no one will go to jail

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No one at Goldman Sachs will go to jail despite the company's world-destroying, multi-billion-dollar frauds that culminated in its unloading billions' worth of worthless mortgage-backed securities on its customers just before the crash. Read the rest

Phishers trick Mattel into transferring $3M to a Chinese bank

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Last spring, in the chaos following the firing of Mattel's CEO (who presided over a disastrous slide in Barbie sales), a Mattel finance executive got an email from his new boss, replacement CEO Christopher Sinclair, ordering the transfer of $3 million to a new Chinese supplier. Read the rest

Tailender

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A short story about self-satisfaction, nerdcrime, and the 2008 economic meltdown. [5 min read]

Crimefighting for fun and profit: data-mining Medicare fraud and likely whistleblowers

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John Mininno is an ex-malpractice lawyer who raised money from a Wall Street angel and founded the National Healthcare Analysis Group, which uses public data sources to uncover Medicare fraud, then does further data-mining to predict which current or ex-employees will turn whistleblower, cold calls them, and splits the bounty the government offers for whistleblowing with them. Read the rest

Phishers make off with W2 tax forms for several thousand Seagate employees

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Seagate has emailed its employees and ex-employees to warn them that someone in the company sent their W2 tax data to a criminal who pulled off a successful phishing fraud. Read the rest

Leaked memos suggest Volkswagen's CEO knew about diesel cheating in 2014

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German newspaper Bild am Sonntag received leaked internal Volkswagen memos and emails that suggest that then-CEO Martin Winterkorn and his executive team were informed in 2014 of the lethal Dieselgate scam the company had perpetrated, and decided to stall and obfuscate to avoid penalties for emitting titanic amounts of the toxic NOX. Read the rest

Superb investigative report on the fake locksmith scam

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If you've ever locked yourself out of your home and googled for a locksmith, you've seen that it's virtually impossible to reach a real local locksmith. Read the rest

Kickstarting a tool to block robocalls and tie up scammers

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Roger Anderson, a telephony expert, developed the Jolly Roger Telephone Company to block and madden robocallers. Read the rest

In wake of Trump slump, fans nurse conspiracy theories

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You knew it would happen: Trump barely beating Rubio for second place in the Iowa Republican Caucus means that something must be up. The Washington Post reports on the conspiracy theories emerging from Cruz's unexpected victory. Top of the list: Microsoft, a major Rubio donor.

theorists pointed to failures of the Microsoft system during the night as evidence that something was funky. Because if Microsoft wanted to turn a 10 into a 20 on behalf of its favored candidate, it would need to shut down the system to do so.

By far the weirdest part of the conspiracy theory, though, is that Rubio still came in third. Rubio was predicted to come in third; Rubio came in third by less than was predicted. The theory appears to be that Microsoft switched votes from Trump to Rubio to make Trump not come in first -- but then why does that help Microsoft if they want Rubio to win? "Momentum," colorful eggs on Twitter reply, willfully ignoring that Rubio had momentum before Microsoft theoretically intervened.

The #MicrosoftRubioFraud hastag is a blast. Read the rest

Elizabeth Warren's new 1%: the percentage of fraudulent profits companies pay in fines

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In Rigged Justice: 2016 How Weak Enforcement Lets Corporate Offenders Off Easy, a 12-page booklet, Senator Elizabeth Warren documents corporations that were caught undertaking grossly fraudulent, highly profitable actions, and were made to pay a trivial fraction of those profits in fines -- fines become a part of the cost of doing business, not a deterrent to criminal behavior. Read the rest

The surveillance business model goes to war against the FTC

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You may have noticed a surge of articles criticizing the Federal Trade Commission for its innovation-stifling, headline-chasing, out-of-control attacks on business. The timing of these articles, op-eds and jeremiads isn't an accident. Read the rest

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