Fraud & Corruption Around the World

A selection of fraud and corruption news article from around the world. I do suspect that fraud reports are more prevalent from countries where there is greater scrutiny of white collar crimes, of course there are exceptions.  For instance I have spent time in the Dominican Republic, where fraud and corruption are endemic at all levels in this small island country in Latin America (Caribbean) yet you rarely see any reports of such public and private corruption anywhere except the Transparency International or the Economist Intelligence Unit reports.  Impunity leads to censorship and you know how the rest of the story goes. Despite how many people perceive fraud and corruption (White Collar Crimes), it is not a victimless crime.  For proof just look at the strips of poverty that skirt the otherwise ever growing patches of opulence around the city of Santo Domingo. Not very different from any other LatAm city.  The root causes are there in plain site, but life in these impunity laden cities goes on as normal.   

New Zealand‘s ‘Madoff’ jailed after stealing millions to spend on prostitutes http://bit.ly/dgwDhb  

First major banking arrest under fraud Act  http://bit.ly/aB7FMu

Bad debts and fraud drive Bradford & Bingley’s £196m loss  http://bit.ly/duWPIh

British directors arrested in bribery inquiry http://bit.ly/9JfImq  

UPDATE 2-Innospec to pay $40.2 mln to end bribery probes http://bit.ly/9o4ltI

CFO Sink’s Staged Accident Sweep Results in 19 Arrests Statewide http://bit.ly/b7OwSS  

Verdict on China Rio trial on Monday, Australia says http://bit.ly/dxmEqo

Russian bribes nearly tripled despite economic crisis – official report http://bit.ly/alFQPC

Russian officials involved in multimillion-dollar bribery scandal with Daimler http://bit.ly/9Muer2

Ex-IKEA Boss Bares Russia’s ‘Chaotic Reality’ http://bit.ly/aiDZRT

Pfizer Told to Pay $142.1 Million for Neurontin Marketing Fraud http://bit.ly/9606Sa

New Fraud Cases Point to Lapses in Iraq Projects http://nyti.ms/9zY93w

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The International “Hostage Business”

By Francisco Mateo

             “Kidnappings in Mexico have fallen from 1.1 per 100,000 people in 1997 to 0.8 in 2008 — though the number may be increasing again.”  Eurasia Group

The masters of the dark arts have perfected their heartless, dirty craft in Mexico today.  According to experts, Mexico has been invaded by as many gangs of professional kidnappers as the many types of kidnapping they have brought with them or created; a true testament for men’s capacity for evil. As inhumane as it may sound, people are assigned a flexible dollar target number depending on their social-economic status. The following Dateline special “The Desperate Hours” details the story of a family’s ordeal being targeted in rural San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

Learn More Here: “The Desperate Hours”  http://bit.ly/9sBH4M

Kidnapping as we all know are not just a Mexican problem today. Statistics show that  Sub-Saharan and West Africa, including Nigeria, as well as Haiti, Pakistan, Venezuela, Somalia, Afghanistan, and Iraq are also top kidnapping hotspots. How do you stay safe in light of the growing sophistication of these economic terrorist groups of kidnappers?  Remember that the name of the game is situation awareness, just keep in mind that in Mexico even kidnapping experts have their best efforts thwarted; therefore your defense posture needs to be sound.  Have a well thought out plan, abandon fear as a tactic as it would only lead you astray; instead be informed, seek advice from local experts and implement countermeasures according the prevailing kidnapping modus operandi. 

 I’ll leave you with these few bullet points in summary:

  • Kidnappers always look for target of opportunity. 
  • Simple things like changing your routines;
  • Keeping a low profile
  • Having a plan when you detect you’re being followed
  • Keeping in contact a trusted person or family on speed dial on your cell phone; can really go a long way to keep you save. 
  • Criminals thrive on fear, so show confidence and resolve that you would not be made a victim 
  • Above all be reasonable about your actions and decisions and you would move beyond fear

The Name Of the Game is “Situation Awareness”

By Francisco Mateo

 I recently engaged on an interesting discussion on a social network group. The topic happens to be the security precautions, or the lack there of, some very rich VIP’s should take when staying at luxury hotels.  I thought I share this comment with you as we’re all guilty of “false sense of security creep” at one time or another:   

“My assessment of the situation based on reports would basically focus on the fact that the perp created an affinity with the victim along ethnic lines by speaking to them in Spanish; this made the victims lower their guards in a false sense of trust. When the perp later returns to allegedly fix the AC, their guards were all the way down. Against all judgment and when all kinds of bells should’ve went off they opened the door allowing the perp to consummate the well planned robbery.”

 I do not want to focus on the fact that a luxury hotel facilities as this one have a duty to provide proper levels of security to their customers as that would open up another can of worms, but the fact remains that a VIP is viable to lower his/her guards on account that such luxuries surroundings ought to have their security squared away.  For the most part that is true, but their defenses are no match for clever swindlers who planned with ample anticipation.  

Being rich, or perceived as rich, adds a level of risk to your profile during travel http://bit.ly/abvs0q

On Crowd Control and Mozart

I found this article recently while browsing reason.com and it immediately brought me back to Anthony Burgess’ classic novel: “A Clock Work Orange” which portrays society’s failed attempt at modifying deviant behavior through Aversion Therapy. This is not to say Britain is resorting to these gruesome methods to changed perceived deviant behavior, but I thought I mentioned the fact that some or our global cities have been replacing community policing with sophisticated gadgetry.  Perhaps another effect of the far reaching global economic downturn.  Expect to see more of these methods used at mayor cities around the world as police budgets get spread thin.    

 Read more: How Britain is using classical music as a form of social control http://bit.ly/9FT3b1