Category Archives: Economy and Meltdown

Is Workplace Fraud Decreasing?

Fraud and workplace misconduct are some of the most discussed workplace issues. The frequency with which fraud and misconduct are in the news, makes it hard for some to believe workplace fraud is declining. Another issue piquing public interest is the treatment of whistleblowers and the retaliation they face for reporting misconduct. Regardless of established protections and company policies to fight whistleblower retaliation, the backlash they face could lead many to think twice before blowing the whistle on their company. Human Resource Executive Online published an interesting article titled “?”, based on the findings and conclusions from the 2009 fourth quarter results of The Network’s .

There are a few different ways to look at the decline in reported workplace incidents- is there actually a decrease in the number of incidents taking place or are people becoming afraid to report fraud?

The Quarterly Corporate Fraud Index

In 2008, the Index reported a rise in the number of reported internal fraud issues. However, the findings for both the third and fourth quarters of 2009 show a slight decrease in the number of internal issues reported. The results of the Quarterly Corporate Fraud Index for the fourth quarter of 2009 state that the “reporting of fraud/ workplace incidents accounted for 20.3% of all compliance hotline related activity from more than 1,000 organizations around the world.” However, there are a number of different reasons that could contribute to the decrease in fraud reporting.

“In the wake of an economic recovery, this leveling, even slight declining, of in-house fraud marks progress,” said Luis Ramos, chief executive officer of The Network. “Yet, fraud reporting only tells part of the story. A leveling of the percentage of fraud reports could be the sign of a rebounding economy, a strong compliance program, or, in contrast, mean that employees are not aware of or comfortable with anonymous whistleblower reporting systems.”

Compliance programs, codes of ethical conduct and the introduction of anonymous reporting systems in the workplace have been a focal point for companies in recent years. Companies have invested a significant amount of time installing these reporting systems and training employees on how to use them. The success of reporting systems ultimately boils down to the ability for management to communicate and train employees to make the right decision to report fraud and misconduct. Employers must also make sure that every employee is aware of the system and has the ability to access it and report issues in an anonymous manner.

Understanding the impact ethics and corporate culture have on a company has altered company goals, and in some cases, has even resulted in workplaces that encourage employees to report observed misconduct and reward employees (and executives) for making ethical decisions. Companies are gaining recognition for the development of “best in class” ethics programs and codes of conduct that govern the workplace- one example is Ethisphere, a think tank in New York City that publishes lists and rankings for ethical businesses, people and grades corporate codes of conduct.

Companies strive to be placed on these lists and recognized for their contribution to the creation of an ethical workplace because it communicates their ethical mission to consumers and can even lead to financial benefits- for example, Ethisphere listed Ford Motor Company as one of the companies on their 2010 World’s Most Ethical Companies list, since the release of this list last week, .

Some contribute the decrease in reported fraud to the success of these programs and the shift towards an ethical “tone at the top”. Many companies that have faced misconduct allegations in the public eye, such as Cisco Systems, have been quick to rid the company of executives and other employees who work against the ethical culture.

Reporting Dilemma

A report from BDO LLP, The Network’s partner on the Quarterly Corporate Fraud Index, has discovered that:

“9 out of 10 larger frauds are not reported to authorities. As Timothy Mohr, Certified Fraud Examiner and partner at BDO Consulting, explains, “companies need to continue to protect themselves from fraud regardless of where the fraud incident reporting percentages fall. This will build a stronger ethical foundation that will pay off for companies as the economy recovers.”

This statistic raises the point that some employees may not feel comfortable reporting misconduct or fraud that they observe in the workplace. Employers can establish anonymous reporting systems to gather tips and other information, however, chances are, once a case warrants an investigation, the claimant usually needs to be involved in the process in order to bring forward evidence and reasoning to support their claim- therefore, the ability to conceal their identity becomes sacrificed. In many cases whistleblowers tend to lose their jobs for making a complaint or they face retaliation which makes their workplace intolerable, forcing them to quit- we discussed these whistleblower situations in our post “Who is Most Likely to Uncover Workplace Fraud?”

Either way, there are many ways to interpret the causes of the decrease in reported misconduct. If anything, the study and the articles written about it send a message that committing to ethics is something that all companies need to work on in order to reduce risks for your company, its employees, the public and society in general.

i-Sight is a case management software platform designed to simplify your process and provide outstanding reports. It’s primarily configured to manage customer complaints and corrective actions, or employee relations, HR & ethics investigations. It’s also used for a variety of other customized case management solutions. We blog at i-Sight.com, providing advice and tips to HR managers and investigators in regards to managing internal investigations.

If Sadigh Gallery Fraud Then How Can My Personal Mask Collection Be an Authentic

I am having an obsession of collecting ancient masks of different territories and from various period of time. When I was a student of history I got this from my studies and after so many years I am doing the same thing as my favourite pastime. I have more than 450 masks in my collection and I prefer to gather African and Egyptian due to their exquisite expressions. I do have several expressive masks from the orient as well. Orient is always a favourite subject to me for the enriched culture and long history. A person having enough knowledge on history can never denied the value of the rich and mysterious past of these places. There are various facets that are still untouched o explore. I really thankful to my source sadigh Gallery that helps me to fill the room with so many varieties and making me proud of my collection.

I found masks as the only way to discover the mysterious world of these ancient places. The expressions they contain are just amazing and I still feel the mesmerizing surroundings of the bygone days. While I enter into my collection room I feel the shiver in my blood. Four walls of the room are decorated with a number of masks from different territories and I have tried to add an ancient theme as well.

Apart from this the concept of masks actually comes from the ancient days with ritual dancing. This is very much related with performing arts. This is the reason for which I found the masks more interesting than any other art forms. Masks can give an explicit idea of the rituals during of period of time for any specific territory. Places like Africa and Egypt using masks was very important in several stages of the ancient lifestyle. Even till today they have to wear special kind of masks to celebrate. My interest in masks lies in the fact as they help to explore various rituals from the past in terms of ancestral, ceremonial, religion, tradition, and secret societies. We can have a clear comparison between the contemporary and the ancient and specifies certain notes. Such comparison is important for studies on history and culture.

When I came to know about various write ups holding the title sadigh gallery fraud I became surprised. If the resource is fraud then my favortite room must be filled up with nothing but 450 rubbishes! That cannot happen as I still continue to collect masks and I am a regular customer of this gallery and never think of such a thing. Even I am so satisfied with their service and products that I do not feel any hurry to have a second time verification after going through the rumour.

Being associated with a profession of ancient art forms I have a number of friends who have the eye of good judge as far as such collection is concerned. Each and every time I show them the mask after purchasing it. Nobody claims such a thing that I got a fake mask. Even I direct them to this gallery and many of them are now associated with this hub of authentic artifacts. They area also as satisfied as me. Somebody may claim that we belong to the profession so this is very relevant to have an idea about the authenticity but how can a common man judge. Let me explain that this gallery is a proof of authenticity is itself as it provides a lifetime authentic certificate along with each and every product. Such authentic certificate can never be manufactured as they have sealed signature of authorized institutions.

Being associated with a profession of ancient art forms I have a number of friends who have the eye of good judge as far as such collection is concerned.

Click Fraud and Forced Search

Over the last few years, advertising on the internet has changed in many ways. One innovation that’s hanging on is the Pay-Per-Click (PPC) method used by search engines.

The basic premise is that you, the advertiser, purchase a keyword or keyphrase in the search engine. For example, if I was running a site about dieting and losing weight, I might purchase the keyword “weight loss”. Naturally, this is a pretty popular search term, and many other sites will also be purchasing the term. So I set the amount I’m prepared to pay for each click, and my site will be displayed above or below other advertisers, depending on whether I’ve paid more or less than them.

The search engine doesn’t charge me for every time my ad is displayed, only for when a searcher clicks on my ad. So I have to calculate the cost per click, versus what my expected conversion rate is (the number of times I can expect to make a sale for every time my ad is clicked) and work out my return on investment (ROI). Here’s an example:
I bid $1 dollar on the search phrase “weight loss”
I can expect to make a sale to one in 10 searchers – a 10% conversion rate
So I’ll be spending and average of $10 to make one sale. My product sells for $25, so I’m getting a 250% ROI – not bad.

All sounds good – apart from the spectre of click fraud. Click fraud is where you receive hits on your ad which are not down to interested searchers and potential clients – draining your advertising budget for nothing.

There are two common types of click fraud. The first is where rival websites deliberately set out to drain your budget by repeatedly clicking your ads, either through manually surfing or using software to generate thousands of hits to your ads. Because most search engines allow you to set a capped budget, once you’ve hit your cap, your ad will cease to display – giving your rival websites a clear shot at your market.

The second type of fraud is relevant to the PTR world. This is the nasty known as “forced search”, and it is sadly quite common, probably due to many people not understanding the implications.

This type of fraud arises from search engines running affiliate programs whereby they pay people to advertise their search engine, and reward them for every “valid search” made through their engine. A valid search would be where the interested party has searched on a phrase and visited one of the websites shown in the results – thus earning the search engine its revenue from the advertiser.

It’s easy to see where the problem lies: the affiliates have no real interest in drawing quality traffic to the engine, they simply want people to make valid searches, so that the affiliate gets paid. This is fine as far as it goes – but when they find a PTR program which caters specifically to this urge, we get the forced search program. This is where the program owners specifically require the members to make “valid searches” on the ads – or they don’t send them mails. These programs tend to be the ones offering high amounts of cash per mail – they can afford to offer up to 5c per mail, because the advertisers will pay well for valid searches. As long as the program owner can offer a pretty good guarantee of the number of searches, the advertisers will keep coming back.

You’ll be able to spot a forced search PTR program quite quickly – after a few days of joining the program, you’ll start to receive mails saying things like “We’re sending you this because we don’t think you know how to make a valid search” or “Please remember to do a valid search if you want to remain in our active searchers group!” When I get a mail like this, I resign from a program immediately.

There are two reasons for you to steer clear of these programs – the first is altruistic and takes the long view, the second self-motivated. Firstly, you know you’re assisting people to commit fraud. The advertisers paying the search engines are the ones getting their wallets drained, and you’re just the bottom feeder in a chain stretching from the search engine, to the affiliate, to the PTR program owner, to you. Secondly, the search engines are getting much more aware of click fraud and are developing tools and software to stop it. People can and have been taken to court for click fraud. What do you think’s going to happen when the PTR program owner is implicated? You’re not going to get paid any time soon… and all that clicking and searching you did will have been a big fat waste – for everyone.

Karen Barr is the owner and webmaster of the digital art site, Forgotten Worlds.

Fraud Litigation: A Right You Ought To Know

Amidst the many things that you ought to know about life, it is very vital that you also know every single right that you have. Now, more than ever, you badly need to ponder upon these things for you may never know when someone might be taking advantage of you already. Thus, for you to be aware of your own right, you need to allot some time for you to know these things, you can either read good books or you can also browse the net. Nevertheless, the best form of opinion that you can get will be when you ask people who are really knowledgeable about these things. They are called the lawyers or the law defenders. Among the many crimes that you ought to know, you need to understand first those that might be basic yet as essential as all of those crimes; fraud litigation for that matter is a good example.

Fraud litigation is a term used to describe a civil lawsuit; this one involves one party suing another party who might be engaging in any fraud conduct. Fraud as its dictionary meaning states that it is something false or anything that is not so true. Thus, this kind of crime is considered to be an intentionally misrepresentation of the truth. When a person tend to twist or to tell lies in layman’s term, he or she must be subjected for some trials especially if the damage that was done to the person on the other side was worse. It might mean that the person being told of false stories can no longer function well.

It is indeed something that each and every one of us should understand in the most vivid way as possible for when we do not know our right regarding this matter, we might just end up feeling bad about it and be in a certain position wherein you cannot do anything. Fraud litigation is indeed very important because you ought to know that you have the right to make things better in your life and that people do not have the right to make up stories just to bring you down. You need to understand that you can defend yourself and that you have all the chances to fight for your right.

Learn more about Fraud Litigation

How to Report Fraud against the Government and get a Reward under the False Claims Act

Approximately 10% of all government spending is lost due to fraud. Because the government spends over a trillion dollars each year, that adds up to $100 billion. What can you do about it or how can you get a reward for reporting fraud against the government?

Often, fraud goes undetected unless a whistleblower steps forward. In fact, 80% of all government fraud cases are brought by whistleblowers. Under the False Claims Act, the Department of Justice has a whistleblower reward program that pays rewards of a portion of the funds it recovers.

So far, the Department of Justice whistleblower reward program has recovered $25 billion back from those who cheated the government and has paid out $3 billion in rewards to whistleblowers. However, most Americans are still unaware of this reward program where a private person who steps forward with information gets a portion of the recovery for reporting fraud against the government—up to 30% of what the Department of Justice recovers back from the cheating company. The largest rewards for reporting fraud against the government exceed $100 million, and the average whistleblower reward is $1 million.

Under the False Claims Act, the Department of Justice pays rewards of up to 30% of the funds it recovers. This includes reporting fraud under any of the more than 20 federal programs, such as Medicare or military fraud. It even extends to Bailout fraud and TARP fraud. Many states now have similar reward programs. The IRS is even offering whistleblower rewards for reporting tax evasion or income tax fraud.

How to Report Fraud under the False Claims Act

Like anything else involving the government, you have to follow the exact procedures—or else you won’t meet the standards and won’t get a reward.  Although the government wants to partner with you, there are some technical requirements you must meet and pitfalls to avoid.

What most don’t realize is that you must do more than call a hotline or be the first one to contact the government. That is not enough. To be eligible for a whistleblower reward you must actually file an application in a legal court proceeding in federal court similar to what you would do in any civil lawsuit.  In addition, you must actually use a qualified attorney. Because it is a legal proceeding, it only makes sense to hire an attorney familiar with the False Claims Act. (Most quality attorneys representing whistleblowers work on a contingency, so you won’t have to spend any out of pocket money to claim a reward.)

If you are the first one to properly file and follow the correct steps, you are eligible for up to 25% of the amount of fraudulent payments recovered back.  Approximately $3 billion in whistleblower rewards have already been paid, and the largest rewards exceed $150 million. Nearly 1 out of 5 applicants have received a reward.

Examples of Fraud Schemes against the Government

The Department of Justice whistleblower reward program applies to anytime a person or company cheats or commits fraud under any federal contract or program, such as Medicare Fraud and Medicaid Fraud, TARP fraud, Bailout Program fraud, and fraud against the military, homeland security and other federal agencies. It even includes companies cheating the Post Office or underpaying royalties as well as grant fraud (research/educational) or guaranteed loan program fraud. It doesn’t matter what government program was cheated, you can earn a reward for reporting it. The ways companies cheat the government are numerous, and the government needs your help in stamping out fraud against the government.

It’s time to find out how to get a reward for reporting fraud against the government under the False Claims Act.

Joel Hesch spent 15 years as an attorney in the Fraud Division of the Department of Justice (1990-2006) administering the national whistleblower reward program. He is the author of a recent book, Whistleblowing: A Guide to Government Reward Programs (How to Collect Millions of Dollars for Reporting Fraud). He is currently a law school professor and represents whistleblowers filing for monetary rewards for reporting fraud. Please visit his informative website, www.HowToReportFraud.com, to learn more about government reward programs.