The movie may be a silly farce about New York cops who stumble upon a Bernie Madoff-like Ponzi scheme that threatens to defraud billions from city workers. But buried in the comedy is a serious point about what really constitutes grand theft these days, a point illustrated over the closing credits by a PowerPoint-like presentation full of jazzy infographics and serious statistics outlining just how much Wall Street and corporate leaders have enriched themselves at the expense of American workers and taxpayers... It's a fascinating sequence, both from a design perspective and from the unlikely prospect of seeing a major corporation (in this case, Sony) release a mass-entertainment movie that also wants to educate moviegoers about the legalized wealth-grab that's benefiting major corporations...
Tag Archives | Fraud
This takes elaborate ruses to new level. Californian Yupeng Deng used uniforms, IDs, basic training exercises, and military parades in a scam tricking Chinese immigrants into believing they had joined a “special forces reserve” of the U.S. military. The New York Times reports:
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To the Chinese immigrants he recruited, Yupeng Deng was known as Supreme Commander. He offered them United States Army uniforms, conducted training exercises on Sundays, led marches in municipal parades and promised a path toward American citizenship.
The uniforms were real, but Mr. Deng’s U.S. Army/Military Special Forces Reserve unit was a sham, the authorities said.
On Wednesday, Mr. Deng, 51, was arraigned in Los Angeles County Court on 13 felony charges related to the fake military operation, which concentrated on Chinese immigrants, eager to become American citizens, in the San Gabriel Valley, east of Los Angeles.
More than 100 immigrants paid upwards of $300 to join the bogus unit, the authorities said, and $120 to renew their memberships each year.
A coin commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks is drawing the ire of consumers and politicians who have learned that the coin may be just a worthless trinket that has no affiliation with the U.S. government and does not benefit the 9/11 Memorial. Katie Smith and John Shughart of Carlisle, Pa., thought they were buying a priceless piece of history. Now, the coin they bought may have not even a cent of value. "I think it's a complete rip-off," says Smith. "It's a scam." The couple called a 1-800 number and ordered a 9/11 Tenth Anniversary Commemorative Coin after seeing a commercial on TV. The commercial claims the coin has "sculptures of the USS New York and the World Trade Center towers, inset with jeweler precision on its obverse, each entirely clad in .999 pure silver actually recovered from beneath the ashes of ground zero."
Jenny McCarthy take note: Britain’s leading medical journal has declared that Andrew Wakefield’s discredited 1998 autism study was not merely riddled with errors, but was a case of deliberate, “elaborate fraud.” CNN reports:
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A now-retracted British study that linked autism to childhood vaccines was an “elaborate fraud” that has done long-lasting damage to public health, a leading medical publication reported Wednesday.
An investigation published by the British medical journal BMJ concludes the study’s author, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, misrepresented or altered the medical histories of all 12 of the patients whose cases formed the basis of the 1998 study — and that there was “no doubt” Wakefield was responsible.
“It’s one thing to have a bad study, a study full of error, and for the authors then to admit that they made errors,” Fiona Godlee, BMJ’s editor-in-chief, told CNN. “But in this case, we have a very different picture of what seems to be a deliberate attempt to create an impression that there was a link by falsifying the data.”
Britain stripped Wakefield of his medical license in May.
As domestic bee colonies collapse in droves, the United States is being flooded with cheap, perhaps dangerous, Chinese honey in “the largest case of food fraud in history.” The Globe and Mail reports:
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As crime sagas go, a scheme rigged by a sophisticated cartel of global traders has all the right blockbuster elements: clandestine movements of illegal substances through a network of co-operatives in Asia, a German conglomerate, jet-setting executives, doctored laboratory reports, high-profile takedowns and fearful turncoats.
What makes this worldwide drama unusual, other than being regarded as part of the largest food fraud in U.S. history, is the fact that honey, nature’s benign golden sweetener, is the lucrative contraband.
What consumers don’t know is that honey doesn’t usually come straight – or pure – from the hive. Giant steel drums of honey bound for grocery store shelves and the food processors that crank out your cereal are in constant flow through the global market.
An interesting ‘coincidence’ in the still unfolding honey pot trap that has ensnared Julian Assange. From Kirk Murphy at Firedoglake.com:
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Yesterday Alexander Cockburn reminded us of the news Israel Shamir and Paul Bennett broke at Counterpunch in September. Julian Assange’s chief accuser in Sweden has a significant history of work with anti-Castro groups, at least one of which is US funded and openly supported by a former CIA agent convicted in the mass murder of seventy three Cubans on an airliner he was involved in blowing up.
Anna Ardin (the official complainant) is often described by the media as a “leftist”. She has ties to the US-financed anti-Castro and anti-communist groups. She published her anti-Castro diatribes (see here and here) in the Swedish-language publication Revista de Asignaturas Cubanas put out by Misceláneas de Cuba. From Oslo, Professor Michael Seltzer points out that this periodical is the product of a well-financed anti-Castro organization in Sweden.
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U.S. scientists are significantly more likely to publish fake research than scientists from elsewhere, finds a trawl of officially withdrawn (retracted) studies, published online in the Journal of Medical Ethics.
Fraudsters are also more likely to be “repeat offenders,” the study shows.
The study author searched the PubMed database for every scientific research paper that had been withdrawn — and therefore officially expunged from the public record — between 2000 and 2010.
A total of 788 papers had been retracted during this period. Around three quarters of these papers had been withdrawn because of a serious error (545); the rest of the retractions were attributed to fraud (data fabrication or falsification).
The highest number of retracted papers were written by first authors in the U.S. (260), accounting for a third of the total. One in three of these was attributed to fraud.
The UK, India, Japan, and China each had more than 40 papers withdrawn during the decade.
Who would suspect an elderly white man? Nobody. At least, that’s what the young man from Hong Kong thought. While the facial disguise was quite impressive, he forgot to make his hands appear aged as well, which was what raised suspicion as he boarded the plane. CNN reports:
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Canadian authorities are investigating an “unbelievable” incident in which a passenger boarded an Air Canada flight disguised as an elderly man, according to a confidential alert obtained by CNN.
The incident occurred on October 29 on Air Canada flight AC018 to Vancouver originating in Hong Kong. An intelligence alert from the Canada Border Services Agency describes the incident as an “unbelievable case of concealment.”
“Information was received from Air Canada Corporate Security regarding a possible imposter on a flight originating from Hong Kong,” the alert says. “The passenger in question was observed at the beginning of the flight to be an elderly Caucasian male who appeared to have young looking hands.
… Read the rest
Printers in this city near the Afghan border say they have produced thousands of fake voter registration cards at the request of Afghan politicians for use in that country’s parliamentary elections on Saturday.
The cards, some shown to The Associated Press, add to evidence that fraud could undermine the elections and further destabilize the Western-backed government of President Hamid Karzai.
A fraud-marred presidential election last year threatened the credibility of the Afghan administration at home and with the Western nations waging war on the country’s resurgent Taliban.
Regulation of voting has been improved, but an influx of fake cards raises the possibility of a person with multiple voter cards voting many times and could still cause problems in an insecure country where monitoring of polling stations will likely be spotty.
Charles Rangel must die, politically that is. He has become an embarrassment to a House Speaker who vowed to “clean the swamp” of Congressional corruption. It took him 80 years but Harlem’s war-hero turned Congressional elder, Charles Rangel, is this week’s media poster boy for all the ills of an institutionally corrupt system.
He must be purged so that honesty can be seen to prevail in an institution that only enjoys a 22% approval rating. Oh, the damage he’s done to the “reputation” of the House. How dare him lie on his rental application–a crime, which if enforced widely—would indict half of his fellow New Yorkers. And never mind, no one is talking of indicting his landlord who winked at the transgression. Remember, wherever there are takers, there are also givers.
So, Charlie must die. He had stuffed his Merc in the wrong parking lot. He has violated every sense of propriety as Michael Wolf noted so earnestly:
“Charlie Rangel, one of the most successful political figures of his generation in New York, is now, in the Washington Post’s estimation, a “pariah.” He’s a pariah partly because—quite unable to believe he is no longer a man of far-reaching influence, a fixer of legendary power—he has down to the wire refused to get out of the way of Democratic efforts to get him out of the way.”
This pariah must die politically to cleanse Washington of its sins.… Read the rest