325 posts tagged with fraud.
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In the course of 10 years, VW produced six generations of defeat devices

For the first time the true scale has been revealed of a coldly calculated, deliberate and sustained scheme by scores of Volkswagen executives and engineers to defraud American car buyers and deceive American regulators.
posted by Sebmojo on Jul 25, 2016 - 135 comments

Can I trust you?

Stealing Hope: A longread series from the Charleston Post & Courier on a group of "emotional scammers" preying on increasingly desperate adoptive parents. (Design Warning: All Links Contain Autoplaying Animations)
posted by Potomac Avenue on Jul 18, 2016 - 5 comments

The odd friendship of Harry the skeptic and Arthur the believer

Arthur Conan Doyle became interested in Spiritualism as early as 1886, inspired by the writing of the US High Courts Judge John Worth Edmonds, and confessing his belief in the supernatural in various publications, including The Coming of the Fairies, "a collection of facts" about the Cottingley Fairies, published a year after the start of an odd friendship. In 1920, Doyle received the book The Unmasking of Robert-Houdin from none other than Harry Houdini, the renowned magician turned resolute skeptic, yet the two became friends, discussing spiritualism in terms of faith and frauds, respectively. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on May 3, 2016 - 20 comments

Ideal to acquire instant credibility

Public discussion about offshore tends to focus on the Seychelles, the British Virgin Islands or Panama: sunny places for shady people; remote countries full of dodgy money. But if 29 Harley Street tells us anything, it is that offshore isn’t a place, it’s an idea. Formations House is about as offshore as a place can be, and our government appears powerless to bring it back onshore again.
Writing in The Guardian, Oliver Bullough looks into Formations House and its premises at 29 Harley Street, which house 2,159 companies. "Why," Bullough asks, "has this prestigious address been used so many times as a centre for elaborate international fraud?"
posted by Sonny Jim on Apr 19, 2016 - 11 comments

Changing minds on minority rights with a single conversation, revisited

Previously on MeFi, a pair of then-graduate students, David Broockman and Joshua Kalla, uncovered that some highly-publicized research, claiming to show that brief conversations with gay canvassers could cause lasting changes in people's opinions on gay rights, was in fact fraudulent, and was based on fabricated data. However, whether or not there was in fact any grain of truth to that paper's claims remained to be seen. Recently, the same team that uncovered the fraud has published their own study, showing that canvassing can really be effective at durably increasing support for transgender rights. [more inside]
posted by en forme de poire on Apr 8, 2016 - 26 comments

You smell tomato, I smell a rat

The fight against food fraud : From meat to spices, is anything we eat what we think it is?
posted by Gyan on Mar 26, 2016 - 68 comments

fabrication is the ultimate sin of journalism

The bombshell accusations left anyone who'd ever worked with Thompson wondering if he'd scammed them too. It's a tricky question to untangle, noted Josh Marshall, the editor and publisher of the liberal online publication Talking Points Memo, which had published one of his essays. "One of the dirty little secrets of fact-checking," Marshall wrote in an editor's note, "is that it is quite difficult to uncover a determined effort to deceive." Juan Thompson Wrote About St. Louis for the National Media. But Were Any of His Stories True? [more inside]
posted by Rustic Etruscan on Feb 26, 2016 - 12 comments

GNC, Target, Wal-Mart, Walgreens accused of selling adulterated herbals

The New York State attorney general’s office accused four major retailers on Monday of selling fraudulent and potentially dangerous herbal supplements and demanded that they remove the products from their shelves. The authorities said they had conducted tests on top-selling store brands of herbal supplements at four national retailers — GNC, Target, Walgreens and Walmart — and found that four out of five of the products did not contain any of the herbs on their labels. The tests showed that pills labeled medicinal herbs often contained little more than cheap fillers like powdered rice, asparagus and houseplants, and in some cases substances that could be dangerous to those with allergies. [NYTimes], [WaPo] [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Feb 26, 2016 - 101 comments

Affinity fraud

Why were most of Bernie Madoff's victims Jewish? For instance, he "wiped out Elie Wiesel’s life savings, and stole $15 million from Wiesel’s foundation." Answer: Affinity fraud. "My own incidental exposure would be comical if the stakes weren’t so serious. I happen to live in a majority African American neighborhood in south Chicagoland. . . ."
posted by John Cohen on Feb 16, 2016 - 52 comments

World's oldest surviving inscription of the Ten Commandments? Not quite.

... conventional history teaches that the Americas were discovered by the Europeans either in 1492 by Columbus, or maybe a few hundred years earlier by the Vikings. There still seems to be an aversion among the establishment historians to even consider the idea that ancient Mediterranean peoples from the Middle East might have traveled to the Americas in the centuries before Christ. Only so-called diffusionists would have accepted a different view. And yet, there it is, this inscription in New Mexico, an undeniable witness from an ancient past telling its history ...
Behold, The Los Lunas Decalogue, a fascinating "old" site south of Albuquerque, New Mexico. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Feb 1, 2016 - 22 comments

Just Desserts

Sandy Jenkins was a shy, daydreaming accountant at the Collin Street Bakery, the world’s most famous fruitcake company. He was tired of feeling invisible, so he started stealing—and got a little carried away.
posted by katie on Jan 1, 2016 - 72 comments

Walls Not Included

How Four Roommates Got Duped Into Camping In A $6K A Month Williamsburg Death-Trap [more inside]
posted by poffin boffin on Dec 22, 2015 - 62 comments

This quality of uncertainty

How I Fell Face First for an Epic IRS Scam: I received a call on my home phone recently from someone who identified himself as Officer Jason Dean with the Investigative Bureau of the Department of Treasury. He said an arrest warrant had been issued in my name for failure to respond to IRS Notice CP503 — a third reminder — informing me that I owed $5,347 in back taxes. He said my home and cell phones were being traced and I should not attempt to leave the city. [more inside]
posted by mandolin conspiracy on Nov 25, 2015 - 79 comments

"Ultimate Betrayal" as Fox Lake cop's "murder" ruled suicide

On September 1, popular police lieutenant Charles Gliniewicz of the Chicago suburb of Fox Lake, Illinois, called in the pursuit of three armed suspects (two white, one black) near the Wisconsin border. As backup arrived 14 minutes later, Gliniewicz was dying from a fatal gunshot to the chest from his own gun, after what appeared to be a scuffle with the suspects. A massive manhunt shut down Lake and northern Cook Counties, putting public buildings on lockdown and even halting the Fox Lake Metra line; hundreds of cops hunted for the suspects for more than three days. Gliniewicz was given a hero's funeral.

Today, the Lake County Major Crimes Task Force announced Gliniewicz's death was a carefully staged suicide intended to cover up Gliniewicz's embezzlement of police department funds over the past seven years, as well as threats to falsely pursue DUI charges against village officials auditing the police department. [more inside]
posted by Eyebrows McGee on Nov 4, 2015 - 71 comments

There's a problem with electronic voting machines in the USA

My statistical analysis shows patterns indicative of vote manipulation in machines. The manipulation is relatively small, compared with the inherent variability of election results, but it is consistent. [...W]e have a serious pervasive and systematic problem with electronic voting machines. [more inside]
posted by andrewcooke on Aug 7, 2015 - 74 comments

“It’s not quite what it was... it’s more sophisticated now.”

A Dream Undone: Inside the 50-year campaign to roll back the Voting Rights Act.
posted by zarq on Aug 4, 2015 - 17 comments

Like a famous painting, a rare comic is hard to fence.

Comic Con Man: A true crime tale of comic books, corruption, and a $9 million vanishing act
posted by Horace Rumpole on Jul 25, 2015 - 6 comments

"The consistency of your dishonesty is positively breathtaking"

In 2004 Ashley Mote stood as a European Parliament candidate for the anti-EU right-wing UK Independence Party on a platform of opposing corruption. Elected, his standing with UKIP was withdrawn when the party discovered he was being prosecuted for benefit fraud, for which he was later convicted despite attempting to invoke immunity from prosecution. But that offence was dwarfed by the expenses fraud he committed as an MEP. In May this year, Mote was convicted of embezzling nearly half a million pounds, and today he was sentenced to five years in prison. Mr Justice Stuart-Smith did not exactly mince his words when handing down sentence.
posted by Major Clanger on Jul 13, 2015 - 32 comments

Government to Forgive Student Loans at Corinthian Colleges

New York Times:
Mr. Duncan also said the department planned to develop a process to allow any student — whether from Corinthian or elsewhere — to be forgiven their loans if they had been defrauded by their colleges. A special master would be appointed within three weeks, department officials said, to create procedures to apply for relief that are “durable, not just for Corinthian but beyond.”
Previously, previouslier. [more inside]
posted by Little Dawn on Jun 8, 2015 - 30 comments

Can a single conversation change minds on divisive social issues? No.

A field experiment conducted by UCLA Political Science graduate student Michael LaCour made big news (including a This American Life Episode) when LaCour and Columbia professor Donald Green published their paper in Science about how a 20 minute conversation with gay canvassers change many people's minds and led them to support same-sex marriage. It turns out though, that LaCour made the whole thing up. [more inside]
posted by MisantropicPainforest on May 20, 2015 - 196 comments

Payday at the Mill

A tax incentive in Maine is being used to funnel money from tax dollars directly into corporate pockets. [more inside]
posted by idiopath on Apr 20, 2015 - 27 comments

I told them all at the very first meeting it was illegal

An estimated billion pounds worth of HSBC fraud in Britain. According to whistleblower Nicholas Wilson, HSBC has been involved in a fraudulent scheme to illegally overcharge British shoppers in arrears for debt on store cards at leading British high-street retailers.
The credit agreements did not allow consumers to be charged debt collection fees. The chain of lenders involved in HSBC's debt recovery includes retailers up and down the UK, but most often those in the poorest areas. Wilson estimates that as many as 600,000 people have been defrauded, mostly those on a low-income.
This fraud has (allegedly) been systematically covered-up by regulators, police, law firms, the government and much of the UK media. The full list of media organisations that have investigated, then spiked, Wilson’s story, despite its unprecedented importance and public interest value, includes BBC Panorama, BBC Newsnight, BBC Moneybox, BBC Radio 5 Live, The Telegraph, The Guardian, Private Eye, and The Sunday Times.
posted by Lanark on Mar 22, 2015 - 22 comments

"My business is built on everlasting trust.”

The Pigeon King and the Ponzi Scheme that Shook Canada [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 7, 2015 - 22 comments

"I wish there were people who were honest crooks."

Dark Leviathan: The Silk Road might have started as a libertarian experiment, but it was doomed to end as a fiefdom run by pirate kings
posted by Sticherbeast on Feb 22, 2015 - 42 comments

Chasing Paper

An investigation for Scientific American by MeFi's own cgs06 uncovers evidence of widespread fraud in scientific publishing's peer review system. Alarming signs point to the Chinese government as a source of institutional support and funding for questionable papers and fake peer reviewers. [more inside]
posted by overeducated_alligator on Dec 19, 2014 - 26 comments

"Today, both families hope to do what’s best for Karen."

The Limits of Jurisdiction: in Guernica, Erin Siegal McIntyre writes about her six-year investigation into corruption and crime in international adoptions from Guatemala, as exposed through the story of one little girl. "For the past six years, the child known as Karen has lived in Missouri with her adoptive parents, Timothy and Jennifer Monahan. But Loyda Rodríguez and Dayner Hernández, a young Guatemalan couple, are convinced the child is their daughter, Anyelí, who was kidnapped in November 2006. Although a Guatemalan judge ruled that Karen should be returned to Guatemala in 2011, the Monahans have kept her." [more inside]
posted by nicebookrack on Dec 2, 2014 - 46 comments

I See Bad Things In Your Future

When is fortune-telling a crime? When it's prosecuted as fraud. [more inside]
posted by Charity Garfein on Nov 18, 2014 - 52 comments

How Fake Fossils Pervert Paleontology

A nebulous trade in forged and illegal fossils is an ever-growing headache for paleontologists. [more inside]
posted by brundlefly on Nov 18, 2014 - 7 comments

Now that we have met with paradox we have some hope of progress.

Somaly Mam [previously] responds to the Newsweek article last spring that raised questions regarding the legitimacy of her work as a Cambodian anti-trafficking activist, tainting the nearly two-decades-long work on behalf of victims that catapulted her into the global spotlight. "I didn't lie."
posted by Emor on Sep 26, 2014 - 7 comments

"This reduces the likelihood for irreparable injury...."

An appeals panel of the Seventh Circuit ruled yesterday (pdf) that Wisconsin may immediately implement a photo ID law, for the November 4th election. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Sep 13, 2014 - 67 comments

The evolution of credit card skimmers, and how to protect yourself

Credit card skimming was something of a myth in the early 2000s, until someone was caught skimming in 2002 in San Mateo, California. The next year, a skimmer was found on an ATM in a New York deli, and skimmers have been improving every year, following additional protective measures on a range of credit card reading devices, as detailed in Gizmodo's article on the evolution of skimmers. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Sep 2, 2014 - 43 comments

Sometimes, life is like a box of cacao products

"Enrique Martinez didn't like chocolate, but he was eating as many as 10 pieces a day, drinking chocolate protein shakes and rubbing a chocolate-based skin cream on his face. It was expensive chocolate, too. Martinez and his wife, Michelle, were going through $2,000 in chocolate a month."
posted by reenum on Aug 16, 2014 - 31 comments

"...this is a charity that's supposed to be helping the troops."

ProPublica reports: Pro-Troop Charity Misleads Donors While Lining Political Consultants' Pockets. [more inside]
posted by tonycpsu on Aug 6, 2014 - 47 comments

Bouncer turned Businessman

The nightclub insurer promised to fight for its clients — its promotional material shows a man socked in the face with a boxing glove. But founder Jeffrey B. Cohen fights everything. He went after competitors, clients, former employees and even neighbors, filing dozens of lawsuits around the country. The Reisterstown man once sought a restraining order to keep a rival company from attending an adult industry convention.
posted by josher71 on Jul 21, 2014 - 13 comments

"Best Site On The Web!" - Mother Teresa, Mark Twain, and George Carlin

“Those who are awake live in a state of constant amazement.”-Fake Buddha Quotes is your one-stop shopping for all quotes misattributed to The Buddha.
posted by Navelgazer on Jul 7, 2014 - 48 comments

Pitbulls, Lies and Videotape

Welcome to the Internet crowdfunding, where the cutest, blondest, and most adorable victims of unverifiable woe seek to fund their health care via the largesse of outraged strangers. This isn't uncommon. We've seen the stories about mean things written on receipts, or even fingers in chili. [more inside]
posted by Ruthless Bunny on Jun 25, 2014 - 105 comments

MegaTrendy

Two weeks ago, a group of Serbian expat academics in the UK posted a scathing and detailed critique of the Ph.D. dissertation of Serbian Minister of Internal Affairs, Nebojša Stefanović, alleging plagiarism and academic fraud. The authors claimed that the "procurement of dubious academic degrees ... is a serious problem in the Serbian system of higher education" and promised to "to continue to examine suspicious doctoral and masters dissertations belonging to other public figures in Serbia." The reaction has not been uneventful: [more inside]
posted by pjenks on Jun 14, 2014 - 56 comments

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain

Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return set a record for the all-time worst opening weekend for an animated film. Executive Producer Greg Centineo attributed the failure to a "conspiracy" of Hollywood's powers-that-be against independent production company Alpine Pictures. In light of Oz's glacially-delayed release schedule and shabby production values, it would appear that the heads of Alpine are completely incompetent…or are they? [more inside]
posted by overeducated_alligator on May 20, 2014 - 115 comments

The New Debunkonomy

@PicPedant (mefi's own) has attracted a loyal following in doing the Sisyphean work of calling out Twitter photo spammers and scraper accounts by tracking down, correcting and debunking images and giving attribution to the source. Twitter is awash in "interesting photo" accounts particularly since images started appearing in timelines -- some of the most successful of which may be the wildly popular @HistoryInPics and @EarthPix founded by 2 teenagers who allegedly earn $40,000+ a month. PicPedant's debunking can be vastly amusing. Here are a few greatest hits: no, not a baby panda but an Etsy doll; no, not Japanese cherry trees but an infrared scene from Stockholm; no, not a real moon, but a photo manipulation. He's even called out Madonna for lack of attribution on an image that went viral after her tweet. Keep on keepin' on, you crazy pedant.
posted by madamjujujive on Feb 14, 2014 - 30 comments

I can think of at least two things wrong with that description.

Called "Japan's Beethoven", composer Mamoru Samuragochi is known for his Hiroshima Symphony and various video games soundtracks, many of which were composed after he became deaf at age 35. But in a surprise confession this week, he revealed that a ghostwriter was actually responsible for his work over the last two decades. The ghostwriter, music teacher Takashi Niigaki, has revealed even more damning allegations.
posted by kmz on Feb 6, 2014 - 41 comments

The Tragedy of the Diluted Commons [SLNYT]

Extra Virgin Suicides is an interactive graphic from the New York Times about the global business of counterfeit olive oil. The NYT graphic is pretty slick, too.
posted by Mad_Carew on Jan 27, 2014 - 71 comments

Creative sentencing

A serial house flipper would rather stay in prison. The judge said no, and put the city councilman whose ward he destroyed in charge of the flipper's parole. In addition to electronic monitoring, being forced to live in one of his own derelict properties and financial restitution, the flipper will give the city the equivalent of 18 months' full time work creating gardens and other features for the community at his own expense.
posted by bitter-girl.com on Jan 17, 2014 - 31 comments

The second act

The Second Act "Eight years after Seoul National University (SNU) dismissed him for his central role in one of history’s most notorious scientific frauds, Hwang, 61, is in a position many researchers would envy. He heads Sooam Biotech Research Foundation, a nonprofit institute with a staff of 40, a $4 million annual budget, and a new, well-equipped six-story building. His team publishes a steady stream of papers. Devoted dog owners from around the world, as well as the Korean police, seek their services. The institute is applying its cloning know-how to rescuing endangered species and improving livestock breeds, as well as to fundamental research in developmental biology." (previously on MeFi)
posted by dhruva on Jan 15, 2014 - 13 comments

if a paragraph does not start with bold and italics feel free to skip it

Indian tech entrepreneur and engineer Navin Kabra was dubious when the B.E. students he was advising told him that publishing papers at conferences were a requirement for graduation - a requirement shared by M.E. and M. Tech students in India. When an 'international engineering conference' came to Pune, he submitted two fake papers - one generated using SCIgen and one interspersed with random references to pop culture. Both were accepted - and one was published after Navin paid for the publishing fees (haggled to a 50% discount). Since the expose, the University of Pune has clarified that publishing for Masters students is recommended but not mandatory, more conference fraud has been uncovered, and Navin's still investigating publishing requirements for Bachelors students.
posted by divabat on Jan 6, 2014 - 21 comments

1 weird old trick that will make you 100s of $millions

Jesse Willms, the Dark Lord of the Internet. How one of the most notorious alleged hustlers in the history of e-commerce made a fortune on the Web.
posted by gottabefunky on Jan 2, 2014 - 54 comments

Catch Me If You Can: Real Estate Edition

Ryan Mullen was on the run for over 14 years. Then, a professional skip tracer named Michelle Gomez got on the case.
posted by reenum on Dec 29, 2013 - 20 comments

Wrist Mounted Gadgets Ahoy!

Drop Kicker is a blog that investigates products on Kickstarter and Indiegogo that look scientifically implausible, outright impossible, or completely scammy
posted by The Whelk on Dec 6, 2013 - 15 comments

"[O]ne of the more egregious failures of the criminal justice system..."

U.S. District Court Judge Jed Rakoff on "Why Have No High Level Executives Been Prosecuted In Connection With The Financial Crisis?" Judge Rakoff, a federal trial judge who sits in the Southern District of New York, writes: "[M]y point is that the Department of Justice has never taken the position that all the top executives involved in the events leading up to the financial crisis were innocent, but rather has offered one or another excuse for not criminally prosecuting them – excuses that, on inspection, appear unconvincing."
posted by jayder on Dec 5, 2013 - 28 comments

Black Lung Coverup

Coal industry's go-to law firm withheld evidence of black lung, at expense of sick miners. "Jackson Kelly, documents show, over the years has withheld unfavorable evidence and shaped the opinions of its reviewing doctors by providing only what it wanted them to see. Miners, often lacking equally savvy lawyers or even any representation, had virtually no way of knowing this evidence existed, let alone the wherewithal to obtain it."
posted by jaduncan on Nov 10, 2013 - 37 comments

The Glam Scammer

"In cities across the country, Michael Manos has thrown fantastic parties with faux celebrities and top-shelf tequila sponsors. He ingratiates himself in gay communities, fakes a European accent, and often has claimed to be the disavowed gay son of a Greek millionaire, though he actually grew up middle-class in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Along the way, he’s taken thousands of dollars from socialites and the well-heeled, who were easily blinded by his glitter and glamour. He duped actress Jane Fonda. He sold tickets to a “chic” fundraiser in honor of Sen. John McCain, who later said he’d never heard of him. Manos is a bank robber, a one-time male escort on Capitol Hill, and the target of more than one cross-country manhunt. He is also a convicted kidnapper who helped keep a man locked in the trunk of a car for four days. For that, he spent more than a decade in a New York prison. And now he’s behind bars again, this time in Louisiana."
posted by porn in the woods on Oct 25, 2013 - 25 comments

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