Global Corruption
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Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono: Australia must clear air on corruption case: SBY

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono:  Australia must clear air on corruption case: SBY | Global Corruption |

The whistleblower website Wikileaks on Wednesday published the full text of the Victorian Supreme Court court order made on June 19.

Australian media organisations cannot legally publish the contents of the order, which was made to prevent damage to the country's international relations.

Dr Yudhoyono has now asked the Australian government give an explanation of the case.

"We want to hear directly from Australia," he said in a statement on Thursday.

Wikileaks claims the court order effectively blacks out the largest high-level corruption case in Australia and the region.

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Global Corruption
Corruption is a particularly viral form of cancer. It is caught here and there but it reappears somewhere else as soon as vigilance is relaxed. It is not eliminated, just driven underground. The corrupt merely suspend their operations temporarily. It lingers, hovering always in the background for its next opportunity.
- Gerald E. Caiden
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Corruption Eruption E-Magazine > > > "On Planet Corruption every day a new Eruption"

Corruption Eruption E-Magazine >   >  >            "On Planet Corruption every day a new Eruption" | Global Corruption |

*** Key findings from PwC's 17th Annual Global Economic Crime Survey

*** Cyber crime: the Achilles heel of the business world
*** Ukraine’s $19-billion question of debt and corruption

*** FBI announces campaign to crack down on public corruption

*** Ukraine’s $19-billion question of debt and corruption

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Ten former PennDOT employees charged in $1.2 million fraud case: Land Line Magazine

Ten former PennDOT employees charged in $1.2 million fraud case: Land Line Magazine | Global Corruption |
Eight highway inspectors and two permit managers who worked for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation have been charged in criminal court for their alleged roles in a $1.2 million corruption and bribery scheme.

Chargers against the men were filed in state court on Dec. 17. As many as 27 federally funded maintenance and construction contracts in Pennsylvania may be affected, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General.

The complaints allege that Alex Morrone, former PennDOT permits manager, and William Rosetti, former Philadelphia County permit manager, demanded kickbacks from project inspectors while requiring them to falsify time, attendance and payroll records to generate illicit cash flow, according to the news release from OIG. They also allege that the corrupt inspectors were paid more than $500,000 through false payroll and invoice submissions. Additionally, two leading inspection firms, CMC Engineering and CZOP Corp., were allegedly paid more than $700,000 for their employees’ unearned overtime.

In addition to Morrone and Rosetti, those charged included PennDOT inspectors Frank DiMichele and Generoso Palmieri, and consultant inspectors Joseph DiSimone, John Cavanaugh, John Laspada, Brandon Grosso, David Betzner, and Christopher Lauch.

The complaints also state that project inspectors performed home improvement services for PennDOT officials while payroll records falsely indicated that they were performing inspection duties. In addition to the monetary fraud, the state grand jury contended that the scheme jeopardized safety because paid project inspectors, hired to protect the public and Pennsylvania highway infrastructure, were often absent from job sites and therefore failed to perform inspection duties.
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China needs own metrics for corruption fight

China needs own metrics for corruption fight | Global Corruption |
China's anti-corruption net is catching "tigers", senior corrupt officials as well as "flies" or corrupt officials at grassroot level. On Monday, the Communist Party of China's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection announced that Ling Jihua, a senior Party official and national political advisor, is under investigation for "suspected serious disciplinary violation". Before that, other high-ranking officials, including former top security chief Zhou Yongkang and former deputy military head Xu Caihou, were also investigated for suspected corruption.

China's crackdown on corruption has been well publicized. But despite Chinese top leader Xi Xinping saying that he is committed to rooting out all forms of corruption, China has not been able to convince some Western analysts of the efficacy of the anti-corruption campaign.

In fact, Transparency International's 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index says the early stage of China's war on corruption is not registering well in certain metrics. This led to a 20-place fall for China in the global rankings placing it in the company of Algeria and Suriname and behind the likes of Zambia, Liberia and Panama. Regional peers have experienced similar volatility. Japan has progressed and regressed at regular cycles, although the country's overall trend in the past 20 years is positive. Even Singapore, consistently among the world's least corrupt countries, has slipped in recent years.

In contrast, the region's another big power, India, has seen a modest improvement in the 2014 index. Corruption has been a visible issue in India in recent years, and the country's performance has improved modestly over that time. It still ranks low on the list but has been steadily, if slowly, rising since the 1990s, so the recent surge may be due in part to higher expectations related to these and other events.

What accounts for the discrepancy between improved anti-corruption efforts and low performance in certain corruption indexes? China has made a concerted effort but is losing the early gains. India has also taken steps to curb corruption, with only marginal results in the indexes. Therefore, are recent accusations of Chinese officials by pro-Western bias in global corruption ratings warranted?

The issue behind this seeming disconnect is not how corruption is defined, but how it is detected and measured, and the corrupt prosecuted. Notions of corruption are fairly universal, even between the East and West. Personal gain (typically financial) resulting from abuse of power, circumvention of procedure, undue political influence and non-disclosure of assets can all be defined as corrupt practices. Nevertheless, the procedures through which corruption cases are prosecuted emerge from differences in governance cultures.
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United States Congressman Michael Grimm Pleads Guilty to Causing the Filing of a False and Fraudulent Tax Return | OPA | Department of Justice

United States Congressman Michael Grimm Pleads Guilty to Causing the Filing of a False and Fraudulent Tax Return | OPA | Department of Justice | Global Corruption |
False and Fraudulent Tax Return
Earlier today, United States Congressman Michael Grimm pleaded guilty at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn, New York, to aiding and assisting the preparation of a false tax return.  Since 2011, Grimm has served as a member of the United States House of Representatives representing New York’s 11th Congressional District, which includes the borough of Staten Island and parts of the borough of Brooklyn, in New York City.  When sentenced, Grimm faces a prison term of up to three years.  In connection with his guilty plea, Grimm also agreed to pay restitution to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, and the New York State Insurance Fund (NYSIF).  Today’s guilty plea proceeding took place before the Honorable Pamela K. Chen, United States District Judge, Eastern District of New York.

The guilty plea was announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, George Venizelos, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), New York Field Office, and Richard Weber, Chief, IRS- Criminal Investigation.

“With today’s guilty plea, Michael Grimm has admitted that while running his business he chose lies and deception over honest dealings with federal and state authorities as well as his own employees.  In addition to pleading guilty to causing the filing of a false tax return for his restaurant, Grimm has signed a statement admitting to the conduct underlying every charge filed against him.  Michael Grimm has now publicly admitted that he hired unauthorized workers whom he paid “off the books” in cash, took deliberate steps to obstruct the federal and state governments from collecting taxes he properly owed, cheated New York State out of workers’ compensation insurance premiums, caused numerous false business and personal tax returns to be filed for several years, and lied under oath to cover up his crimes.  He will now be held to account for all of his actions that led to those charges,” said U.S. Attorney Lynch.  “This guilty plea makes clear that we and our partners in the FBI and the IRS will vigorously investigate and prosecute fraud wherever we find it, and that no one is above the law.”  Ms. Lynch expressed her appreciation to the Public Integrity Section of Department of Justice, the Northern Criminal Enforcement Section of the Tax Division of the Department of Justice, the New York State Insurance Fund, the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, and the New York State Department of Labor for their assistance in the investigation.

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Venizelos stated, “As an elected official, Grimm was responsible for deciding how taxpayers' money should be spent, yet he chose not to pay his fair share of taxes while operating his business.  Adding insult to injury, while serving as a Member of Congress, Grimm lied under oath in an effort to conceal his criminal activity.  The public expects their elected officials at all levels of government to behave honorably, or at a minimum, lawfully.  As his guilty plea demonstrates, Grimm put self-interest above public service.”
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Bank Leumi Admits to Assisting U.S. Taxpayers in Hiding Assets in Offshore Bank Accounts | OPA | Department of Justice

Bank Leumi Admits to Assisting U.S. Taxpayers in Hiding Assets in Offshore Bank Accounts | OPA | Department of Justice | Global Corruption |
A major Israeli international bank admitted that it conspired to aid and assist U.S. taxpayers to prepare and present false tax returns to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by hiding income and assets in offshore bank accounts in Israel and elsewhere around the world.  A deferred prosecution agreement between the Bank Leumi Group and the Department of Justice was filed today in the Central District of California that defers prosecution on a criminal information charging the bank with conspiracy to aid and assist in the preparation and presentation of false tax returns and other documents to the Internal Revenue Service.  This unprecedented agreement marks the first time an Israeli bank has admitted to such criminal conduct which spanned over a 10 year period and included an array of services and products designed to keep U.S. taxpayer accounts concealed at Bank Leumi Group’s locations in Israel, Switzerland, Luxembourg and the United States.

The Bank Leumi Group’s parent company is Bank Leumi le-Israel, B.M.  Bank Leumi le-Israel is one of Israel’s largest banks, with subsidiaries in seven countries and more than 13,000 employees.  Other subsidiary banks entering into this deferred prosecution agreement include The Bank Leumi le-Israel Trust Company Ltd., the oldest and largest of all bank trust companies in Israel; Leumi Private Bank S.A., a Switzerland-based subsidiary; Bank Leumi (Luxembourg) S.A., a Luxembourg-based subsidiary; and Bank Leumi USA, a FDIC-insured, full-service commercial bank with offices in California, Florida, Illinois and New York.

According to documents filed in the case, to account for their criminal conduct, Bank Leumi Group will pay the United States a total of $270 million. Of this total payment, $157 million represents a penalty for U.S. taxpayer accounts held at Leumi Private Bank in Switzerland.  This $157 million penalty is consistent with the department’s Swiss Bank Program, which permits certain Swiss Banks to avoid prosecution by making a full and complete disclosure of their U.S. taxpayer-held accounts and paying substantial penalties.  The agreement further provides that Bank Leumi Luxembourg and Leumi Private Bank will cease to provide banking and investment services for all accounts held or beneficially owned by U.S. taxpayers.
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The Hard Facts of Global Corruption Action

Action  rarely follows rhetoric when it comes to global corruption
It takes two to tango to rob national treasuries and undermine global commerce: the government officials and politicians who take the bribes and, of course, the corporations who pay the bribes.
Just how rotten current conditions are is evident from two new reports – Transparency International’s index of bribe taking and a comprehensive OECD analysis of corporate bribe paying.
Transparency International’s 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) covering 175 countries reveals that more than two-thirds score less than 50 points on a scale, where 100 is fully clean of corruption and 1 is the very opposite.
If one looks, for example, at emerging market economies, where to an increasing degree governments have publicly pledged to attack corruption, then the picture remains bleak. Levels of perceived corruption in most emerging market countries are very high, with the great majority having CPI scores of less than 50, including the four BRICS.
Many executives at multinational corporations have long acknowledged the significant risks of doing business with government partners in many emerging market countries, but these are so often offset by considerations of both the very large size and especially the potential of these markets.
Wal-Mart, for example, is now engaged in a multi-year, multi-million dollar internal investigation of allegations that its executives paid bribes in a range of emerging market countries, including Mexico, Brazil and India.
Most corporations, I hope, nevertheless find ways to do business honestly, but as a new study by the OECD shows, many companies are willing to shave their profits significantly to pay bribes and win deals.
The OECD reviewed the cases of 400 corporations that have been investigated for bribing foreign government officials – investigations that took place in some of the 41 countries that signed the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention that first came into force in 1998 and that makes it a criminal offense for a company to bribe a foreign government official.
The OECD said that on average the bribes paid equaled 10.9% of the total transaction value and 34.5% of the profits, equal to $13.8 million per bribe.
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Nonprofit contracting official indicted on bribery charges

Nonprofit contracting official indicted on bribery charges | Global Corruption |
The former chief of contracts for International Relief & Development (IRD) in Arlington Va., one of the largest non-governmental organizations to work in Iraq and Afghanistan, has been indicted on federal bribery charges.

George E. Green, 57, was charged with steering contracts to an Afghan subcontractor as part of an agricultural program funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). IRD had received a cooperative agreement to administer the agricultural program for the federal agency.

Green did not respond to an email seeking comment Friday.

“He pled not guilty at his arraignment and we will investigate the case and prepare a defense,” said Green’s lawyer, assistant federal defender Robert Arrambide. His attorney declined to discuss the charges.

Prosecutors say Green accepted $66,000 in bribes in exchange for directing work to the Afghan subcontractor. Some of the money was wired to a car dealer in San Severino Marche, Italy, in an attempt to conceal the payments, according to the indictment. Green, of Carrollton, Tex., allegedly structured cash deposits into his bank and credit card accounts to avoid federal currency reporting requirements.

Green was indicted Tuesday by a grand jury in Texas, charged with one count of conspiracy to structure financial transactions, one count of wire fraud and three counts of receiving bribes in connection with a program receiving federal funds. If convicted on all counts, Green faces a maximum of 55 years in prison.

In recent years, IRD has been one of the largest recipient of grants and cooperative agreements of any nonprofit organization funded by the USAID. The majority of IRD’s funding — 82 percent of $2.4 billion–went to USAID projects in the war zones, most of them in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Monica S Mcfeeters's curator insight, December 23, 5:05 AM

Does anyone think excessive campaign donations should be considered brides rather than granted a free pass by both the supreme court with Citizens United and the recent budget bill Congress just put into effect?

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Spain's Princess Cristina to face tax fraud trial

Spain's Princess Cristina to face tax fraud trial | Global Corruption |
Cristina de Borbon, sister of Spain's King Felipe VI, will stand trial on charges of tax fraud, the first Spanish royal to face prosecution in court.
Her father Juan Carlos abdicated in June after a series of scandals including an investigation into the affairs of Princess Cristina's husband, former Olympic handball player Inaki Urdangarin, who is accused of embezzling public funds.
Princess Cristina, 49, and Urdangarin are among 17 people ordered to stand trial in the case involving his Noos Foundation charity, the High Court of the Balearic Islands said on Monday.
Cristina and her husband have both denied any wrongdoing.
Urdangarin has been charged with breach of legal duty, embezzling public funds, fraud, influence-peddling and money-laundering. The princess is accused of two tax crimes.
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The couple have been ordered to deposit funds with the court to cover possible liabilities - 2.6 million euros ($3.2 million) in the case of Cristina, and nearly 15 million for Urdanganrin.
They now have 20 days to deposit the money, according to a written court ruling, or face having assets seized.
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Remarks for Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell Press Conference Regarding Alstom Bribery Plea

Remarks for Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell Press Conference Regarding Alstom Bribery Plea | Global Corruption |
Today represents a significant milestone in the global fight against corruption.  It demonstrates the Department of Justice’s strong commitment to fighting foreign bribery and ensuring that both companies and individuals are held accountable when they violate the FCPA.  The guilty pleas and resolutions announced today also highlight what can happen when corporations refuse to disclose wrongdoing and refuse to cooperate with the department’s efforts to identify and prosecute culpable individuals.

Let me first explain how the scheme worked.  To conceal that it was the source of payments to government officials, Alstom funneled the bribes through third-party consultants who did little more than serve as conduits for corruption.  Alstom then dummied up its books and records to cover up the scheme. 

Alstom’s corruption spanned the globe, and was its way of winning business.  For example, in Indonesia, Alstom and certain of its subsidiaries used consultants to bribe government officials – including high-ranking members of the Indonesian Parliament and the state-owned and state-controlled electricity company – to win several contracts to provide power-related services.  According to internal documents, when certain officials expressed displeasure that a particular consultant had provided only “pocket money,” Alstom retained a second consultant to ensure that the officials were satisfied. 

In Saudi Arabia, Alstom retained at least six consultants, including two close family members of high-ranking government officials, to bribe officials at a state-owned and state-controlled electricity company to win two projects valued at approximately $3 billion.  As evidence that Alstom employees recognized that their conduct was criminal, internal company documents refer to the consultants only by code name.  

Alstom similarly used consultants to bribe officials in Egypt and the Bahamas, and again Alstom employees clearly knew that the conduct violated the law.  In connection with a project in Egypt, a member of Alstom’s finance department sent an email questioning an invoice for consultant services and, in response, was advised that her inquiry could have “several people put in jail” and was further instructed to delete all prior emails regarding the consultant.

If approved by the court, Alstom’s criminal penalty of $772 million represents the largest penalty ever assessed by department in a FCPA case.  Through Alstom’s parent-level guilty plea and record-breaking criminal penalty, Alstom is paying a historic price for its criminal conduct -- and for its efforts to insulate culpable corporate employees and other corporate entities.  Alstom did not voluntarily disclose the misconduct to law enforcement authorities, and Alstom refused to cooperate in a meaningful way during the first several years of the investigation.  Indeed, it was only after the department publicly charged several Alstom executives – three years after the investigation began – that the company finally cooperated.   
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Rousseff Says Brazil Must Stamp Out Corruption, Not Companies

Brazil must punish people without destroying companies, President Dilma Rousseff said in comments about the corruption scandal at state-run Petroleo Brasileiro SA.

“We must know how to punish the crime, not harm the country or its economy,” she said today in Brasilia. “We must close our doors -- all our doors -- on corruption without shutting them on growth or progress and employment.”

Petrobras (PETR4), as the oil company is known, is at the center of the country’s biggest corruption and money laundering scandal that has spread to the nation’s largest construction and engineering companies. An avalanche of kickback allegations from former company executives and contractors has prompted calls for Chief Executive Officer Maria das Gracas Foster and top managers to step down.

The company has said it is a “victim” in the case dubbed Car Wash by investigators. Foster has offered to resign and will remain in her job until Rousseff decides to replace her, she told reporters Dec. 17 in Rio de Janeiro.

The government is concerned the scandal will slow the pace of projects and hinder economic growth and job creation, Labor Minister Manoel Dias told reporters today.
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Britain targets financial fraud with anti-corruption police unit

Britain targets financial fraud with anti-corruption police unit | Global Corruption |
Britain is to set up a specialist police unit focused on corruption and bribery, aiming to bolster its defences against white-collar crime in the financial sector as part of a wider plan to stamp out fraudulent business practices.

Banks and other financial players account for about a tenth of the UK economy's output but the sector has been damaged by a succession of scandals, making it important for the government to show it is clamping down on wrongdoing.

The new unit will sit within the National Crime Agency (NCA), Britain's equivalent to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and will pull together experts from within the NCA and specialists from other government agencies.

"As host to one of the world's largest financial centres, the UK has a moral duty and global responsibility to ensure that corrupt officials and organised criminals do not abuse our systems," said Business Minister Matt Hancock.

The new unit, due to be established by April 2015, is intended to boost capacity to handle corruption cases.

The government said it would work in cooperation with the existing Serious Fraud Office (SFO), which has led the investigation and prosecution of serious or complex fraud and corruption, but did not say how this would happen in practice or how the responsibilities of the two bodies would be defined.

Earlier this month the SFO secured the conviction of three men in a 23 million pound ($36 million) biofuel investment scam. The organisation is also investigating a number of high-profile cases, such as the manipulation of interbank interest rates and bribery allegations linked to aero-engine maker Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc.
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20 arrested in insurance fraud sweep; 2 fugitives still at...

20 arrested in insurance fraud sweep; 2 fugitives still at... | Global Corruption |
nnsylvanians for a variety of unrelated insurance fraud offenses that are among some of the most commonly committed crimes.
The recent sweep is the result of investigations by the Office of Attorney General's Insurance Fraud Section, Kane said.
"Insurance fraud is one of the most costly white-collar crimes in America today, with estimated losses in the billions of dollars annually," Kane said. "This sweep demonstrates the severe penalties for committing these crimes, which increases costs for everyone, including seniors."
Two targets of the sweep, Steven Henderson and Jaimie Rice, are still at large, and fugitive warrants have been issued for their arrest, according to Kane.
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Madoff’s Inner Circle Faces Sentencing for Largest Ponzi Scheme in History – The Madoff Affair - FRONTLINE

Madoff’s Inner Circle Faces Sentencing for Largest Ponzi Scheme in History – The Madoff Affair - FRONTLINE | Global Corruption |
The first of five members of Bernard Madoff's inner circle to be convicted in connection to the epic fraud case has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.
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Top Fraud Predictions for 2015: Technology will shape the fight

Technology will give fraudsters an edge in 2015, but it will also provide new tools for organizations and investigators. Three of our experts weighed in on digital currencies, information security and other issues that will help shape the effort to prevent and detect fraud in the new year:

Technology will increase the sophistication of fraud schemes. This is an existing trend that will accelerate in 2015, according to ACFE Regent Gerard Zack, CFE, Managing Director – Global Forensics for BDO Consulting. “More and more we are reacting to reports of fraud with, ‘how did they do that?’” Zack said. “It’s a reflection of schemes becoming more complex and capitalizing on technology, including some of the new technology deployed by companies in the interest of improving efficiency. While simple frauds still exist, we are seeing a distinct proliferation of more complex fraud schemes.”
But technology (like data analytics) will also help catch tomorrow’s frauds. Zack is quick to note that for fraudsters, technology is a double-edged sword – as it will also be leveraged by the professionals trying to catch them. “There will be more breakthroughs in the use of technology to detect fraud – particularly in the use of visual analytics and also in the use of tools to mine unstructured data.”
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Kentucky Businessman Pleads Guilty in Manhattan Federal Court to $53 Million Tax Scheme and Massive Fraud That Involved the Bribery of Bank Officials | OPA | Department of Justice

Kentucky Businessman Pleads Guilty in Manhattan Federal Court to $53 Million Tax Scheme and Massive Fraud That Involved the Bribery of Bank Officials | OPA | Department of Justice | Global Corruption |
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara for the Southern District of New York and Deputy Assistant Attorney General David A. Hubbert for the Tax Division of the Department of Justice announced that Wilbur Anthony Huff, a Kentucky businessman, pleaded guilty today in Manhattan federal court to various tax crimes that caused more than $50 million in losses to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and a massive fraud that involved the bribery of bank officials, the fraudulent purchase of an insurance company, and the defrauding of insurance regulators.  Huff pleaded guilty this afternoon before U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald.

“Today’s guilty plea ensures that Wilbur Huff will be punished for perpetuating a vortex of fraud – complete with bribery, tax crimes that caused $53 million in losses to the IRS, the fraudulent purchase of a company, and the defrauding of insurance regulators,” said U.S. Attorney Bharara.  “Those who might be tempted to follow in Huff’s criminal footsteps should understand that this office and our law enforcement partners will aggressively pursue and root out fraud wherever we find it.”

Huff, 53, of Caneyville and Louisville, Kentucky, pleaded guilty to one count of corruptly endeavoring to obstruct and impede the due administration of the internal revenue laws, which carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison, one count of aiding and assisting with the preparation and presentation of false and fraudulent tax returns, which carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison, one count of failing and causing the failure to pay taxes to the IRS, which carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison, and one count of conspiracy to (a) commit bank bribery, (b) commit fraud on bank regulators and the board and shareholders of a publicly-traded company, and (c) fraudulently purchase an Oklahoma insurance company, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.  He is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Buchwald on April 8, 2015, at 2:30 p.m. The maximum potential sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.  As part of his plea, Huff also agreed to forfeit $10.8 million to the United States and to provide restitution in the following amounts to victims of his crimes: $70,100,000 to the Receiver for Park Avenue Property and Casualty Insurance Company; $4,857,266.62 to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC); $597,420.29 to Valley National Bank (the successor of Park Avenue Bank); and $53,094,219 to the IRS.
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Former FBI Special Agent Pleads Guilty to Bribery Scheme | OPA | Department of Justice

Former FBI Special Agent Pleads Guilty to Bribery Scheme | OPA | Department of Justice | Global Corruption |
“Robert Lustyik discarded the FBI’s principles of ‘fidelity, bravery, and integrity,’ and sold his badge to the highest bidder,” said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell.  “Greed has no place in public service or law enforcement.  The Department of Justice will root out corruption wherever it takes hold, and hold accountable those who abuse the public’s trust for personal gain.” 

“Robert Lustyik today admitted to conducting a bribery scheme in which, for his own personal gain, he secretly sold information and documents to which he had access as an FBI agent,” said U.S. Attorney Bharara.  “Lustyik betrayed our system of justice: he breached not only the law, but also his sworn oath, and the great trust and confidence placed in him by citizens and colleagues.  For his criminal conduct he now faces, as he must, serious, commensurate penalties.”

“The Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to identify, investigate, and bring to justice all DOJ employees who engage misconduct,” said Inspector General Horowitz.

Robert Lustyik, 52, of Westchester County, New York, pleaded guilty to all five counts in the indictment against him, including conspiracy to engage in a bribery scheme, soliciting bribes by a public official, conspiracy to defraud the citizens of the United States and the FBI, theft of government property, and unauthorized disclosure of a Suspicious Activity Report.
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Background check fails as ex-convict lands HUD job, embezzles $800,000

Background check fails as ex-convict lands HUD job, embezzles $800,000 | Global Corruption |

Brian Thompson had a criminal record spanning more than two decades, but that didn’t stop him from getting an office job at the Department of Housing and Urban Development earning nearly $90,000 per year.

His extensive criminal history only came to light in recent days after federal prosecutors outlined convictions and charges of armed robbery, theft and larceny against Thompson, who now faces federal prison time for embezzling more than $800,000 from HUD during his short stint as a federal worker.

Now HUD officials are scrambling to figure out how he landed his job, which he was allowed to resign nearly two months after his embezzlement conviction.

“We are reviewing the portion of the Personal Identity Verification (PIV) process that HUD controls to understand why there were no background flags,” agency spokesman Jereon M. Brown wrote in an email Tuesday. “Something should have definitely come up during the background check.”

The U.S. attorney’s office in Washington filed a sentencing memo in Thompson’s case this week outlining theft and larceny arrests and convictions spanning from 1984 to 2007. He also had an armed robbery conviction in 1980 that resulted in probation; a 1998 misdemeanor conviction for check deception; a felony 2008 conviction for receiving stolen property; and probation violation reports filed in 1999, 2000 and 2001, according to prosecutors.

Yet HUD hired him as a GS-13 loan guarantee specialist within the Office of Public and Indian Housing at HUD on May 23, 2011.

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Meet Peru’s New 'Narco-Governors'

Meet Peru’s New 'Narco-Governors' | Global Corruption |
Following December 7 run-off elections, Peru has now elected at least six governors under investigation or facing charges for crimes ranging from embezzlement to drug trafficking, which undermines the legitimacy of regional government in many parts of the country. 

In spite of the stir created by revelations in the run-up to Peru's October elections that hundreds of candidates had either been convicted of a crime or linked to the drug trade, voters elected at least six governors allegedly involved in criminal activity. InSight Crime profiles some of Peru's new "narco-governors," as one analyst called them, as well as some of the country's other allegedly criminal elected leaders.
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Alstom to pay record $772 million to settle bribery charges with U.S.

Alstom to pay record $772 million to settle bribery charges with U.S. | Global Corruption |
The French firm Alstom SA (ALSO.PA) has pleaded guilty and will pay $772 million in criminal penalties to settle charges with the U.S. Justice Department alleging the company bribed government officials to win business around the world.

The settlement announced by the Justice Department on Monday marks the largest-ever criminal fine levied by the United States against a company for violations of foreign bribery laws.

The fine will resolve charges related to a "widespread scheme involving tens of millions of dollars" in bribes around the world, including countries such as Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the Bahamas, the DOJ said.

The Justice Department said Alstom paid more than $75 million to secure $4 billion in projects around the world. It said Alstom admitted to its criminal conduct.

DOJ said Alstom pleaded guilty to a two-count criminal information filed in a federal court in Connecticut and that Alstom's Swiss unit also pleaded guilty to criminal charges that it conspired to violate federal bribery laws.

Alstom's U.S. power and grid units each entered into deferred prosecution agreements with the DOJ and admitted to conspiring to violate bribery laws, the Justice Department said.

"We will not wait for countries to act responsibly," Leslie R. Caldwell, assistant attorney general of the criminal division, said at a news conference.

Earlier on Monday, a unit of Alstom and two employees were also charged by the Serious Fraud Office in the United Kingdom with bribing officials from 2002 through part of 2010.
Monica S Mcfeeters's curator insight, December 23, 5:09 AM

This is a statement about a company. It is an equal or better statement about those that are corruptible and in leadership roles in official office around the world.

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Alstom Pleads Guilty and Agrees to Pay $772 Million Criminal Penalty to Resolve Foreign Bribery Charges

Alstom Pleads Guilty and Agrees to Pay $772 Million Criminal Penalty to Resolve Foreign Bribery Charges | Global Corruption |
Alstom S.A. (Alstom), a French power and transportation company, pleaded guilty today and agreed to pay a $772,290,000 fine to resolve charges related to a widespread scheme involving tens of millions of dollars in bribes in countries around the world, including Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the Bahamas.

Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole, Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, First Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael J. Gustafson of the District of Connecticut and FBI Executive Assistant Director Robert Anderson Jr. made the announcement.

“Alstom’s corruption scheme was sustained over more than a decade and across several continents,” said Deputy Attorney General Cole.  “It was astounding in its breadth, its brazenness and its worldwide consequences.  And it is both my expectation – and my intention – that the comprehensive resolution we are announcing today will send an unmistakable message to other companies around the world: that this Department of Justice will be relentless in rooting out and punishing corruption to the fullest extent of the law, no matter how sweeping its scale or how daunting its prosecution.” 

“This case is emblematic of how the Department of Justice will investigate and prosecute FCPA cases – and other corporate crimes,” said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell.  “We encourage companies to maintain robust compliance programs, to voluntarily disclose and eradicate misconduct when it is detected, and to cooperate in the government’s investigation.  But we will not wait for companies to act responsibly.  With cooperation or without it, the department will identify criminal activity at corporations and investigate the conduct ourselves, using all of our resources, employing every law enforcement tool, and considering all possible actions, including charges against both corporations and individuals.”

“Today’s historic resolution is an important reminder that our moral and legal mandate to stamp out corruption does not stop at any border, whether city, state or national,” said First Assistant U.S. Attorney Gustafson.  “A significant part of this illicit work was unfortunately carried out from Alstom Power’s offices in Windsor, Connecticut.  I am hopeful that this resolution, and in particular the deferred prosecution agreement with Alstom Power, will provide the company an opportunity to reshape its culture and restore its place as a respected corporate citizen.”

“This investigation spanned years and crossed continents, as agents from the FBI Washington and New Haven field offices conducted interviews and collected evidence in every corner of the globe,” said FBI Executive Assistant Director Anderson.  “The record dollar amount of the fine is a clear deterrent to companies who would engage in foreign bribery, but an even better deterrent is that we are sending executives who commit these crimes to prison.”

Alstom pleaded guilty to a two-count criminal information filed today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, charging the company with violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) by falsifying its books and records and failing to implement adequate internal controls.  Alstom admitted its criminal conduct and agreed to pay a criminal penalty of $772,290,000.  U
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Ponzi Scheme Paid for Cars, Freezing Dead Wife, U.S. Says

The head of a New Jersey investment firm that claimed to make annual returns of 24 percent on foreign currency trades and gold was charged with bilking customers out of more than $5 million, some of which he used to buy luxury cars and to have his dead wife cryogenically frozen.

Whileon Chay, 38, the founder and manager of 4X Solutions Inc., lost $2.3 million of investors’ cash on bad trades in commodities and forex, without reporting it, and used their money to finance a luxurious lifestyle, according to an indictment unsealed today in Manhattan federal court.

Chay is a fugitive who didn’t show up in court for a related case against his company filed last year by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. Chay, who was accused in that suit with operating a Ponzi scheme, never responded to that complaint and a default judgment was entered against him in July, court records show. Chay doesn’t have a lawyer, the agency said.

Chay, who may be on the run in South America, regularly “would show up to meet with investors in different luxury cars,” Donna Harris, a spokeswoman for New York division of the Postal Inspection Service, which was involved in the case, said in a phone interview.

The claims, including commodities fraud, mail fraud and wire fraud, stem from Chay’s false marketing materials used to attract fresh cash, much of which was used to repay earlier customers instead of investing, according to the indictment.

Chay told prospective customers their inv
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UPAC, Quebec's anti-corruption unit, makes strides in 2014

UPAC, Quebec's anti-corruption unit, makes strides in 2014 | Global Corruption |

The head of Quebec’s anti-corruption unit, UPAC, says investigators made headway in 2014, with a total of 15 arrests on charges including fraud against the government.

UPAC commissioner Robert Lafrenière said another 42 investigations are still underway.

In a report summarizing UPAC's activities in 2014, Lafrenière also underlined the importance of citizens coming forward with information. In the past year, more than 1,000 people assisted in their work.

Lafrenière also stressed the importance of prevention, as well as fostering a culture change in Quebec institutions and government. Investigators met with 8,000 people, including mayors, officials and councillors as part of that goal.

"Prevention is the basis of deep and lasting change," he said.

In its annual report, UPAC also highlighted the links it established with anti-Mafia organizations internationally, including groups in Italy with similar mandates.

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Franciscan Order On Verge Of Bankruptcy After Financial Fraud Uncovered

Franciscan Order On Verge Of Bankruptcy After Financial Fraud Uncovered | Global Corruption |
One of the largest Franciscan religious orders, founded on the humble teachings of St. Francis of Assisi more than 800 years ago, announced it is on the brink of bankruptcy after admitting some of its friars embezzled funds from its accounts.

The Italian news magazine Panorama on Friday (Dec. 19) reported that tens of millions of dollars were missing from the Order of Friars Minor and had been invested in offshore companies.

Panorama also claimed Swiss prosecutors had seized Franciscan accounts in Switzerland because the account holders had allegedly invested in illegal operations that could include arms and drug trafficking.

Brother Michael Perry, the American head of the order, said an internal inquiry was begun in September and revealed “a number of questionable financial activities that were conducted by friars entrusted with the care of the patrimony of the order.”

In a letter posted on the order’s website, Perry said the order was in “grave, and I underscore grave, financial difficulty, with a significant burden of debt.”

The letter, addressed to all friars and published in both English and Italian, said the order’s general treasurer Father Giancarlo Lati had resigned but gave no further details.

Lati was also reportedly responsible for managing Il Cantico, a luxury Rome hotel owned by the order, whose website promises to use profits to help the poor, street kids and AIDS centers.

“Because of the scope and magnitude of these activities, they have placed the financial stability of the General Curia at grave risk,” Perry wrote.

“The systems of financial oversight and control for the management of the patrimony of the order were either too weak or were compromised, thus limiting their effectiveness to guarantee responsible, transparent management. We have initiated steps to address these concerns.”
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Jackson loan officer indicted in large-scale mortgage fraud

Jackson loan officer indicted in large-scale mortgage fraud | Global Corruption |
A federal grand jury has charged a loan officer for a mortgage company with supplying fake documents to help unscrupulous buyers get millions of dollars in mortgages.

The indictment, returned on Thursday, charged Joseph DiValli of Jackson with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and six counts of wire fraud in an alleged scheme that ran for nearly two years, U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said.

DiValli was one of nine people arrested in January as part of an alleged long-term mortgage fraud scheme that cost the affected financial institutions $10 million in mortgages that wound up being defaulted on because the buyers couldn’t afford them.

The indictment alleges DiValli conspired with five others to secure a mortgage on a house on Smith Street in Elizabeth owned by one of the other defendants in the case, Jose Seguero, 36, of Elizabeth and Verona.

The six wire fraud charges relate to a claim that DiValli submitted fake paperwork to get a loan modification on his home in Jackson.
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Watch The Full Program Online | The Madoff Affair | FRONTLINE | PBS

Documentary on the greatest Ponzi Scheme in history

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