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Fraud*
According to the Collins English Dictionary 10th Edition fraud can be defined as: "deceit, trickery, sharp practice, or breach of confidence, perpetrated for profit or to gain some unfair or dishonest advantage".[1] In the broadest sense, a fraud is an intentional deception made for personal gain or to damage another individual; the related adjective is fraudulent. The specific legal definition varies by legal jurisdiction. Fraud is a crime, and also a civil law violation. Defrauding people or entities of money or valuables is a common purpose of fraud, but there have also been fraudulent "discoveries", e.g. in science, to gain prestige rather than immediate monetary gain
*As defined in Wikipedia

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Monday, February 4, 2013

Goldman Sachs and Accounting Control Fraud (II)

We know that leading up to the Great Financial Crisis Goldman Sachs used Accounting Control Fraud to make big profits for itself and its executives.  Unfortunately, the fraud has been overlooked by both the White House and the Department of Justice in the interests of the banks' not failing.  It does not seem to matter that millions of ordinary people have lost their pensions and savings because of this banks' actions.

Here's another reminder of what accounting control fraud looks like:

Goldman Sachs:  Doing "God's Work" by Inflicting the Wages of Sin Globally
By William K. Black - New Economic Perspectives

The central point that I want to stress as a white-collar criminologist and effective financial regulator is that Goldman Sachs is not a singular “rotten apple” in a healthy bushel of banks.  Goldman Sachs is the norm for systemically dangerous institutions (SDIs) (the so-called “too big to fail” banks).  Impunity from the laws, crony capitalism that degrades democracy, and massive national subsidies produce exceptionally criminogenic environments.  Those environments are so perverse that they produce epidemics of “control fraud.”  Control fraud occurs when the persons who control a seemingly legitimate entity use it as a “weapon” to defraud.  In finance, accounting is the “weapon of choice.”  It is important to remember, however, that other forms of control fraud maim and kill thousands.

Large, individual accounting control frauds cause greater financial losses than all other forms of property crime – combined.  Accounting control frauds are weapons of mass financial destruction.  One of the crippling flaws of the World Economic Forum (WEF) is ignoring private sector control frauds.  Control fraud makes a mockery of “stakeholder” theory.  Accounting control fraud, for example, aims its stake at the heart of its stakeholders.  The principal intended victims are the shareholders and the creditors (which includes the workers).  Other forms of control fraud primarily target the customers.  If the WEF wishes to effectively protect stakeholders it is imperative that they undertake a sea change and make the detection, prevention, and sanctioning of control fraud one of their central priorities.  WEF does the opposite, it wishes away fraud with propaganda because the alternative is to admit that many of its dominant participants are the central problem – they are degrading the state of the world.  In 2012, in response to endemic, elite financial frauds, the WEF declared the following without citation or reasoning in its 2012 report on “Rethinking Financial Innovation.”
6.1.1 Consumer Disservice
Malfeasance and outright fraud [in finance] are extraordinarily damaging but also, fortunately, extremely rare.
This passage Report demonstrates that WEF was unable to escape its dogmas and conduct a fundamental rethinking of what caused the crisis.  In a criminogenic environment fraud is common, not “rare.”  That is an empirical fact if one has competent investigators.  The national commission to investigate the savings and loan debacle found that control fraud was “invariably” present “at the typical large failure.”  We obtained over 1000 felony convictions in cases designated as “major” by the Justice Department.  The (2001) Nobel Laureate in Economics, George Akerlof and Paul Romer published their classic article in 1993 entitled “Looting: the Economic Underworld of Bankruptcy for Profit” explaining accounting control fraud.  Akerlof and Romer emphasized five points:
  1. They had supplied the missing economic theory of control fraud, so economists no longer had an excuse for ignoring such frauds
  2. The regulators in the field recognized that deregulation was “bound” to create widespread fraud because it created a criminogenic environment in which fraud paid
  3. Accounting control fraud was a “sure thing” – if lenders followed the fraud “recipe” three results were certain: (a) the bank would promptly report record (albeit fictional) profits, (b) the controlling officers would promptly be made wealthy by modern executive compensation, and (c) the bank would suffer catastrophic losses
  4. If many banks in the same area followed the same strategy the result would hyper-inflate a bubble and delay loss recognition because bad loans could be refinanced, and
  5. Now that we had an economic theory confirming that the field regulators had gotten it right from the beginning the economists could prevent future fraud epidemics if they supported the regulators rather than pushing deregulation
The accounting control fraud recipe for a lender has four “ingredients”:
  1. Grow like crazy by
  2. Making really crappy loans at a premium yield, while
  3. Employing extreme leverage, and
  4. Providing only trivial reserves for the inevitable, massive loan losses
Read the rest of the article here


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