No Minister

Posts Tagged ‘Fraud

Supersize that fraud

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There was a rather silly “documentary” film made some years ago called “Supersize Me”, which took a crack at the consumer practices of American fast food places.

It did this by having the maker of the doco live on nothing but McDonald’s food for 30 days and taking full advantage of their Super Size option if it was offered. He gained 11 kilos in that time and sent his cholesterol through the roof. It took months to lose the weight but he suffered no long-term problems with his health.

Six weeks after the film’s debut, McDonald’s discontinued its supersize portions.

It’s a shame that promoters of massive and ever-increasing government spending don’t learn the same thing, as this rather astounding article in the NY Post reveals:

[The Federal government has] already appropriated some $6 trillion in fighting COVID, though. That’s more than we spent fighting WWII, which cost about $4.1 trillion in inflation-adjusted dollars.

For that the US got dozens of fleet carriers, hundreds of other warships, tens of thousands of tanks and planes, millions of rounds of ammunition, plus supplying food and medical care to some twelve million men – plus the Manhattan Project and winning the war against two substantial enemies. As the article says:

Unlike in the ’40s, though, we’ve pretty clearly lost World War C. COVID has killed way more people than Hitler and Hirohito did, and unlike the Third Reich, it’s never going to go away. So while we’re getting used to the Forever Virus, we might as well pause for a sec and wonder: What the heck did all that spending buy us? 

Good question. I guess you could say it kept a lot of businesses afloat, and given the much larger US economy of today perhaps $6 trillion is not a surprise. Still, it seems rather thin compared to WWII results. But the real kicker of the article is this:

So far, $100 billion of it has been straight-up stolen, “resulting in the arrest of more than 100 suspects who span the spectrum from individuals to organized groups,” according to a CNBC report. Don’t worry, though, the feds are on the case, and so far they’ve recovered … $2.3 billion. 

$100 billion just flat out stolen? That’s most of NZ’s GDP! How is that even possible? Of course in just one state, California, they’re not able to account for where 49 million cheques totalling $320 billion of spending went in 2018 alone (Money. Wall. Pissing Against.) so maybe the Federal government’s doing better?

The article looks at a few of the crooks and scammers, but only the ones we know about that are responsible for a piddling few billion. There must be bigger crooks out there responsible for the remaining $97.7 billion still missing.

Incidentally, according to that article, Operation Warp Speed cost just $18 billion, and it’s one of the few C-19 programs that succeeded in doing what it claimed it would do.

Written by Tom Hunter

January 24, 2022 at 11:50 am

Money. Wall. Pissing against.

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You may have thought that the current NZ Labour government was a shocker when it came to spending vast sums of money to no good effect, but as is often the case now, the US state of California leads the way.

As if the high taxes, poverty, filth, crime, killer fires, water problems and energy problems were not bad enough it appears that they can’t even run a basic book keeping process.

This is Betty Yee, and she is the “State Controller” of California, which means that she is the person responsible for:

  • “Accountability and disbursement of the state’s financial resources.”
  • “Auditing all funds disbursed by the state and all claims presented for payments to [her office.]”

Given that California is the world’s fifth largest economy, that is a hell of a lot of spending responsibility. Her office issued 49 million checks in payments worth $320 billion in 2018.

Being in a public office she’s also accountable directly to the public in terms of more than just votes, being required to produce information about all this spending, subject to the usual Official Information Requests that we see across the Western world. There’s always scrapping between such offices and the people demanding the information as to timely releases and so forth – no bureaucrat is ever keen on revealing everything to the proles – but by and large the process works.

So it was no surprise when some activist group called Open the Books (OTB), requested to see the line item details of all these payments, starting in 2013. The letter they finally got in 2019 surprised the hell out of them:

“The State of California, State Controller’s Office does not maintain a centralized vendor contract database which would allow it to identify all contracts regardless of the agency awarding such contract,”

That came from Yee’s general counsel Richard Chivaro, who went further:

“In fact, many state contracts are paid for directly by the contracting agency,” Chivaro continued. “This procedure allows the contracting agency to make such payments as expeditiously as possible thereby taking advantage of an early payment discount which may be available.” 

“Moreover, the Controller’s Office receives literally thousands of claims for payment daily. Claims are batched by date received and are not segregated, logged or otherwise tracked by agency employee or payment type. Consequently, because of the way the claims are batched and processed by this office, we are unable to locate or otherwise provide you with the documents requested,”

The fuck? In other words the Controller’s Office literally cannot answer the question of where all the money went in a $302 billion spending list. They simply do not and cannot know exactly who got the money because they just don’t bother tracking that level of detail.

Incredible. Almost beyond belief.

OTB is suing the state of California but frankly I don’t know how that can succeed: if the system doesn’t track this stuff at a line item level (or even a couple of levels up) then what’s the lawsuit going to produce? They have had to sue Illinois and Wyoming in the past to get such data, but they did get it in the end, and they did not need to take such action to get spending records from the other 47 states according to the OTB Chairman:

“We even get the checkbooks from the historically, systemically corrupt Port Authority of New York and New Jersey,” he said. “We do get the second set of books from there.” 

In some respects it’s hardly surprising given an earlier story that blew out of the same state a few months ago:

California Labor Secretary Julie Su told reporters in a conference call Monday that of the $114 billion the state has paid in unemployment claims during the coronavirus pandemic, 10 percent, or $11.4 billion, involves fraud and another 17 percent is under investigation. 

Nearly all of the fraudulent claims were paid through the federally supported Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. The program was approved by Congress to provide unemployment assistance to those who usually wouldn’t be eligible, such as independent contractors. 

The even got scammed by the usual suspects, criminal organisations from Russia and Nigeria, as well as 21,000 prisoners in the state who scored more than $400 million, including 100 prisoners on death row

I like to think the latter group really just did it for kicks, given that they’re not likely to be able to spend any of it.

Written by Tom Hunter

December 2, 2021 at 11:24 pm

Wogs Will Be Wogs

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It seems Labour in NZ is not the only outfit blessed with Indians possessing a special skill in recruiting party members or creating people who will ‘vote the right way.’

The Victorian State Labor Party has enjoyed an unusual boost in party membership over an extremely short time.  Hundreds of new members signing up over one week-end when, for twenty years, they might have been lucky to get two new members per month.

(Paywall)

A new Labor branch-stacking scandal has erupted in Bill Short­en’s home state, with a flood of up to 1400 prospective ALP members in Julia Gillard’s former seat of Lalor and applications frozen in other suburban electorates.

The freeze on the memberships — many of them from members of Melbourne’s large Indian community — comes just months after the party expelled hundreds of bogus members in the biggest purge in its history.
One source said “this is recruit­ment on a scale that we have not seen in 20 years”, with 400 applications submitted in just one weekend in the federal seat of Holt in Melbourne’s southeast.

The moral of the story must be:- If you’re going to commit online fraud, it’s a good idea to use someone else’s computer.

Written by adolffinkensen

August 14, 2016 at 11:05 pm

Posted in New Zealand

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The Wananga Doesn’t Change It’s Spots

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David Cunliffe is not short of chutspah.

He is attacking the head of the Tertiary Education Commission for failing to detect fraud on the part of so called tertiary education providers, often known as ‘Te Wananga Something or Other..’

This time round the amount scammed appears to be around $30 million.

I seem to recall when David (I’m running this show now) Cunliffe was a cabinet minister there was a bit of a hoohaa about the same sort of thing.  Except in the case of Cunliffe’s Labour administration, the amount scammed by the Bros was over $500 million.  Of course that was when the country was enjoying massive surpluses so they had to get rid of the money somehow to take the pressure off calls for tax cuts.

There’s an old saying up North:-

Nobody is as smart as the Maori when it comes to getting hold of money and, once he’s got it, nobody is as stupid.

Written by adolffinkensen

February 17, 2016 at 8:19 pm

Posted in New Zealand

Tagged with