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Procurement Fraud in the IT Sector 153

Posted by timothy
from the but-we-neeeeeed-those dept.
TopShelf writes "IT staff usually enjoy unrivaled access to the deepest details of an organization's structure, and all too often, some submit to the urge to use that knowledge for nefarious purposes. Baseline Magazine explores how how Tech Insiders Cheat Their Employers, with examples of executives creating their own vendors to which fat contracts are awarded. Perhaps the most galling case involves a director in the New York City Chief Medical Examiner's office who is accused of scamming FEMA in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks."
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Procurement Fraud in the IT Sector

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  • by Trigun (685027) <evil@evilempire . a th.cx> on Thursday June 15, 2006 @01:07PM (#15541210)
    For six years I would take a pad of post-it notes from the supply cabinet. After I had enough stock, I opened a wholesale company and sold them all back at a discount rate. Then I did the same with toner cartridges, pens, erasers, etc. Eventually I worked up to filing cabinets.

    I'm trying to figure out how to do it with the company cars, but that one's a little tough.
    • I applaud your entrepreneurial spirit, but what you should have done was set up your own office supply company to sell the supplies back to your own company. Hell, you wouldn't even need to sneak into the supply closet, just send them a monthly invoice.

      For non-expendable items that require a capital investment, I suggest setting up a leasing company. That's what I did with our company's Machine That Goes DING!!(tm).
    • Haha, that's hilarious.

      I worked onsite for a DC-government agency.... it was amazing. They had huge plasma screen TV's for "homeland security". Unfortunately, I only seemed to walk by during their "breaks" from 10am - 3pm when they were watching soap operas, game shows, etc.

      That's why this whole "oh, they cut security funding to DC and NYC" doesn't mean much without some actual analysis.
  • Oh Crap! (Score:1, Funny)

    by archaic0 (412379)
    Maybe I shouldn't have named my fake vendor company Enron...

    • Re:Oh Crap! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Zeinfeld (263942) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @02:15PM (#15541967) Homepage
      Maybe I shouldn't have named my fake vendor company Enron...

      That reminds me of the recent case where a guy was caught trying to pass a counterfeit billion dollar bill. Most criminals avoid detection by trying to fly under the radar with a scam so low level it is undetected. This guy was caught because the attack was so ridiculously visible - which reminds me I blogged on this and forgot to actually publish the post, must do that.

      These frauds are all pretty standard ones that any good auditor should be able to spot. Placing orders with a cutout company is an old ruse. What is suprising is the way that an exec of a public company would put it all on the line for what was actually chickenfeed compared to his salary and $900K stock options. I did that rant on my blog already though [blogspot.com]

      The only part of this that is Internet specific is the attempt to shut down the whistle blowers with court orders in the fourth case. Again it happend in Enrons home base of Texas.

      The blogosphere recently uncovered a series of frauds committed by Duke Cunningham and a number of other congressmen. The mainstream media has yet to tell the public anything close to the whole tale which is still being investigated but has already cased the dismissal of Porter-Goss as head of the CIA, the uncovering of a prostitutes and poker game held by lobbyists at the Watergate hotel and a peculiar series of limosine contracts. The bloggers are also currently getting their teeth into what appears to be a bipartisan scam where a legislator buys land up cheap, gets an earmark appropriation passed to build on or close to it that massively increases the value of the land and then sells dear.

      In the UK the magazine Private Eye has traditionally been the whistle blower. The US has never had a true equivalent. Private Eye has dramatically reduced the amount of graft in UK public life by bringing to light many schemes that would otherwise have continued for decades.

      Perhaps the Internet can be the Private Eye for the US.

  • Unreported cases (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @01:09PM (#15541221) Homepage Journal
    What's more, the organizations victimized by this kind of fraud often don't report it and choose to settle privately with the alleged culprits involved.
    Don't they say this about every kind of fraud that affects a company? Whether it's procurement fraud, credit fraud, social engineering, expense account fraud, or Ted from Accounting stealing pencils, it seems pretty universal that no company ever wants to look like it falls victim to anything, or falls for anything.
    • For us, "settle privately" would be a nice way of saying "take into the back parking lot and kick the crap out of." I mean what are they going to do, call the cops? I'd love to hear THAT conversation.

      Bad Guy: "Officer, these men beat me severely with IBM model M keyboards!"
      Officer: "What possessed you to to this?"
      Good Guys: "Sir, he defrauded our company of 3 million dollars."
      Officer: "Oh, in that case, try this nightstick."

    • How does this qualify as fraud? If I have a day job with Company A and form my own LLC as Company B that sells product to A, isn't that perfectly fine? I could see it qualifying as a "conflict of interest" by A's standards, but otherwise I see it as a regular business transaction. I mean, I have seen tons of companies set up so that the same person manages one business that owns some piece of land on which his other business, an accounting firm, pays rent back to the first, and those transactions seem le
      • How does this qualify as fraud? If I have a day job with Company A and form my own LLC as Company B that sells product to A, isn't that perfectly fine? I could see it qualifying as a "conflict of interest" by A's standards, but otherwise I see it as a regular business transaction. I mean, I have seen tons of companies set up so that the same person manages one business that owns some piece of land on which his other business, an accounting firm, pays rent back to the first, and those transactions seem lega

        • I have personally seen a company charge full price for a used item and claim it was new. That was the least of their deeds. Lets call them CrapIT.

          They were the outsourced IT managment and staff for CompanyA. CrapIT had CompanyA buy all the hardware and software from themselves. Since CrapIT made all the IT decisions, with little or no oversight (more on that later), they could charge whatever they wanted for hardware and software. They also charged for hourly overtime when their staff "stayed late" or "work
  • Like ST:TNG? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Skadet (528657) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @01:09PM (#15541222) Homepage
    "The I.T. chief controls the information architecture of the firm and can conceal a fraudulent transaction by circumventing controls and safeguards," says Joseph Anastasi
    Maybe I'm a nerd, but the very first thing I thought of was the ST:TNG episode "Brothers" [startrek.com] where Data circumvents the Enterprise's safeguards and takes over the ship.
    • The only problem is that Data would never do something like sell Dilithium Crystals on ebay2400.com or anything else to profit from having control of the Enterprise. This would be more like the guy from the past who stole a time machine from a scientist from the future and then started making patents on stuff he stole off the Enterprise. Get your analogies striaght. :p
    • Yes, you're a nerd, but so am I for recognizing that episode. ;-)
    • No, you've got ie right. You're a nerd.
  • Old hat (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Simon Travaglia's BOFH's [theregister.co.uk] been using those tricks for years.
    • I thought of that as soon as I read the headline. Who else thinks the real world IT culprits probably get the idea from reading BOFH?
  • by Speare (84249) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @01:11PM (#15541240) Homepage Journal

    As opposed to creating whole outsourcing companies to manage contractors during an outsourcing push. Or an executive personally subcontracting a building project at a bid below the rest of the local builders. Or the usual everyday case of standardizing on vendors that appear heavily in the executive's personal stock portfolio.

  • Encourage loyalty (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MrNougat (927651) <`ckratsch' `at' `gmail.com'> on Thursday June 15, 2006 @01:11PM (#15541242)
    Right off the top - there are always some people who are going to screw you, no matter how you treat them.

    But for most employees, instilling loyalty and pride in the company is the best disincentive to theft. It's also the best way to increase productivity.

    How does a company do that? Pay employees what they're worth, don't overwork people, be ethical in your business operations. Basically, it's the golden rule. Treat your employees the way you want them to treat your company. Your employees will take care of the rest, and the money will roll in.

    It's too bad that most companies are only in business to line the pockets of the top execs this quarter, and damn the next financial period; we'll figure that out later.
    • Re:Encourage loyalty (Score:5, Interesting)

      by kfg (145172) * on Thursday June 15, 2006 @01:29PM (#15541422)
      It's too bad that most companies are only in business to line the pockets of the top execs this quarter, and damn the next financial period; we'll figure that out later.

      It goes a bit deeper than that I'm afraid.

      The modern model for business structure requires hiring and treating people as interchangable parts in a machine. This has nothing to do with short term greed, but is rather aimed at the sustainability of the business itself.

      This is one of the reasons that new, small businesses can out perform older, larger businesses. They tend to be more reliant on high performing and essentially irreplacable personel. Say; the founder.

      One of the reasons that new, small businesses tend to fail is because. . .they tend to be more reliant on high performing and essentially irreplacable personel.

      So both short term greed and long term surviability can lead to an air of people not mattering. The opposite of love is not hate; it is indifference. In the average company they aren't actually out to get you, they simply don't give a fuck about you.

      KFG
      • One of the reasons that new, small businesses tend to fail is because. . .they tend to be more reliant on high performing and essentially irreplacable personel.

        And there's more: if I have become your irreplaceable personel and I am highly skilled etc etc, why on Earth would I want to stay with you when many other companies are willing to pay me the big bucks that your small biz does not have? Mercenary, I know. The best way to be in a highly competitive environment, I think.
      • The funny thing with large businesses is how afraid they are of taking advantage of high performing personnel. They don't want to get into the position where they benefit from someone and when that person leaves, they have to hire 5 people to replace him. I'm surprised that more large businesses don't fail from their policies requiring people to operate at 10% of capacity.
    • So... what you're saying is, some of them want to use you... some of them want to be used by you... some of them want to abuse you... some of them want to be abused?
    • by dr_dank (472072)
      It's too bad that most companies are only in business to line the pockets of the top execs this quarter, and damn the next financial period

      Too true. The best part of is that these clowns get to walk away with insane severance packages after running companies into the ground that no mere mortal outside of this priviledged class will ever see. I'd love to be able to completely and utterly fuck up at my job and be "severed" with several years salary and other lovely parting gifts.
  • by eln (21727) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @01:11PM (#15541243) Homepage
    Any employee with purchasing power can defraud the company. The more purchasing authority that person has, the greater the damage he can inflict. The only way to get around this is to make sure you're hiring the type of people who won't do this sort of thing because of a strong sense of ethics. Obviously, this isn't 100% foolproof, but there is always risk in business. The idea is to mitigate that risk as much as possible.

    Singling out IT managers as potential sources of fraud is disingenuous. ALL managers have the potential for fraud, because they have the access and the authority to commit the crime.
    • From the first fraud mentioned in the article:
      "invoices were often hand-delivered to Motschenbacher who, in turn, would hand-deliver the Buca payment to EDP"

      If your business processes are so pathetically broken that the same person processes invoices and writes the checks, your problem has nothing to do with IT having too much access to the company's nervous system.
    • > Singling out IT managers as potential sources of fraud is disingenuous. ALL managers have the potential for fraud, because they have the access and the authority to commit the crime.

      You're missing one of the main points, stated clearly on the first page of TA:

      "An information-technology manager with a larcenous bent is uniquely qualified to carry out clandestine procurement activities. Not only do some corporate I.T. budgets top $1 billion, but the head of inform

    • The only way to get around this is to make sure you're hiring the type of people who won't do this sort of thing because of a strong sense of ethics.

      People with a strong sense of ethics are not allowed into senior management posts in large companies, because they would report the company for accounting fraud (at least).
    • Audit can only be done after the fact, but is a necessary evil. The idea of "Walk softly, but carry a big stick" isn't a bad one to apply here.
  • Suppose one buys equipment on the company dime and then sells it on eBay and pockets the profit... no problem there, right?

  • I know of a midsized company that wanted to be bought by another company, so it shipped products to its customers which the customers never ordered. Invoiced them too. That way it could report more revenue, nevermind that the customers were very rightfully pissed off.
    • I've been on the other end of this, I did web design for a while and a company called "Specialty Technical Publications" found my address on my site, sent me a CD, then a month later sent me an invoice for a monthly $500+ charge for as many months as I wanted to keep the CD, including a month that had passed... this reminds me, I have to go file a BBB complaint.
      • If you live in the US, consider writing your state Attorneys General instead of the BBB. What they are doing is against the law [cornell.edu]. You can treat the CD as a gift with no strings attached.
      • The BBB can't and won't do anything. What happened here was criminal. If the U.S. mail was used in this process, it's mail fraud and you should inform the Postmaster General. Otherwise, file a complaint with your state Attorney General. Scams like this are common, and so are prosecutions. At the very least, you won't have to pay anything once you've reported the fraud. You might even be able to sue for damages.
    • The customers needn't have been pissed off, they should have been grateful that the company was sending them gifts. This sort of fraud used to not be that uncommon until laws were passed in the early 1970's that make it illegal to send a bill for unsolicited goods.

      The UK and the US both have laws that say that unsolicited goods are gifts and that there is no obligation to pay for them.

      Th UK law is called "Unsolicited Goods and Services Act 1971". In the US, the law was passed in 1970 and it is in Title 39
  • by OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @01:12PM (#15541258) Homepage
    Obviously it's the "strategic decision makers" that pull this kind of crap.

    Just my 2c
  • by celardore (844933) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @01:14PM (#15541276)
    It sounds like the companies that are being so defrauded must have terrible control measures. For instance, in my company (a logistics/shipping co) we need to have several pieces of documentation before any job is done, or any invoice raised. The measures are stricter when it involves money going out of the company in any way. There are varying levels of control depending on the value concerned.

    At least 4 people see a cheque before it is signed and sent out, two signatures are needed on the cheque and one from someone like a manager on the form requesting it. If I want a printer cartridge, I have to fill out a form, get my line manager to authorise it, and then give that to the secetary - who also checks everything, then when she places her order it has to be signed off by her boss. Etc etc.

    Control measures are fundamental to reducing exposure to fraud or theft IMHO. Trust me, I'm an accountant.
    • And what does "her boss" have to do to get approval for a toner cartridge purchase or for that matter the CFO or CEO at the company? I'm guessing nothing more than take out the corporate charge card. How about a company sponsored family vacation? Company car?

      If the people making the money decisions don't get a direct benefit from the companies success, you can anticipate some of them will make decisions more for their own benefit than the companies.
    • The problem is alot of CIO's are involved and they can circumvent any security standard or fraud policy he or she wants too. So in the end it doesn't matter if the CEO and CFO get smoked blowed up their ass so they dont know whats going on.

      TO do this you need a mid level or CIO to accomplish this and take cuts on the transactions.
    • Trust me, I'm an accountant.

      The irony is that many people who have committed massive fraud have said the exact same thing.
  • by linefeed0 (550967) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @01:17PM (#15541296)
    I am aware of a fairly large suburban school district that was taken to the cleaners by their IT manager without them knowing it at the time. Few people outside IT in such a place really understand the cost of the IT equipment they're buying. So the manager decided to order a whole bunch of "spares" to fill a closet. Somehow this closet was bottomless as stuff kept officially going in it but it never filled up.

    He got caught as soon as he did only because he was a complete dumbass about it -- students knew there was a "forbidden room" and were suspicious of its contents, and he listed some Cisco kit and some printers on eBay with an address that obviously traced back to the school. When someone brought in a printout of the eBay auctions it was all over.
  • among others, this was the big "gotcha" that got the U of U folks wondering about their so-called cold fusion scientists. turns out they would only work with the cold fusion institute mandated by salivating legislators if the institute bought a particular model of power supply... which was only marketed in the US by the son of one of the chief researchers.

    and the funny thing is, they were voltage-limited supplies, they would all have to be rewired into current-limiting units on receipt by the father.

    at tha
  • Oh, heck. It's easier than that.

    I am familiar with a business that gets all its IT services through a one-man contracting operation. It's in the contract that this guy will provide them with all their hardware, at a 5% markup over his cost. So instead of just telling them what to buy and letting them call up Insight or whomever, he buys it for them, tacks on 5%, and gives them the bill.

    The value-add is pretty near nil, but the cost add really lines the guy's pocket.
    • I am familiar with a business that gets all its IT services through a one-man contracting operation. It's in the contract that this guy will provide them with all their hardware, at a 5% markup over his cost. So instead of just telling them what to buy and letting them call up Insight or whomever, he buys it for them, tacks on 5%, and gives them the bill.

      If someone said in a project I was to buy them hardware, I'd charge a fee too. Otherwise, they can go spend their own time buying the hardware.

      Or if I call
      • Some payment for his expertise in product selection is of course reasonable. But that's not how this is structured.

        All this guy is doing is adding an unnecessary layer to the transaction and driving up the end-user's cost. I have other reasons to think that he's milking this particular cash cow that I won't go into here. Suffice it to say that he has found several ways to profit by his customer's continued ignorance, and he acts to keep them in the dark rather than educate them. (The customer probably shoul
        • I once had the opportunity to attend a technology resellers workshop (think barcode scanners, RF terminals, etc.) and sat in on a consulting lecture where the theme, printed big & bold on a banner, was basically "Customer Ignorance = Profit Opportunity". I felt like a sheep in wolf's clothing, having snuck into the wolf den. I can't say I was surprised at the message, but the frank and open manner in which the resellers talked about exploiting customer ignorance was astounding.
    • Only 5%? Sounds like they got a very good deal. Most will add 20% to 33%.
  • Wow. How audacious is it to hold your first "shadow company" meeting in the board room of the company you're ripping off.

    Talk about hubris!
  • How many of you are posting from work?? Come on, we all know who we are.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      But it wouldn't be comparable to these examples of procurement fraud unless we said reading /. was essential to do our job, we needed to pay a subscription to read /., that the money had to be sent to "slashdot, Inc.", we were the ones who approved the purchase order, and we happened to own the company to which the money was sent.

      Of course, if you described it as a "Real-time, mission-critical IT security news service", or something like that, you might be able to get someone else to sign for it.
    • All consultant on my company (me included) are required by policy to read slashdot daily. It is considered an important part of the "staying up-to-date" methodology.
    • I can't speak for anybody else, but I won't even read Slashdot at work. Not even at lunch. If I did, I'd get tempted to do it on company time, and for me, at least, that Just Isn't Right. I'm not saying that those of you who do are wrong, just that I wouldn't feel right about it. (I work in tech support, and not only have to take calls, I have to reseearch them and make call-backs. Reading Slashdot takes time that should be going to help customers. I suppose if I were a programmer, reading it during l
      • I did tech support. I never use the internet at all unless its work related. I felt too paranoid all the time about my perception and handle time statistics when I am on the phone.

        It seems teh lower your job the harder you work and the most that is expected of you. When I was an intern lan admin I went on slashdot all the time. Not excessively but every few hours I would check if I wasn't too busy with anything or waiting for a meeting or something.

        If your a director then you can be on slashdot all day long
      • When I was an independant contractor I wouldn't bill for the hour I spent on Slashdot. Management seemed to like the fact that I was on-site for longer then I was billing.

        Now that I'm salary, I don't care. After all, I'm salary, and my employer has a vested intrest in keeping me up-to-date.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    There's finally an article that can improve my bottom line.
  • While this is a new 'high techy' way of scamming money, it's just another example of the old adage: "Abuse of power comes as no surprise [snacc.mb.ca]" - Jenny Holzer (American, born 1950)

    "...Abuse of Power Comes as No Surprise is one of Holzer's Truisms first published in l977. [...] Holzer's Truisms, first published in l977 include such politically charged statements as ABUSE OF POWER COMES AS NO SURPRISE, EVERYONE'S WORK IS EQUALLY IMPORTANT and MOST PEOPLE ARE NOT FIT TO RULE THEMSELVES."

    All ideals that are apt today
  • that scam others in wake of a national tragedy. Those people that claimed they died in 9/11, the people that scammed 1.5 billion from the hurricane. Hell, the politicians that claimed they needed hurricane money in Utah.
    • Cant we just execute people that scam others in wake of a national tragedy. Those people that claimed they died in 9/11, the people that scammed 1.5 billion from the hurricane.

      The people that claimed that Iraq was involved in 9/11, the people that wiretap tens of thousands of phones in America, the people that use secretive government agencies to collect information on Americans ...

      Ah, you get the idea.
  • From the Canadian case:
    'should anyone such as the HP account rep question Champag[n]e too closely about his dealings, he would tell them "that the work was confidential and in the interest of national security," '

    Secrecy corrupts. If someone says "national security" too often they are covering up something foul.

    The converse is the New York case:
    "an unnamed employee in the medical examiner's office alerted the Department of Investigation's Zander"
    Keep an open channel for whistleblowers. You'll never get this
    • Like the 19 CIA agents who went to Italy to kidnap a radical Islamic cleric. They stayed in luxury hotels and ran up huge tabs (ok, maybe small tabs, but $100,000 is huge to me). As if they were all motherfucking James Bond or something. I think it is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to "black" operations and "classified" stuff done in the name of "national security". I'm not going to link an article, do a search for CIA +luxury hotels +Italy and come to your own conclusions. Why do CIA agents need
  • I work for a metadata management company providing search capabilities for various information assets. You would be amazed at how long it takes for a simple implementation of our systems within larger corporations. We are talking of timeframes ranging anywhere from 3 months to 3 years. Many of these deals end up in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, and it is obvious to us that the reason it takes so long is because companies need to keep a very close eye on these types of things to avoid issues such
  • ...and to my knowledge they still don't know it ever happened.

    I left there about 5 years ago, but one of my close friends who remained there worked in finance and a year after I left she uncovered a scam run by the CIO, one of his underlings, and a vendor on the outside. It was pretty simple and had apparently been going on for some time even before I left. Basically, it was just a matter of phony invoices coming in from the vendor, for equipment that was not needed nor delivered. The CIO and his underling signed off on the invoices and they were paid, and presumably some of the money that went to the vendor found its way back to the CIO and his underling. My friend quietly followed the paper trail and was able to determine that the scheme netted somewhere in the mid six figures, over just how long a period I don't remember.

    I would like to mention that the CIO's underling was an empire-building, micromanaging bitch that was hated by everyone who was under her, which unfortunately included me. She would cover her own ass and happily throw anyone else under the bus she could to solidify her own position. I ended up having to report to her for a period when my boss left the company, until a replacement was found. Having to deal directly with her was a major reason why I left the company.

    The above paragraph is just to give you a feel for the fervor with which I pleaded with my friend to assemble all the evidence of wrongdoing and present it to the CFO. She surrepetitiously made copies of everything and kept the folder around, but never did blow the whistle. I suppose she figured it might come in handy as a bargaining chip someday if they ever tried to pin anything on her. It's a real shame, because nothing would have pleased me more than for my friend to have taken that bitch down. Oh, well.

    ~Philly
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...a friend and I worked at a .com way back when. We knew that we had a couple of high end graphics cards sitting in the basement that were never going to get used by the company, but would add some new life to our boxes. Since no one but myself went down to the basement much, my friend and I decided that we would go down there on Friday afternoon, grab them, and then leave for the day... no one would ever know.

    So of COURSE as we are on the elevator going down, the CEO gets on with us, and asks where w
  • I'll start defrauding my employer as soon as I figure out how to charge them for open source software...
  • That sounds like the same scam as the office worker who places an order with Quill, then refuses to share the cookies that come in with the order...
  • This bit from TFA about the ERCOT scandal here in Texas shows why the Supreme Court's recent weakening of whistleblower protections, plus Yahoo & Co's willingness to turn over customer records, combines to be a really Bad Thing.

    Still, Shoquist and the others might never have been apprehended had it not been for several whistle-blowers within ERCOT.

    Beginning in late 2004, these employees e-mailed members of the Texas Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and Randy Chapman, executive director of the Texas Leg

  • A long time ago in a job far away I had a IT Manager who would buy all sorts of stuff from Computer Associates every time they took him out to a fancy dinner and a ball game.
  • Hey, fair is fair (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Opportunist (166417) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @02:28PM (#15542103)
    If it's fair for management to rip their company off, why shouldn't the IT grunts?
  • I had purchasing power at a tech job, and tens of thousands of dollars worth of equipment passed through my office on a monthly basis. I ended up getting *fired* on the suspicion of stealing a $90 ZIP drive, because I made the mistake of auditing our stock and realizing that it had been stolen. Had I said nothing I would've been fine. Lesson? Honesty is for suckers. To think...I could've had a cluster of SGI workstations (it was 1999, give me a break).
  • ... I didn't see one reference anywhere to Counterstrike servers...

    Okay back to .. uh .. work. *grin*

  • by edbarbar (234498)

    Perhaps the most galling case involves a director in the New York City Chief Medical Examiner's office who is accused of scamming FEMA

    I didn't find this in the article, but let's see. New Orleans was built below sea level, and the problem was just a matter of time. The US government has decided to take my money to pay for the problems in New Orleans? That sounds like a scam in and of itself.

    Check out this opinion [nytimes.com]

    The basic point is that the US government is buying votes with your money, including subsidiz

    • New Orleans was built below sea level,

      No, New Orleans was not built below sea level. It was built above sea level, and sunk. But, those with an agenda to push don't ever bother to try for accuracy. The inflamatory lies are much better for getting people riled up to be blind to the hidden agenda. The government is incompetent enough (though often less incompetent than the private sector), you don't need to spread lies to make them look worse.
  • The other day, i took a piece of A3 paper and ...
    ... made a paper plane ...
    ... for my own personnal enjoyement ...
    ... not company business.

    I'm turning myself up for using company resources for personal benefict.
    Maybe they'll be lenient - the paper was already printed on one side.

  • I have been in different companies and someone has to have access as an administrator to install everything. Then again, a lot of management doesn't know what is going on at the IT department and just approves everything 1999 style.

    I just changed a few fields in the database I was installing and now my domain name is registered until 2099.

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