Archive for the ‘crime’ Category

NICB Reports 20 Percent Rise in Mid-Year 2012 Questionable Claims

September 2, 2012 Comments off

NICB Reports 20 Percent Rise in Mid-Year 2012 Questionable Claims

 Source:  National Insurance Crime Bureau
The National Insurance Crime Bureau today released its first half 2012 questionable claims (QC) referral reason analysis. The report examines six referral reason categories of claims—property, casualty, commercial, workers’ compensation, vehicle and miscellaneous—for the first half of 2010, 2011 and 2012.
Questionable claims are claims that NICB member insurance companies refer to NICB for closer review and investigation based on one or more indicators of possible fraud. A single claim may contain up to seven referral reasons.
During the first half of 2010, a total of 46,766 QCs were referred. That number increased to 48,887 in the first half of 2011 and to 58,523 in the first half of 2012. There was a 20 percent increase in QCs during the first half of 2012 compared with 2011, and a 25 percent increase when compared with the first half of 2010.
Suspicious theft/loss (non-vehicle) generated the largest increase in volume for a single referral reason in property QCs (5,255) and contributed to the property category’s 40 percent rise in QCs compared to the first half of 2011. The miscellaneous QC category posted the smallest increase—10 percent—compared with the first half of 2011.

NICB Names 10 Most-Stolen Vehicles for 2011

August 31, 2012 Comments off

NICB Names 10 Most-Stolen Vehicles for 2011Source: National Insurance Crime Bureau

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) today released Hot Wheels − its list of the 10 most-stolen vehicles in the United States. The report examines vehicle theft data submitted by law enforcement to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and determines the vehicle make, model and model year most reported stolen in 2011.

For 2011, the most-stolen vehicles* in the nation were:

1. 1994 Honda Accord
2. 1998 Honda Civic
3. 2006 Ford Pickup (Full Size)
4. 1991 Toyota Camry
5. 2000 Dodge Caravan
6. 1994 Acura Integra
7. 1999 Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)
8. 2004 Dodge Pickup (Full Size)
9. 2002 Ford Explorer
10. 1994 Nissan Sentra

A Transactional Genealogy of Scandal: From Michael Milken to Enron to Goldman Sachs

August 23, 2012 Comments off

A Transactional Genealogy of Scandal: From Michael Milken to Enron to Goldman Sachs
Source: Social Science Research Network

Three scandals have fundamentally reshaped business regulation over the past thirty years: the securities fraud prosecution of Michael Milken in 1988, the Enron implosion of 2001, and the Goldman Sachs “Abacus” enforcement action of 2010. The scandals have always been seen as unrelated. This Article highlights a previously unnoticed transactional affinity tying these scandals together — a deal structure known as the synthetic collateralized debt obligation (“CDO”) involving the use of a special purpose entity (“SPE”). The SPE is a new and widely used form of corporate alter ego designed to undertake transactions for its creator’s accounting and regulatory benefit.

The SPE remains mysterious and poorly understood, despite its use in framing transactions involving trillions of dollars and its prominence in foundational scandals. The traditional corporate alter ego was a subsidiary or affiliate with equity control. The SPE eschews equity control in favor of control through pre-set instructions emanating from transactional documents. In theory, these instructions are complete or very close thereto, making SPEs a real world manifestation of the “nexus of contracts” firm of economic and legal theory. In practice, however, formal designations of separateness do not always stand up under the strain of economic reality.

When coupled with financial disaster, the use of an SPE alter ego can turn even a minor compliance problem into scandal because of the mismatch between the traditional legal model of the firm and the SPE’s economic reality. The standard legal model looks to equity ownership to determine the boundaries of the firm: equity is inside the firm, while contract is outside. Regulatory regimes make inter-firm connections by tracking equity ownership. SPEs escape regulation by funneling inter-firm connections through contracts, rather than equity ownership.

The integration of SPEs into regulatory systems requires a ground-up rethinking of traditional legal models of the firm. A theory is emerging, not from corporate law or financial economics but from accounting principles. Accounting has responded to these scandals by abandoning the equity touchstone in favor of an analysis in which contractual allocations of risk, reward, and control operate as functional equivalents of equity ownership, and approach that redraws the boundaries of the firm. Transaction engineers need to come to terms with this new functional model as it could herald unexpected liability, as Goldman Sachs learned with its Abacus CDO.

Victimizations Not Reported To The Police, 2006-2010

August 17, 2012 Comments off

Victimizations Not Reported To The Police, 2006-2010

Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics

Presents findings, for a five-year period from 2006 to 2010, on the characteristics of crime victimizations that went unreported to police, according to data from the National Crime Victimization Survey. The characteristics examined in this report include the type of crime, whether it involved a weapon or injury, the victim-offender relationship, and demographic characteristics of the victim. For each of the characteristics examined, the report also details victims’ rationale for not reporting to the police, including beliefs that the police would not or could not help, that the crime was not important enough to report, or fear of reprisal or getting the offender into trouble. The report also examines trends from 1994 to 2010 in the types of crime not reported to the police and the reasons victimizations went unreported.

Highlights include the following:

  • From 1994 to 2010, the percentage of serious violent crime—rape or sexual assault, robbery, or aggravated assault—that was not reported to police declined from 50% to 42%.
  • From 2006 to 2010, the highest percentages of unreported crime were among household theft (67%) and rape or sexual assault (65%) victimizations, while the lowest percentage was among motor vehicle theft (17%) victimizations.
  • From 2006 to 2010, a greater percentage of victimizations perpetrated by someone the victim knew well (62%) went unreported to police, compared to victimizations committed by a stranger (51%).

New From the GAO

August 9, 2012 Comments off

New GAO Reports

Source: Government Accountability Office

1. Counternarcotics Assistance: U.S. Agencies Have Allotted Billions in Andean Countries, but DOD Should Improve Its Reporting of Results. GAO-12-824, July 10.
Highlights –

2. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families: More States Counting Third Party Maintenance of Effort Spending. GAO-12-929R, July 23.

Taking Charge: What to Do if Your Identity Is Stolen

August 7, 2012 Comments off

Taking Charge: What to Do if Your Identity Is Stolen (PDF)
Source: Federal Trade Commission

Identity theft happens when someone steals your personal information and uses it without your permission. It is a serious crime that can wreak havoc with your finances, credit history, and reputation – and it can take time, money, and patience to resolve. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, prepared this guide to help you repair the damage that identity theft can cause, and reduce the risk of identity theft happening to you.

If you suspect that someone has stolen your identity, acting quickly is the best way to limit the damage. Setting things straight involves some work. This guide has tips, worksheets, blank forms, and sample letters to guide you through the recovery process. It covers:

  • what identity theft victims must do immediately
  • what problems may crop up
  • how you can reduce your risk of identity theft

Measuring and Fingerprinting Click-Spam in Ad Networks

August 6, 2012 Comments off

Measuring and Fingerprinting Click-Spam in Ad Networks
Source: Microsoft Research

Advertising plays a vital role in supporting free websites and smartphone apps. Click-spam, i.e., fraudulent or invalid clicks on online ads where the user has no actual interest in the advertiser’s site, results in advertising revenue being misappropriated by click-spammers. While ad networks take active measures to block click-spam today, the effectiveness of these measures is largely unknown. Moreover, advertisers and third parties have no way of independently estimating or defending against click-spam.

In this paper, we take the first systematic look at click-spam. We propose the first methodology for advertisers to independently measure click-spam rates on their ads. We also develop an automated methodology for ad networks to proactively detect different simultaneous click-spam attacks. We validate both methodologies using data from major ad networks. We then conduct a large-scale measurement study of click-spam across ten major ad networks and four types of ads. In the process, we identify and perform in-depth analysis on seven ongoing click-spam attacks not blocked by major ad networks at the time of this writing. Our findings highlight the severity of the click-spam problem, especially for mobile ads.

The LIBOR Scandal The Fix Is In—the Bank of England Did It!

August 6, 2012 Comments off

The LIBOR Scandal The Fix Is In—the Bank of England Did It!
Source: Levy Economics Institute at Bard College

As the results of the various official investigations spread, it becomes more and more apparent that a large majority of financial institutions engaged in fraudulent manipulation of the benchmark London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) to their own advantage, and that bank management and regulators were unable to effectively monitor the activity of institutions because they were too big to manage and too big to regulate. However, instead of drawing the obvious conclusion—that structural changes are needed to reduce banks to a size that can be effectively regulated, as proposed on numerous occasions by the Levy Economics Institute—discussion in the media and political circles has turned to whether the problem was the result of the failure of central bank officials and government regulators to respond to repeated suggestions of manipulation, and to stop the fraudulent behavior.

Just as the “hedging” losses at JPMorgan Chase have been characterized as the result of misbehavior on the part of some misguided individual traders, leaving top bank management without culpability, politicians and the media are now questioning whether government officials condoned, or even encouraged, manipulation of the LIBOR rate, virtually ignoring the banks’ blatant abuse of principles of good banking practice. Just as in the case of JPMorgan, the only response has been to remove the responsible individuals, rather than questioning the structure and size of the financial institutions that made managing and policing this activity so difficult. Again, the rotten apples have been removed without anyone noticing that it is the barrel that is the cause of the problem. But in the current scandal, the ad hominem culpability has been extended to central bank officials in the UK and the United States.

A Primer for Mental Health Practitioners Working With Youth Involved in the Juvenile Justice System

July 30, 2012 Comments off

A Primer for Mental Health Practitioners Working With Youth Involved in the Juvenile Justice System (PDF)
Source: Technical Assistance Partnership for Child and Family Mental Health

Many mental health practitioners were trained in programs or at a time when very little attention was paid during the course of training to youth involved in the juvenile justice system. For a variety of reasons, general clinical training does not ordinarily equip a mental health practitioner to operate within the juvenile justice context. Practitioners who have been trained within more recently developed programs with a “forensic” emphasis may be more familiar with adults within the criminal justice system than with juveniles, more focused upon technical assessments, such as competency to stand trial, than upon youth-specific developmental and functional assessments, or relatively unfamiliar with the emerging literature regarding youth with mental health needs who have had contact with the juvenile justice system or penetrated to its deeper end programs.

This paper provides an overview for mental health practitioners who provide professional services to youth who are involved with the juvenile justice system. This overview emphasizes emerging research and practices, the emerging conceptualization of trauma and its implications for youth involved with the juvenile justice system, and implications for policy and practice. While primarily intended for mental health professionals working within system of care communities or interested in developing a system of care collaboration in their area, this paper is relevant for any mental health practitioner providing professional services to youth involved or at risk of involvement in the juvenile justice system. It is also relevant for juvenile court and juvenile justice professionals whose work brings them into contact with youth with significant mental health needs.

FTC Alerts Consumers Who Want to Help Colorado Movie Theater Shooting Victims

July 27, 2012 Comments off

FTC Alerts Consumers Who Want to Help Colorado Movie Theater Shooting Victims

Source: Federal Trade Commission

The Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency, has tips for anyone who may want to donate money to the victims and families of the Aurora, Colorado, movie theater shooting.

One opportunity for giving, the Aurora Victim Relief Fund, has been established by Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper and the Community First Foundation to meet immediate and long-term needs of victims and their families. Donations are being accepted through the Foundation’s program, which describes how various nonprofit organizations are offering direct support to those affected.

Unfortunately, legitimate charities face competition from fraudsters who either solicit for bogus charities or aren’t entirely honest about how a so-called charity will use your contribution. It’s wise to be wary of charities that spring up overnight in connection with current events, like the theater shooting.

Urgent appeals for aid that you get in person, by phone or mail, by e-mail, on websites, or on social networking sites may not be on the up-and-up. The agency’s Charity Checklist has tips for guidance on donating wisely.

CA — Police-reported crime statistics, 2011

July 26, 2012 Comments off

Police-reported crime statistics, 2011
Source: Statistics Canada

The police-reported crime rate, which measures the overall volume of crime, continued its long-term downward trend in 2011, declining 6% from 2010. The Crime Severity Index, which measures the severity of crime, also fell 6%.

Fraud Insights Derived from Stories of Auditors of Financial Institutions

July 25, 2012 Comments off

Fraud Insights Derived from Stories of Auditors of Financial Institutions (PDF)

Source:  Journal of Forensic & Investigative Accounting
For decades, fraud information was difficult to find, as companies would shy away from the negative publicity associated with fraud (Albrecht and Schmoldt, 1988). As a result of SAS 99, auditors now consider and test for fraud; prior to SAS 99, the auditor’s obligation was to inform management if fraud was found during the ordinary course of the audit (AICPA, 2002). The use of non-financial performance measures can serve as a tool for fraud discovery (Brazel, Jones, and Zimbelman, 2009), which suggests that fraud scenarios are not always foretold by mere numbers or financial statistics alone. Much can be learned from a review of real world fraud cases.
The analysis of fraud risk factors is a proactive audit tool in today’s environment. The current study used hindsight to analyze fraud risk factors from a convenience sample of one audit partner’s recollections of the financial institutional environment of credit unions. The first part of the study used content analysis to uncover emerging themes in a sort of ethnographic study of five fraud and five non-fraud stories pertaining to credit unions. Only after this part was completed was a more grounded audit tool utilized to expand the qualitative study. The tool was a published fraud risk assessment checklist that was applied to the fraud stories. The research question of interest in this study was how can the frequency and patterns of fraud risk factors tell us about the likelihood of fraud in the form of misappropriation of assets? Secondly, what lesson or moral of the story emerge that are relevant to auditors, management, and perpetrators?

Solving Sexual Assaults: Finding Answers Through Research

July 24, 2012 Comments off

Solving Sexual Assaults: Finding Answers Through Research (PDF)
Source: National Institute of Justice Journal

It has been a headline-making story for the past few years: thousands of sexual assault evidence kits — untested — in police storage. In a few jurisdictions, lawmakers have responded to the outcry from victims and victim advocates by mandating that kits in all alleged sexual assaults be DNA tested.

But what do we know, empirically, about the value of DNA testing large numbers of sexual assault kits (SAKs) that have long been held in police property rooms? And what do we know, empirically, about the crime-solving utility of testing kits in all alleged sexual assaults?

One thing we know is that the probative value of forensic evidence in any crime, including sexual assault, depends largely on the circumstances of the case — pivotal in one, less important in another. If the perpetrator is a stranger to the victim, a DNA profile can be crucial in identifying the suspect and adjudicating the case. However, at least half of sexual assault victims know the perpetrator’s identity; if he admits sexual contact but claims it was consensual, DNA evidence may be of questionable value in adjudicating the case — although it could have value in uncovering serial so-called “acquaintance” rapes. And, finally, when sexual assault is perpetrated on a child, DNA evidence is vital in determining that a crime occurred.

Public Security Challenges in the Americas

July 21, 2012 Comments off

Public Security Challenges in the Americas
Source: Brookings Institution

Kevin Casas-Zamora and Lucía Dammert are right to call for a comprehensive approach to fighting crime in Latin America. The need to incorporate well-designed socio-economic approaches into anti-crime strategies applies not only to policies toward social phenomena such as Latin American youth gangs, but also to fighting organized crime. This is because large populations in Latin America in areas with inadequate or problematic state presence, great poverty, and social and political marginalization continue to be dependent on illicit economies, including the drug trade, for economic survival and the satisfaction of other socio-economic needs. For many, participation in informal economies, if not outright illegal ones, is the only way to assure their human security and provide any chance of their social advancement.

Full Text — Report of the Special Investigative Counsel Regarding the Actions of The Pennsylvania State University Related to the Child Sexual Abuse Committed by Gerald A. Sandusky

July 13, 2012 Comments off

Report of the Special Investigative Counsel Regarding the Actions of The Pennsylvania State University Related to the Child Sexual Abuse Committed by Gerald A. Sandusky (PDF)

Source: Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan, LLP (via

The most saddening finding by the Special Investigative Counsel is the total and consistent disregard by the most senior leaders at Penn State for the safety and welfare of Sandusky’s child victims. As the Grand Jury similarly noted in its presentment, there was no "attempt to investigate, to identify Victim 2, or to protect that child or any others from similar conduct except as related to preventing its re-occirence on University property."

See also: Penn State issues statement on Freeh report (Penn State Live)

FinCEN Assesses Suspicious Activity Involving Title and Escrow Companies

July 11, 2012 Comments off

FinCEN Assesses Suspicious Activity Involving Title and Escrow Companies

Source: Financial Crimes Enforcement Network

Pressing forward in its efforts to address a wide range of criminal risks, particularly in the residential real estate market, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) today released its first targeted study analyzing reports indicating suspicious activities involving the Real Estate Title and Escrow Industry.

The study identified thousands of instances where financial institutions, particularly banks and Money Services Businesses (MSBs), filed suspicious activity reports (SARs) involving title and escrow companies, often in connection with mortgage fraud. FinCEN does not currently require title and escrow companies themselves to file SARs, but many have reported suspicious activities by annotating the Report of Cash Payments Over $10,000 Received in a Trade or Business (FinCEN Form 8300) that they are required to file.

"This first baseline study will help inform our ongoing efforts to identify regulatory gaps that criminals look to take advantage of," said FinCEN Director James H. Freis, Jr. "We can now more efficiently and effectively address those gaps and mitigate those risks through public awareness, support to law enforcement, or appropriate regulatory action."

+ Full Report (PDF)

Neighborhood Crime and Transit Station Access Mode Choice

July 11, 2012 Comments off

Neighborhood Crime and Transit Station Access Mode Choice

Source: Transportation Research Board

There are considerable environmental and public health benefits if people choose to walk, bicycle, or ride transit, instead of drive. Threats posed by possible criminal activity in a person’s home neighborhood can play a major role in their decision to drive, take transit, walk or ride a bicycle, even over short distances. The findings of Phase 2 of this research suggest that walking and bicycling trips–often shorter distance trips than auto or transit trips–are particularly sensitive to neighborhood crime levels. Transit trips, on the other hand, appear to respond to neighborhood crime levels in a similar way to auto trips, wherein high crime neighborhoods appear to encourage transit mode choice. However, follow-up analysis performed for Phase 2 found that (though based on a small sample size) transit access trips (walking, bicycling or driving to a transit station) are sensitive to neighborhood crimes as well, wherein high crime neighborhoods discourage walking and bicycling transit access trips and encourage driving.

United States Peace Index 2012

July 10, 2012 Comments off

United States Peace Index 2012 (PDF)
Source: Institute for Economics and Peace

The United States Peace Index (USPI), produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), provides a comprehensive measure of U.S. peacefulness dating back to 1991. It also provides an analysis of the socio-economic measures that are associated with peace as well as estimates of the costs of violence and the economic benefits that would flow from increases in peace. This is the second edition of the U.S. Peace Index.

This year a Metropolitan Peace Index has also been produced which measures the peacefulness of 61 metropolitan statistical areas within the U.S. The USPI is based on the work of the Global Peace Index, the preeminent global measure of peacefulness, which has been produced by IEP every year since 2007.

The last twenty years have seen a substantial and sustained reduction in direct violence in the U.S. The homicide rate has halved since 1991, with a concurrent reduction in the violent crime rate from 748 to 399 violent crimes per 100,000 over this period. Although this trend seemed to be levelling off at the turn of the century, the last three years have seen successive improvements in peace.

The 2012 USPI results have also been correlated against a large secondary dataset of economic, educational, health, demographic, and social capital factors, in order to determine the environments which are most closely associated with peace in the U.S.

Although there was a strong relationship between the drop in crime and the increase in the incarceration rate in the 90s, this relationship is no longer evident with 27 states decreasing their incarceration rates while simultaneously experiencing reductions in their violent crime rates. Between 2000 and 2010, New York experienced a fall in violent crime and incarceration every year, as well as falls in its homicide rate.

Hard Core Drunk Driving: Community Supervision Guide

July 10, 2012 Comments off

Hard Core Drunk Driving: Community Supervision Guide (PDF)
Source: Century Council

The American Probation and Parole Association and the Century Council convened a group of community supervision and corrections experts to develop the “Hardcore Drunk Driving Community Supervision Guide: A Resource for Outlining Supervision Challenges, Effective Strategies, and Model Programs.” This guide combines the latest in evidenced-based supervision practices with treatment strategies known to work with alcohol involved and DUI/DWI offenders. The advisory group assembled to develop this guide began by identifying what would educate and benefit the community corrections field. To that end, the group identified supervision challenges, and where applicable possible solutions to those challenges, promising practices working in their jurisdictions, and an array of resources for community corrections practitioners and administrators to turn to for additional information and guidance.

In Search of a Job: Criminal Records as Barriers to Employment

July 7, 2012 Comments off

In Search of a Job: Criminal Records as Barriers to Employment
Source: National Institute of Justice

A new study shows that nearly one-third of American adults have been arrested by age 23.[ This record will keep many people from obtaining employment, even if they have paid their dues, are qualified for the job and are unlikely to reoffend. At the same time, it is the chance at a job that offers hope for people involved in the criminal justice system, as we know from research that stable employment is an important predictor of successful re-entry and desistance from crime.

Criminal records run the gamut — from one-time arrests where charges are dropped, to lengthy, serious and violent criminal histories. Most arrests are for relatively minor or nonviolent offenses. Among the nearly 14 million arrests recorded in 2009, only 4 percent were considered among the most serious violent crimes (which include murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault).

Another 10 percent of all arrests were for simple assault; these do not involve a weapon or aggravated injury but often include domestic violence and intimate partner violence. The remainder of the arrests in 2009 were for:

  • Property crimes, which accounted for 18 percent of arrests. These include burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, arson, vandalism, stolen property, forgery and counterfeiting, fraud and embezzlement.
  • Drug offenses, which accounted for 12 percent of arrests. These include production, distribution or use of controlled substances.
  • Other offenses, which accounted for 56 percent of all arrests. These include disorderly conduct, drunkenness, prostitution, vagrancy, loitering, driving under the influence and weapons violations.

Although many of these “other” offenses are for behaviors that harm the community, they do not constitute the most serious violent offenses of murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault.

Furthermore, what is often forgotten is that many people who have been arrested — and, therefore, technically have a criminal record that shows up on a background check — were never convicted of a crime. This is true not only among those charged with minor crimes, but also for many individuals arrested for serious offenses. A snapshot of felony filings in the 75 largest counties, for example, showed that approximately one-third of felony arrests did not lead to conviction.


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