Call it fraud done by bits and bytes, sometimes by ostensibly friendly means. In Australia, roughly half of firms have encountered cybercrime, as the dark web has offered conduits to ply payments and other fraud.
To that end, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) said in a report that customer fraud is the leading economic crime in the country, as 45 percent of firms have been attacked through such methodologies through the past two years. That tally comes in tandem with an economic crime survey that shows the dark web as breeding ground for bad guys to use fake documentation to defraud businesses.
The technologies are also becoming more sophisticated and effective, said the firm. Against that backdrop, the bad guys come posing as customers, employees or suppliers and find their ways into the victims, and the tools available on the dark web are both cheaper and more effective.
Separately and in individual examples of payments fraud, a former Massachusetts state police officer was arrested last week in a state investigation that is continuing, tied to overtime fraud. Daren DeJong was arrested and appeared in federal court after being charged with embezzlement from the department.
The allegations state that the retired officer departed from shifts early (as much as seven hours early) or did not do work that had been required. He had been charged, too, with submitting traffic citations that were altered to look like they had happened during the shift, or (allegedly) submitted citations that were never issued. Of the $179,000 earned by DeJong in 2016, $14,000 was connected to the shifts that had been marked by those fraudulent activities. The arrest comes about a month after three other retired officers were arrested for the same crimes.
Elsewhere in New England, a Connecticut investment professional faces fraud charges tied to allegations that he took $19 million in client assets into unsuitable investments and concealed commissions. The advisor, George L. Taylor, and his firm, Temenos Advisory, were charged by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for violating requirements to hold client interests first — known as fiduciary duty — and to detail commissions. In some cases, the allegations stated, the advisor and the firm collected commissions from a number of private placement companies, which meant acting illegally as an unregistered broker-dealer.
In Florida, a former city employee of Clearwater was arrested in connection with allegedly stealing $148,000 from the Parks and Recreation Department. That former employee, Robert Carpenter, was accused of taking cash payments from a concessionaire and soccer field, and for stealing cash from events. The thefts go back nearly six years, according to ABC Action News. Carpenter did not provide receipts for the cash he took, according to the allegations.
In an example of alleged insurance fraud in New York, CRV Precast Construction LLC and six employees have been indicted for falsifying information about payroll and employees, according to reports. In some cases, the indictment in the state Supreme Court alleged, in connection with insurance fraud, wage theft occurred.
A joint investigation — led by the Construction Fraud Task Force of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, and the New York City Department of Investigation (DOI) — states that CRV underpaid more than $400,000 in insurance premiums and did not pay prevailing wages. The report noted that CRV had been hired two years ago on a federally funded project that required ironworkers and concrete laborers, and involved remodeling a medical form into affordable housing for senior citizens.
By misclassifying the workers, said the suit, the firm paid lower wages and stole as much as $40,000 from at least four workers. By filing false payroll information, the firm was also able to pay lower insurance premiums, underpaying the New York State Insurance Fund (NYSIF) as much as $380,000 for the insurance coverage that was provided.