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Arrest In $740M NYC Time and Attendance System Case

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the psst-your-power-trip-is-showing dept.

Crime 97

theodp writes "Mayor Bloomberg's perception of money, opines Gothamist's Christopher Robbins, is somewhat different than most non-billionaires. Just hours before the leader in the city's $740 million CityTime web-based time and attendance boondoggle was arrested for allegedly taking $5M in kickbacks, Bloomberg said on his weekly radio program that 'we actually did a pretty good job here, in retrospect.' Overshooting the projected $68M it would cost, adds Robbins, 'pretty much sounds like the exact opposite of a 'pretty good job'.' A US Attorney said SAIC Project Manager Gerald Denault was charged with accepting more than $5M in kickbacks laundered through international shell companies while steering more than $450M of city funds to the tech company behind the kickbacks. In December, CityTime consultants were charged with stealing $80 million."

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for a project that size (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36280246)

That is actually a pretty decent outcome for an IT project that size.

Re:for a project that size (3)

sycodon (149926) | more than 3 years ago | (#36280368)

What size?

The number of people it serves is unrelated to IT effort. The only impact it has is on the number of servers and databases the data has to be hosted on. The actual software is the same...1000 or 50,000.

THREE QUARTERS of a BILLION DOLLARS. That's a staff of 100 people at $100,000 each for 75 years.

I did a T&A system all by myself in 6 months for a company of 10,000 in 16 divisions making only $40k a year (this was 15 years ago).

The whole thing is absolute B.S.

Re:for a project that size (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36280440)

I did a T&A system

Did you have to supply the tits and ass yourself?

Re:for a project that size (1)

sycodon (149926) | more than 3 years ago | (#36280534)

I got to pick them out...the pimp supplied them.

Re:for a project that size (2)

gilleain (1310105) | more than 3 years ago | (#36280652)

I got to pick them out...the pimp supplied them.

Hopefully the details of said T&A were stored in some kind of database - or were there so many you had to use a data whorehouse?

Re:for a project that size (3, Funny)

sycodon (149926) | more than 3 years ago | (#36280666)

Yes, but not a relational data whorehouse...now that would just be creepy.

Re:for a project that size (1)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282230)

Well played, sir!

Re:for a project that size (4, Funny)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 3 years ago | (#36280676)

Some dude named Upgrayedd???

Re:for a project that size (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#36281174)

The number of people it serves is unrelated to IT effort.

No, but the number of categories of people do.

Given that this is a public sector project, the second number is likely to be close to the first. You probably don't have two people doing the same job being paid the same. Seniority, dog-walking leave, training absence... you name it, somebody gets it.

With 20 people, it might actually make sense to hardcode it. With a few thousand and arbitrarily complex (and possibly unknown) rules, you still might have to. Ouch.

Re:for a project that size (1)

sycodon (149926) | more than 3 years ago | (#36281206)

Who said anything about hard coding? All that kind of stuff is in the maintenance tables. Each organizational group sets their own parameters and the software acts accordingly.

Re:for a project that size (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36281696)

Ah, the Inner Platform Effect [thedailywtf.com] .

In my experience, there's no point in designing customisation tables because the first thing they'll want to customise is something you didn't think of so you have to re-code anyway.

Re:for a project that size (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 3 years ago | (#36288056)

In my experience, you make the configuration tables so that the customer stops asking for changes. If an element is not configurable they will feel that it MUST be changed for acceptance. If it is configurable, they will be content with whatever it is when they see it. So, it isn't so much that they really want it changes as it is that they want to know they can change it. They just don't realize it.

Re:for a project that size (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#36295636)

But you can only build into your table the things you know about, and it's only worth doing that for the attributes that are frequently used. There'll always be something else, some edge case. Always.

I think it's a control/power thing. They want to see the system (and the developer) bowing to their whims.

Re:for a project that size (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 3 years ago | (#36298458)

It is a power thing. It is also a way for them to put work "they" performed on their year end reviews. Part of being a good software designer is to anticipate what they will request, and making those configurable so that you can stop scope creep from killing a project. Three or four design change requests that can be responded with "That's a great idea. We have that configurable, so you can implement that in your installation.", validates their ideas while derailing the attempt to change the code.

Re:for a project that size (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#36295520)

For that you need to be able to distill out all the rules. Sometimes they won't tell you why Fred (and Fred alone) is allowed to turn up late the day after a Mets game and gets every third Wednesday off if the date is an odd number. Or they don't know. Or the answer is "he just does" or "he always has".

So what do you do, create a table with one row in it, the one for Fred?

Re:for a project that size (1)

sycodon (149926) | more than 3 years ago | (#36302688)

You create a table with many rows...all exceptions to the rules. Let the users configure it.

Out of control users is no excuse. And if things like that ARE the problem, then each and every issue that caused a delay, extra coding, etc. should be well documented.

This whole thing seems like a combination of a House or Horrors, Al Capone gangsters, and the Keystone Cops.

Re:for a project that size (1)

wwphx (225607) | more than 3 years ago | (#36293998)

I helped develop a payroll database pre-process for a police department, it took overtime and leave forms used by everyone in the PD and turned it in to codes used by the City's mainframe payroll system to cut checks. There were four different union contracts plus the standard city hourly/salary. The city brought in a Peoplesoft system and they wanted to integrate our pre-process into their system. We met with them and walked through how the contracts worked. It was such a joy to watch their happy faces get progressively more and more grim as we drilled in to the details and the Peoplesoft people just kept repeating "we can't do that."

I can definitely understand how complicated city payroll can be, but I don't understand how how they could let a project get so ridiculously out of control. I wonder if graft like this is typical of east coast government.

Re:for a project that size (2)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282770)

You must be kidding. The amount of money that was stolen outright exceeded the entire original budget! Then the actual project cost over 10 times that budget AND in spite of being a well understood task, the system is so complex that nobody but the overbloated consultancy that produced it can even run it.

The whole thing should have cost about 18 million. 6 for the software and 12 more to process the usual government paperwork to make sure nobody not in the club absconds with the 6.

Corruption in NY (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#36280290)

...corruption in NY politics? What a surprise! The amazing thing is that SAIC managed to get a contract with the MTA after the reports of the CityTime corruption came out.

Re:Corruption in NY (3, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36280394)

This is SAIC we are talking about. Corruption, regulatory capture, and general parasitism-on-dodgy-private-contract-projects are basically their business model.

Re:Corruption in NY (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#36280880)

This is SAIC we are talking about. Corruption, regulatory capture, and general parasitism-on-dodgy-private-contract-projects are basically their business model.

Wait. What? That's the business model for the US Senate.

Re:Corruption in NY (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36280952)

Which is why SAIC is #9(FY 2009 data) among federal contractors...

Re:Corruption in NY (1)

Pinky's Brain (1158667) | more than 3 years ago | (#36285866)

It always seems to me that the US is the most corrupt first world country in the world.

You see stories like this and about a congressman throwing in an earmark for a company his uncle owns for millions of dollars and it's just taken as normal procedure ... unfortunate, but nothing to get any politician fired over. In the UK parliamentarians step down for dodgy expense claim of 10s of thousands of pounds ... in the US you get to hand out millions and get off scot free.

Re:Corruption in NY (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36289318)

not news,but a lamentable state of affairs.

"Congress is the only inherent criminal class in America." - Mark Twain

"The United States has the best Congress money can buy." - Will Rogers

Re:Corruption in NY (1)

idontliketosleep (2211678) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282878)

The problem is people that have qualities that make them charismatic leaders will, get them in positions of power. With that, comes all to often, distorted morals and ethics that do not reflect those they are representing or working for. It's a age old problem. I am sure there were some guys in a cave 10k yeas ago. Thinking Urock he is a nice guy but why does he still have meat from that last kill, and I am eating nuts.

Re:Corruption in NY (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36285334)

The $5mm bribe for a $500mm is unbelievably low. There's more slush out there being used to cover tracks.

Re:Corruption in NY (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36308520)

$5mm? $500mm? Millimeter dollars? Wow those would be hard to keep track of.

I will save them $740 million.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36280318)

Open source time and attendance [timetrex.com] , including payroll.

Re:I will save them $740 million.... (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#36280908)

Does it cover every union agreement, allowance, special case and other "Spanish practices" [wikipedia.org] - and all the exceptions, addenda and provisos pertaining thereto - in force with public employees in NYC at the moment?

I doubt it does, because from what I've been told, there's nobody alive who could tell you what they all are.

Re:I will save them $740 million.... (2)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 3 years ago | (#36281454)

Holy cow, you UK guys get paid for everything! I can't imagine ever getting paid overtime just because I finished my days work early. Heck, you can get in trouble for that kind of thing in the US.

Seize the $450M (2, Interesting)

crow (16139) | more than 3 years ago | (#36280340)

The law should be that if a company pays kickbacks to get a contract, they forfeit all proceeds from the contract. So if they bribe someone for a $450M contract, they then should be liable for the full amount. I'll talk to my state representative about that.

Re:Seize the $450M (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36280364)

I'll talk to my state representative about that.

You better accompany that talk with a million or two. Otherwise he'll laugh you out the door.

Re:Seize the $450M (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36280418)

Only the full amount?

Re:Seize the $450M (1)

crow (16139) | more than 3 years ago | (#36280474)

At least the full amount.

Re:Seize the $450M (2)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 3 years ago | (#36280640)

if the executives or owners know about it, why not convict them of organized crime, throw them in prison, liquidate the company? This would be great not only at the state level but federal government. We could take out the military-industrial complex and banking cartel, this is how those dirtbag operate with our lawmakers in their pockets.

Re:Seize the $450M (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36281704)

And all of those evil secretaries, programmers, accountants, HR people and IT workers who are happy to be employed can be thrown out in the street! FUCK YEAH THAT'S JUSTICE!

Don't be a dink. Prosecute those responsible, move on.

Re:Seize the $450M (1)

Sircus (16869) | more than 3 years ago | (#36285050)

Not to mention that if only the executives know about it, the shareholders or owners suddenly lose their entire investment - even though, if they'd known about the behaviour in question, they might have immediately terminated the executives in question and notified the authorities.

Punishing the innocent is something I often think of as best avoided.

Re:Seize the $450M (1)

drsquare (530038) | more than 3 years ago | (#36285136)

I believe that's categorised under 'tough shit'. They're already granted the incredible privilege of limited liability, allowing them to destroy the planet and walk away without paying a cent in compensation, now you want them to keep the value of their investments too?

Re:Seize the $450M (2)

Pinky's Brain (1158667) | more than 3 years ago | (#36285902)

Investors need to be punished when their governance is inadequate. Handing out punitive fines to real people but not to companies because it might hurt their poor employees and stock holders is a gross market distortion in favour of big companies.

Re:Seize the $450M (2)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 3 years ago | (#36287108)

supporting and investing in a company that steals and corrupts government and wastes taxpayers money is "being innocent"? better reset your values, pal. They *should* lose their stocks, the employees *should* lose their jobs so they can work somewhere else

Re:Seize the $450M (1)

Sircus (16869) | more than 3 years ago | (#36295888)

So, let's say you have a retirement fund. You pay in your $100/month or whatever. The fund manager invests some of the money in the fund in a company that's doing well, has a sound business model, etc. The executives of that company are, unbeknownst to the fund manager, paying kickbacks and engaging in other illegal behaviour. According to you and the OP, once this is found out, you lose a chunk of your retirement fund? How is that in any way related to any concept of justice? It doesn't matter whether the victims of the kickbacks are the taxpayers or anyone else, that's no good reason to create more victims by arbitrarily confiscating the assets of people who've done nothing more criminal than (in this example) saving for their retirement.

The people committing the crime should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. People who unwittingly provided the capital with which the crime was performed are innocent.

Re:Seize the $450M (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36299100)

If I'm an idiot and give my money to a fund manager who invest it so poorly it's used to commit fraud, then yes, I don't deserve to keep that money. This is capitalism, not some government retirement program. I agree losses should be limited to the investment when there was no knowledge of the fraud. Making a bad investment isn't about guilt or innocence. Losing money isn't a punishment, it's a fact of life.

Re:Seize the $450M (1)

Sircus (16869) | more than 3 years ago | (#36300424)

So it's capitalism, but you want the government to intervene to artificially increase losses by seizing assets? You believe in the free market, but don't believe it's able to punish companies who are fined or lose executives because of misbehavior?

I don't argue (and haven't argued) that the company shouldn't in some way be punished (the suggestion that the company loses all proceeds from a contract they won by kickbacks seems like a sensible starting point), only that rubycodez' suggestion that the company be liquidated was seriously ill-thought-through.

Re:Seize the $450M (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 3 years ago | (#36287074)

Yes, a company that steals and corrupts should be put out of business; and people should not work for them. Other companies will fill the void and those people can work for them.

Re:Seize the $450M (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 3 years ago | (#36288492)

You are why this stuff keeps happening. You encourage crime and corruption. Your statement is no better than saying. Don't put that serial rapist and murderer in jail because that would hurt his kids.

Re:Seize the $450M (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36280800)

Yep. If they can do it to foreign terrorist organizations at the drop of a hat, it shouldn't even require effort, for something within the country's borders. Weren't there recent mutterings of "economic terrorism" in the last year? Would this qualify?

For 740 Milion (2)

Cylix (55374) | more than 3 years ago | (#36280402)

Obviously the system has global multi-site datacenters, rfid implants, radioactive decay biometric rsa tokens and the system gives world class hand jobs.

Capital Offense (1)

schwit1 (797399) | more than 3 years ago | (#36280436)

Stealing from the taxpayer by government contractors or government bureaucrats is tantamount to treason.

Re:Capital Offense (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#36280558)

And just how do you propose to carry out the sentence? Soylent Green?

Re:Capital Offense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36280764)

I don't think that I'd want to eat a consultant; but we could probably achieve similar results by simply sentencing for the possession of however much cocaine the proceeds of their fraud could have purchased...

Re:Capital Offense (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282772)

I don't think that I'd want to eat a consultant; but we could probably achieve similar results by simply sentencing for the possession of however much cocaine the proceeds of their fraud could have purchased...

Make sure that is for buying rock, not powder.

Re:Capital Offense (3, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36283060)

If we just agreed to define, for judicial purposes, all white collar criminals as 300lb, tattooed, black men named "Tyrone"(with gang connections, if a corporation is involved), I suspect that the problem would take care of itself.

Re:Capital Offense (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 3 years ago | (#36280840)

I'm a fan of the classic "take them out back and shoot them" approach. A tall tree and a short rope would be fine as well.

No guillotines, though. Too hard to spell.

Re:Capital Offense (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#36281352)

no, snake tastes nasty

Re:Capital Offense (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36280606)

The constitution carefully incorporates a relatively narrow definition of what constitutes treason and broadening it would be both difficult and dangerous.

However, I think that moving toward a sentencing model for high-numbers white collar criminals that recognizes that they are that much more pernicious than the deeply-unsympathetic-but-really-rather-penny-ante blue collar set would be a wholesome development.

You can rack up fairly stiff sentences for frauds and property crimes with expected gains of $10,000 or less. If we started basing the sentences for the million+ set on multiples of those, we might see their numbers dwindle... In cases where conspiracies, shell companies, and the like, are involved, we could make a good start by simply adopting the same mindset that we have for street gangs to more upmarket criminal organizations.

Re:Capital Offense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36280758)

Yeah the rico laws and fraud laws should be able to take care of this one...

You are spot on. No need to go applying whatever favorite laws people have to something else.

Whomever did all this should loose their jobs and not have an opportunity to be in that or a similar position in the future. That would be a nice addition to this...

Re:Capital Offense (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#36280982)

Stealing from the taxpayer by government contractors or government bureaucrats is tantamount to treason.

I'm beginning to wonder if there are more than a dozen people on the Internet that know what treason is... Or possibly are sane.

What you've written is not only out to lunch, it indicates some sort of brain damage. Did you recently jab your finger to far up your nose?

Re:Capital Offense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36281952)

Stealing from the taxpayer by government contractors or government bureaucrats is normal business practice.

There, I fixed that for you.

Re:Capital Offense (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 3 years ago | (#36283858)

No, treason got redefined a few years back to beating a Russian at chess. Even selling weapons to terrorists that had previously killed US Marines was redefined as patriotism.

So... (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36280448)

I wonder how toothy the Bloomberg L.P. media coverage of this won't be?

Hello World (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36280516)

HELLO WORLD
38836 38836
HELLO WORLD
98481 98481 14101 14101 27700 27700 35003 35003 78743 78743
55984 55984 36482 36482 48376 48376 17577 17577 25568 25568
41432 41432 33120 33120 71600 71600 37482 37482 72016 72016
18165 18165 97172 97172 06235 06235 09179 09179 66815 66815
39131 39131 02234 02234 37138 37138 05015 05015 18609 18609
15481 15481 26568 26568 76909 76909 14869 14869 84844 84844
98467 98467 15173 15173 91438 91438 01957 01957 83393 83393
55263 55263 02335 02335 39565 39565 33152 33152 48263 48263
85656 85656 69752 69752 84232 84232 87361 87361 24560 24560
98390 98390 28772 28772 59461 59461 31312 31312 14942 14942
68574 68574 70946 70946 49109 49109 19694 19694 45323 45323
65157 65157 98866 98866 64012 64012 72983 72983
K-BYE

Solved problem (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 3 years ago | (#36280548)

Setting aside why anyone would need to spend that kind of money developing a time and attendance system, why not just buy an already established system? For example, web-based T&A systems are already used heavily in the federal government.

Re:Solved problem (1)

anegg (1390659) | more than 3 years ago | (#36280698)

Without claiming this is an excuse, the system was definitely not a simple web-based T&A system. Biometric data entry terminals were to be used in order to cut down on employee fraud, as I understand it. However, the actual cost seems so grossly in excess of the expected costs that this alone can't explain it.

Re:Solved problem - not for T&A system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36281080)

I'd like to know how they made the T part of the T&A system work for MEN employees? Probably didn't even handle implants properly.

Re:Solved problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36281086)

Biometric data entry terminals were to be used in order to cut down on employee fraud, as I understand it.

Biometrics proved inefficient for this purpose so they instead eliminated employee fraud by removing all available funds through contractor fraud. It was actually astonishingly successful.

Re:Solved problem (1)

dave562 (969951) | more than 3 years ago | (#36281374)

Oooooo, "biometric data entry terminals". That seems like an awfully fancy way of saying "hand scanners". One of the local manufacturing companies that I consulted for did that. It sure did not cost them $750 million dollars.

Re:Solved problem (1)

cheekyboy (598084) | more than 3 years ago | (#36286690)

let employees do fraud, id rather see the little common man get a little extra under the table, than see the big wigs pocket $80M +

Re:Solved problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36280774)

why not just buy an already established system

This is why:

$740 million

Re:Solved problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36285494)

A friend from high school that's working on this project claimed about 90% of the complexity came from union/collective bargaining rules. You have to remember that the pay for union thugs isn't as simple as multiplying the number of hours times the hourly rate like it is in an honest organization. Where I work now, there are two rules for normal employees (pay= rate * hours unless it's a weekend then you get 1.5 * rate) while union employees have more than 90 factors that can affect their pay.

Why am I so not surprised about SAIC... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36280554)

Could someone please point me to something they've actually DONE? I mean something that works, and actually performs a physical task? I was with a friend of mine, and I met their CTO a couple of years ago, and he asked me. "Do you think he's ever written a line of code? Soldered a board? Anything. What a technical Milquetoast". Franklin Antonio would have eaten his liver.

Re:Why am I so not surprised about SAIC... (0)

The Dawn Of Time (2115350) | more than 3 years ago | (#36280586)

What do you mean a physical task? That's a bizarre sort of restriction.

putting on a tie (2)

cheekyboy (598084) | more than 3 years ago | (#36286738)

for a govt job

I mean seriously, any decent programmer who can code well, cannot do this and would take him hours of hard labour.

Add a clean shirt, and pants, and the fact that you have to get up early 6am to get to work by 8am.

Thats just torture, I mean no real sane genius programmer can ever ever do that. NEVER.

Re:Why am I so not surprised about SAIC... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36280636)

Hey, be nice. Fraud is a physical task, right?

Re:Why am I so not surprised about SAIC... (3, Interesting)

anegg (1390659) | more than 3 years ago | (#36280790)

As an ex long-term employee of SAIC I can say that SAIC has done a lot of good work in many disciplines over the years. In my opinion, the company is not now the same as it originally was, however. It went from being a solely employee-owned company (and proud of it) to a public corporation with almost entirely new management team. The transition started happening around 2003 or 2004 or so, I think (SAIC began trading its stock publicly in the fall of 2006).

Having said that, I'm aghast at the allegations over CityTime and the sheer size of what appears to be a giant debacle.

Re:Why am I so not surprised about SAIC... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36281004)

"Good work". I contracted there 20 years ago, and I saw people sleeping in the office, subcontracts cut with little or nothing to show for it, meetings with a dozen people and 2 who actually did any work. I went from there to Microsoft, and it was like going from Soviet Russia to the US. If you've ever done the transition from government contractor to commercial company, your perspective would change dramatically. Microsoft may have its problems now, but I'd put 1/10 the number of developers there against any team I saw at SAIC.

Great job on the FBI Virtual Case File System. If you guys had actually gotten it together, it might have prevented 9/11. The FBI just got a lot of paper for $700 million.

The time has come to remove the term white collar (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36280788)

When will we put the upper class in with the gereral population. I have a feeling a lot of this kind of this type of corruption (stealing) will stop . A guy rob's a store get $150 and does not hurt anyone and get 15y. This guy is taking money from the city budget, and we end up with more budget cuts that hurt the most in need. Put his ass in very small a cell with a guy that greats him "Boy, I bet you make a nice tossed salad"

Re:The time has come to remove the term white coll (4, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | more than 3 years ago | (#36281558)

Will that lead to a reduction in crime?
Or is it perhaps not a reduction in crime you're after, but base revenge?

The problem isn't the severity of the punishment (except that it's too hard for other crimes - there's a strong correlation between severity of punishment and recidivism), but the feeling these people have that they can get away with it, and not face a court at all. Because most of the time, they can, and don't.

Let's put it this way: Would you pick up a suitcase full of money if there was a 1% risk of getting caught? Would it change your decision if the penalty was increased from 2 years in jail to 10 years? Nah, didn't think so. But what if the risk of getting caught was much higher, say 25%? Would that change it?

Strip away all protections companies have that were meant for individuals only. And have any investment that balloons to more than, say, 125% of the inflation adjusted original be automatically subject to federal investigation. Yes, it will require more people. Some of the unemployed would welcome that. And it would save money.

Re:The time has come to remove the term white coll (1)

The Dawn Of Time (2115350) | more than 3 years ago | (#36281908)

Yeah, lets give more money to the government to stop the government from foolishly spending too much money on wasteful things! It's sheer genius.

Re:The time has come to remove the term white coll (2)

arth1 (260657) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282086)

Qui custodet custodien?

Who else can oversee government than another branch of government?
You sure can't, because if you found anything wrong, you would have no power to change anything.
Businesses can't, because they don't have any power either, and worse, they have a legal obligation to their shareholders to maximize profits, even if that money comes from the tax payers.

Yes, people in government can be greedy bastards. No doubt about that. But business leaders are greedy bastards -- it's their job.

Break the ties between the two, and you lessen the risk.
Even if it means empowering another branch of government.

Re:The time has come to remove the term white coll (1)

The Dawn Of Time (2115350) | more than 3 years ago | (#36285822)

That's a brilliant plan right up until you run out of perfect people, but please, go ahead stating it like it's the obvious answer instead of the problem itself. After all, if we just trust that the people in government will do the right thing, it should work, so lets just give them the power.

Re:The time has come to remove the term white coll (2)

idontliketosleep (2211678) | more than 3 years ago | (#36282758)

The problem is people that have qualities that make them charismatic leaders that, get them in positions of power. With that, comes all to often, no morals and ethics that reflect those they are representing or working for. Having grown up reading the Punisher comics. Wish he were real.

Re:The time has come to remove the term white coll (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 3 years ago | (#36285570)

The problem is people that have qualities that make them charismatic leaders that, get them in positions of power.

No, I believe that's the effect. The problem is idiots who base their votes on factors like charisma. Any old grandmother who votes for someone because "he has such a honest smile" or "he's a good christian" should be taken out and shot.
We don't let people out on the road without a driver's license, but we let them do something far more dangerous: vote.

The founding fathers had the right idea: Only let the elite vote. Unfortunately, they had a couple of bad apples who convinced them that how elite you were should be measured by wealth, and not education. By ensuring that the voters would be wealthy enough to buy politicians, this ensured that every politician since then has been bough and paid for. And sold to the masses who will vote for a smile.

Re:The time has come to remove the term white coll (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 3 years ago | (#36288856)

While I agree with you in principal. Our education standards are so poor that basing it on "education" would be just as bad. I have found that the overlap of knowledge and critical thinking between those that are "educated" and those that are not is so large as to be a useless measure. If you take out the top and bottom 10% of people based on knowledge, you would have a very hard time telling who was "educated", and who wasn't.

Re:The time has come to remove the term white coll (2)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#36283216)

If you can get white collar crime to face the same penalties (and the same prison conditions) as blue collar crime, you can expect shorter sentences and better conditions for all.

That is especially true if wealthy criminals are no more likely to go to the country club minimum security than poor criminals are.

Of course, just getting caught is only half of it. We have to make sure the "white collar" crime is actually prosecuted as well. A bunck of investment bankers screwed the entire world's economies for their personal gain and not one of them has gone to jail or even on trial.

Re:The time has come to remove the term white coll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36298626)

deterrent.

Re:The time has come to remove the term white coll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36281754)

The difference is that one uses the threat/act of violence to steal, the other does not. Moral relativism is bad, mmkay?

White collar crime does more damage than most (1)

idontliketosleep (2211678) | more than 3 years ago | (#36281062)

When will we put the upper class in with the gereral population. I have a feeling a lot of this kind of this type of corruption (stealing) will stop . A guy rob's a store get $150 and does not hurt anyone and get 15y. This guy is taking money from the city budget, and we end up with more budget cuts hurt the most in need. Put his ass in very small a cell with a guy that greats him "Boy, I bet you make a nice tossed salad"

Having worked for them (1)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 3 years ago | (#36281208)

A US Attorney said SAIC Project Manager Gerald Denault was charged with accepting more than $5M in kickbacks laundered through international shell companies while steering more than $450M of city funds to the tech company behind the kickbacks.

Having worked for them, I can totally see it happening. They are constantly yammering about ethics but I never saw much in the way of internal audits or investigations. Results apparently speak louder than web-based training modules.

Re:Having worked for them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36282034)

web-based training modules ...

These are just props that can be used to defend the company under just these circumstances - "we take ethics seriously and provide mandatory training in ethics for all employees, therefore any illegalities committed by employees are acts of lone bad apples, the corporate entity itself is clean" ... simple and relatively cheap to argue.

leeching money from the government (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36281572)

Bloomberg said on his weekly radio program that 'we actually did a pretty good job here, in retrospect.'

like all government contractors that jack up their prices 2 to 4 fold, they did remarkably well as they got more than 10x times their initial tender out of the process

M = million or thousand? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36282612)

I'm never sure anymore.

Not the first corrupt project for SAIC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36283860)

SAIC were prime contractor to the security systems for the 2004 Athens Olympics. The local contractor was Siemens (Greece) who in effect ran the whole project .

The rollout was a complete disaster and ended up being scrapped apart from the radio network which was finally accepted several years late. Since then the Siemens division has been in the press on a continuous basis as investigators unpick the 'payments' to various individuals for this and many other projects they were involved in. All started from the German investigations which traced Euro100M to a Jersey bank account under control of the management of the Greek division of Siemens. Search for "siemens olympic C4i investigation"[1] in Google for the glorious details.

At least Siemens weren't involved in the recent 'wobbly submarines'[2] scandal which resulted in at least Euro130M in kickbacks [3]. http://tinyurl.com/3ffmloa

[1] http://tinyurl.com/3t3oh4u
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Type_214_submarine#Greek_Navy_orders
[3] http://tinyurl.com/3ffmloa

While we're on the subject: (1)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 3 years ago | (#36284018)

Is there an open source project that helps track time for employees?

Maybe It's Me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36286896)

There have been times in my life when I was a land shark and have done some lousy things. But when i look at public officials I'm almost a saint. Frankly we need to throw away the key and put corrupt public employees so deep in our prisons that even their bones never see the sun again. There is one thing about life with no hope of parole. That is that you never have to worry about repeat offenders. And wouldn't it just send shock waves to other political and business leaders to see their peers tossed into a one way dungeon?

Wow. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36296718)

So it sounds like the City of New York could use some sort of time-keeping, accounting, and payroll software, to keep track of work and expenses.

$740 million for a TIMECLOCK? (1)

slashdotwannabe (938257) | more than 3 years ago | (#36301820)

What the hell? How does ANYONE justify spending that kinda change for a friggin' TIME CLOCK!
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