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Aerospace Corp Pays $2.5m To Settle Rogue Software Dev Case

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the should've-outsourced dept.

Software 129

chrb writes "U.S. company Aerospace Corp. has paid $2.5 million to settle a case that they defrauded the U.S. Air Force by knowingly billing for the services of a rogue software developer. The rogue developer, William Grayson Hunter, was being paid for two full time jobs at two different aerospace companies, but spent most of his time in bars, amusement parks and movie theaters. On some days, he billed his employers for over 24 hours' work."

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Creative billing (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38331434)

"On some days, he billed his employers for over 24 hours work."

Never challenge lawyers at their own game.

Re:Creative billing (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38331622)

Indeed, if one charges for an hour of one's time at minimum regardless of how long the task takes to complete, and completes 48 /separate/ pieces of billable work for different clients, I'd say that they should certainly bill for 48 hours in a 24 hour day as odd as that might sound. In other words, if you're paying by the rounded hour, get an estimate and save up stuff until you have at least an hours worth of work if you can help it.

Re:Creative billing (4, Insightful)

Iron Condor (964856) | more than 2 years ago | (#38331824)

There is, of course, the possibility that the man was just a good coder who was handed jobs that were bid as "six months of a full-time programmer" which he then slapped together in an afternoon of wild hacking and then just billed for the rest of the time while sitting in a bar. Pulling this off at two different employers at the same ime is impressive, but since employers don't exactly talk to each other who's just hired on I can easily see how one could fly under the radar like this.

Re:Creative billing (4, Interesting)

jroysdon (201893) | more than 2 years ago | (#38332052)

Some of the best ideas and designs start on napkins. Might have been research/think time.

If I'm solving a problem for a customer in the shower, should I not bill for that time if I'm getting results (especially when I'm holding down two jobs, and my personal time is where I fit my second job)? Granted, I shouldn't be able to bill for all my shower time, but time specifically devoted to a customer, sure, it's legit.

I do some of my best thinking while sleeping (and prepping before going to bed) and usually piece it together in the shower. I just can't get much think time once I'm taking the kids to school or getting interrupted at my day job or in the evening until the kids get to bed.

If I want to write it down while at lunch on a napkin, that's totally billable. Granted, I only do so in quarter hour chunks and I keep accurate time.

Further, there is nothing wrong with double or even triple billing (beyond that, and I think you're going to be kidding yourself at your multitasking skills). Take for instance patching VoIP servers back Cisco CallManagers ran on Windows 2000 and required tons of reboots for the OS, SQL, CCM app, Security Agent, etc. Say I know it is going to take 1 hour to do the patching, and another 15 minutes prior going through my check lists, and 15 minutes post to verify everything is good. So if I have 3 customers that I'm going to patch in one night, so I do it serially or in parallel? I'm going to do it in parallel and triple bill some of that time. I start first pre-patching checklist, then patching. Then I do the second per-patching check-list, and patching. Finally I start the third pre-patching checklist, and patching. Time for a quick bathroom break and then time to start the post-patching check of customer 1, then 2, then 3. Sure, if I run into a snag with one customer I have to pause all the billing for the other customers, but that's on me, and it's also why we have redundant systems.

Yeah, that's how to do it. Customers each get billed 1.5 hours. Takes me 2 hours to do it total, I bill 4.5. Everyone gets what they asked for, I'm efficient with my time, win win.

Now, billing >24 hours in a day, that would take some gravitational time dilation [wikipedia.org] , and even then I think it's only on the order of seconds, not hours more per day.

WHHAAAAT????!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38332756)

Has the last 10+ years of unfettered capitalism taught you nothing?

YOU BILL FOR THINKING TIME. Why? Because that's why they hired you. They hired you for a solution wrapped up in a nice package. Part of that solution is baking ideas in the noggin for some time.

Is this you? http://www.theonion.com/articles/high-integrity-moral-decency-has-cost-idiot-man-mi,26639/

That Aerospace got caught this time is a small embarrassment, but c'mon they are doing some heavy thinking over there and someone is going to get passed over for a promotion if they aren't billing 'thinking time.'

Re:Creative billing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38333000)

"Granted, I shouldn't be able to bill for all my shower time"

What about Rosy Palmer meet Mr. Meatwhistle time? A happy employee is a productive employee, right?

Re:Creative billing (2)

Talence (4962) | more than 2 years ago | (#38333458)

If I'm solving a problem for a customer in the shower

As a general rule, hours where one is naked should not be considered work time.

Re:Creative billing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38333614)

The oldest business in the world disagrees with you.

Re:Creative billing (1)

GerryHattrick (1037764) | more than 2 years ago | (#38333642)

When a crony of Hitler's boasted at table "I get all my best ideas in the bath", Goebbels commented: "Then you should take more baths, Herr Doktor". True story.

Re:Creative billing (2, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#38332178)

There is, of course, the possibility that the man was just a good coder who was handed jobs that were bid as "six months of a full-time programmer" which he then slapped together in an afternoon of wild hacking and then just billed for the rest of the time while sitting in a bar.

There's also the possibility that he's a time traveler from the future who just jumped ahead to a time when you can just give jobs like those to super AI androids that look like Bar Rafaeli who will do them in the time it takes for them to give a foot-rub. Then he traveled back to the present, where he spent the day doing jello shots in a gentleman's club and was totally planning on delivering the project right on schedule and bug free.

Granted, the possibility is pretty small, but still, as long as we're throwing around "possibilities"...

On the other hand, he was probably just a lying scumbag who figured he'd take advantage of the sloppy practices of a military contractor who probably pads the bottom line to the tune of millions of dollars because they paid for a congressman's hookers and blow and slipped a fat envelope to his campaign manager.

I've got a crisp $5 bill that says there's a much bigger "possibility" that this little bit of employee misconduct is not even close to the biggest fraud that Aerospace Corp has perpetrated on the US taxpayer, but by handing over this sleazebag they can totally misdirect attention away from the shipping containers full of money they're socking away in some little Caribbean tax haven.

But it's OK because they're a "job creator", don'tcha know.

Re:Creative billing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38333038)

I've got a crisp $5 bill that says there's a much bigger "possibility" that this little bit of employee misconduct is not even close to the biggest fraud that Aerospace Corp has perpetrated on the US taxpayer, but by handing over this sleazebag they can totally misdirect attention away from the shipping containers full of money they're socking away in some little Caribbean tax haven.

But it's OK because they're a "job creator", don'tcha know.

But there were lots of jobs created in addition to that of the coder - for salesmen, hookers, a drug dealer or two, people filling the shipping container with money, multiple guards for the entire duration, the ship crew, etc.

Re:Creative billing (4, Insightful)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 2 years ago | (#38333428)

"...There is, of course, the possibility that the man was just a good coder who was handed jobs that were bid as "six months of a full-time programmer" which he then slapped together in an afternoon of wild hacking."

This.

As a mechanic I was paid commission--I got 45% of the labor charge to the customer. Let's use a specific job as an example--4 ball-joints on an S-10 Blazer. An estimating guide (book time) is used by most shops to estimate costs for customers as well as billing. Michell guide puts this job at 6.0 hours. That is what the customer is charged, simple as that--6 hours at the going shop rate.

Now here is where I come in. Since I have done this particular job many, many times, I know exactly what tools to take out of my tool box and set up on a cart. I know exactly what order to do things in, used multiple air hoses so I didn't waste time swapping out air tools, etc. I can actually do this 6 hour job in just over an hour. So I get paid for 45% of 6 hours labor for doing one hour of labor. Sounds like I'm ripping people off, right? Wrong, and here is why.

If I rush that job and fuck it up for any reason, I have to do it OVER FOR FREE. I do not make money doing things over, so I have incentive to do it right the first time. The guy that is paid hourly has no reason to care--he might get fired eventually, but he'll get paid even for doing it again as long as he is on the clock. I got paid really well for my time because I kicked some ass, learned my trade and performed not just well, but well beyond what was expected--I was able to do the job so efficiently that it literally took me 1/6th of the time to do it. I should get paid less for that? Trust me, this is a rare example of that kind of efficiency--most of the time I roughly matched book times on most jobs. If it was a particularly big job (head gasket, tranny rebuild, etc), I would actually exceed the book times by quite a bit--it was a safe bet to be extra careful as rebuilding a transmission twice and only getting paid once sucks. Some jobs were quick and well paying, some were slow and not-so-good paying. They balanced out.

The point is that I was paid to do a specific job, not to be on the fucking clock. As long as the job gets done, why should it matter if I'm in a bar scribbling notes on napkins?

I think the issue here is that dude was entirely dishonest in almost every way he could have been. But other then that, did the guy actually do what he was paid to do?

Re:Creative billing (1)

John Bresnahan (638668) | more than 2 years ago | (#38334196)

I can actually do this 6 hour job in just over an hour.

Another way of saying that is that the average mechanic stretches out a 1 hour job for 6 hours.

Re:Creative billing (2)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#38332304)

The generally accepted way of doing this is to charge for piecework, not hours. I regularly accomplish many hundred pieces of work estimated at a half-hour each in a day, and then hire in most of the execution piece. By managing smartly my team to handle the tedious bulk I can leverage my expertise and experience more efficiently this way. By organizing the work so that each worker can execute several pieces at a time efficiency is obtained and the impacts of overhead are diminished (meetings, training, travel, movement, etc.). In a given project I might have as many as 20 helpers handling the trivia for me, sometimes at multiple sites. The customer is well served, the work gets done on time and within budget, the customers and workers are well treated and both profit from and enjoy the experience. The small fraction of corner cases that need my direct attention get it. We all win, and it's quite profitable without being unfair to anybody. It can be beneficial to not do everything in the worst conceivable way, to engage services with customers with an adversarial stance with sancrosanct terms. When you can accomplish vast multiples of efficiency by organizing your process it's easy to be flexible, to go the extra mile, to deliver the lagniappe. You know what? It's fun to have the margin and initiative to dynamically and gracefully adapt to changing needs in the field on demand without having to call in the legal and sales teams to negotiate a change order for every little thing.

I understand doctors leverage Physicians Assistants and nurses in this way, and lawyers paralegals. There's no reason why IT pros can't be so efficient.

I don't see a problem with TFA. If the book says it takes 3 hours to change out the brake calipers on your car and they do it while you wait in 60 minutes but charge you the three hours, are you going to complain? Would you rather they demanded you came back tomorrow? By being an ass you're insisting on the inconvenience, and they're just going to say they put 4 guys on it and there's a $80 PITA fee. And then before they give it over they'll send the spike in the diagnostic machine that makes your engine light come on on the way home and you get to do the recursive diagnostic/fix routine for a year as they charge you for stuff the book says, when they know what's actually wrong is something different.

Approaching things with an adversarial default position just makes everything more difficult. The ideal is to buy services from people who enjoy getting things done right the first time, and paying a reasonable rate that allows them to profit a little from treating you right. It's admittedly hard to find such folk, so caveat emptor.

Re:Creative billing (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 2 years ago | (#38332518)

    There are a couple flaws with your logic.

    I'll hit the easy one first. The automotive example. The parts and labor manual specifies how long a job *should* take. That's an average skill mechanic, on an average job. Sure, everything may turn out great, and he finishes a 3 hour job in 1 hour. More than likely, the job will take 2.75 to 3.5 hours. The shop facilitates the job according to various things, including their work load. If the book says 0.25 hours to change the brakes on one wheel, and you need 4 done, you will receive a bill for 1 hour (not including parts and shop fees). They could put 4 guys on it, and have it done in 0.25 hours. They could leave one newbie tech on it, and it may take 6 hours. Or every nut and bolt on the damned thing is rusted in place, so they had to use liquid wrench, torches, and high torque impact guns just to get it apart. It will be billed at 1 hour.

    Doctors and lawyers use their subordinates to assist them. You are billed for the hours it takes to accomplish the task, regardless if you have a paper shuffler, or the lead doctor on it.

    Now, in this particular circumstance, it was one guy. He billed lots of extra hours. I'm guessing his position required security clearance, so he wouldn't have been farming out the tasks to other people of unknown origins. He claimed he worked the hours.

    I can see the possibility of billing extra hours. At one job, I was assigned tickets, and was told to log the hours it should have taken, rounded up to 0.25 hours. I did plenty of 2 minute tasks in 0.25 hours, and 46 minute tasks in 1.0 hours. A little quick math shows, if I had 20 tickets that took 2 minutes each, that was 40 minutes of real-world clock time, but 5 hours of billable time. Of course, they weren't paying me for those hours, they were billing customers. I was on salary.

    That doesn't seem to be the case here. He'd just bill the hours, and shrug his real responsibilities, while the company gracefully ignored it. Well, until the gov't came in and audited. It can get expensive when you get caught. Apparently about $2.5 million for ignoring one guy's work ethic.

Re:Creative billing (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#38332606)

I don't disagree with you. A deal is a deal. I would guess that our difference lies in the ambiguous difference between "hours worked" and "man hours". The finer points that resolve the issue will be in the contracts, which we now don't have.

Re:Creative billing (1)

Burning1 (204959) | more than 2 years ago | (#38332978)

"engage" "sancrosanct" "leverage" "lagniappe" "go the extra mile" "initiative" "adapt to changing needs in the field."

Not sure if serious.

Not to disrespect your work, but having experience in the automotive industry, if the factory quotes 3 hours for a job, it means that doing it right will probably take 4. If the mechanics accomplish the job in 1, the first question out of my mouth will be "What corners did you cut?"

Re:Creative billing (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#38333186)

If it takes 4 and the factory quotes 3, and you have 9,000 to do, I'm sure you could find some efficiencies to get that done without my help. But if you need me, I could organize that activity so everybody were happy and the work got done. and we made more money..

Re:Creative billing (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 2 years ago | (#38333164)

The generally accepted way of doing this is to charge for piecework, not hours.

Another name for this would be Hollywood Accounting.

If the book says it takes 3 hours to change out the brake calipers on your car and they do it while you wait in 60 minutes but charge you the three hours, are you going to complain?

Hell yes. If you charge me for three hours and you did not do three hours, I would complain. If I asked you to do my brake calipers and you only did half of them as the other half did not need to be changed out, and you still charged for all of them I would also complain.

Now what you can do is indeed charge per piecework. But then you must also take the losses if it doesn't take 3 hours like the book says, but 6 hours.

So the problem with TFA is that he charged something that he then did not deliver. Be it piecework, be it work hours, be it actual code. If you charge for something that you did not deliver then yes, I would complain.

Re:Creative billing (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#38333194)

No, I'm a big hater of Hollywood accounting. This is not that. Look at it and judge again.

Re:Creative billing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38333966)

Yes, but I presume you can perceive why the customer would feel tricked in these scenarios. Your argument is that this is piecework. Bill it that way and no one will be upset.

There is absolutely no logical rationale for a shop to bill installation in hours of labor, especially when this is a fixed, standardized estimate. Charge an "installation fee" (estimated hours * your rate) and be done. Easier than the countless hours you currently spend explaining to people why your bill of 3 hours of labor for 15 minutes of work is not a rip off.

Folks, PAY ATTENTION... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38331672)

ä-å¦çsæ'åZYæ-(TM)

Re:Creative billing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38331982)

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=%2Fc%2Fa%2F2011%2F12%2F06%2FBAAQ1M982I.DTL&tsp=1

Re:Creative billing (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38332122)

I've looked over your resume here. So tell me about your previous job.

"It was a real dream job."

What was your reason for leaving?

"Sometimes it felt like I put in two days of work just for one."

Re:Creative billing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38332262)

Companies have been trying to get us to work more than 24 hrs a day for ages.

Re:Creative billing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38332286)

An owner of the consulting company I worked at once billed 25 hours in a day. He was flying back from CA, and said he actually worked those hours, owing to the timezone differential.

Re:Creative billing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38332632)

He should have split the time over a two day period using either the departure location time zone or the arrival location time zone. What's the name of the company? I want to make sure they are on my "do not hire" list.

Re:Creative billing (1)

mr_exit (216086) | more than 2 years ago | (#38332462)

Oh that's easy, I've billed a 40 hour day before.

First 10 hours was at my desk in New Zealand, then I was put on an overnight flight to LA and billed 17 hours traveling time. Because I traveled back over the date line, I arrived before I had left. Then when I landed I spent 13 hours fixing the machine that broke on the way. Tada, 40 hours worked on Friday.

Re:Creative billing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38332784)

sounds like a multi-tasker, the kind of programmer that you want.

First Post (5, Funny)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#38331436)

People need to be at their desk, putting in an honest 8 hours trying to get First Post.

Re:First Post (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38331704)

Try harder. :-P

Re:First Post (3, Funny)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#38332916)

Try harder. :-P

Why? We're still going to bill the DoD for a First Post.

Wow... (4, Insightful)

deatypoo (1837038) | more than 2 years ago | (#38331452)

I guess you need to be this obvious if you want to get caught over-billing the government

Re:Wow... (4, Interesting)

TWX (665546) | more than 2 years ago | (#38331546)

Thing I don't get is that the federal government normally requires defense contractors and the like to keep very, very close track of what employees do and to which programs they bill their time, down to the decimalized hour, essentially six-minute intervals. Technically an employee is supposed to charge time to go to the bathroom back to the company itself instead of to a particular program. The whole point of such an asinine system is to keep this kind of fraud from being possible, and to attempt to keep employees working on a particular project on-task.

I guess that the "system worked" in that they did eventually catch on to the fraud, and took some kind of action because of it. I would actually blame the companies much more than the individual himself, though he does have plenty of culpability. I don't see how the employee's actions could have gone unnoticed by the companies.

and where do they bill the 30+ min week timekeepin (2)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#38331624)

and where do they bill the 30+ min week timekeeping time to? it is part of the project right? as the project needs that much time keeping vs say just a basic time clock.

Re:and where do they bill the 30+ min week timekee (2)

pavon (30274) | more than 2 years ago | (#38332054)

Yeah, a while back they changed our timekeeping application from an in-house web-app that was simple, fast and just worked to a PeopleSoft monstrosity. It was less capable (wouldn't remember descriptions of project numbers) and required you to wait 3-30 seconds after entering each field, and would occasionally time-out during this interval clearing everything you had entered. One particularly bad week I spent over two hours attempting to enter my time before giving up and faxing it to Payroll. They were not amused at this or at my inquiries for a project/task number to charge for all the time I wasted.

Re:and where do they bill the 30+ min week timekee (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38332772)

I used to have a program I worked that required DAILY reports on work done. My last task for every day was 30minutes allocated to their asinine report!

Generally billing is the quarter hour fwiw...

Re:Wow... (2)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 2 years ago | (#38331700)

That is only for CMMI level 5

Re:Wow... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38331710)

I'm sorry, what planet are you on?

Here at MCCHORD AFB (now Joint Base Lewis-McChord), our Desk Top PC maintenance is contracted. At one time it was General Dynamics, but now I'm not sure who it is.

The *Main Dude* in charge of IT for the [ Group Name Deleted ] is a big fat dude who spends most of the day drinking in his car. True, he's got a bunch of twenty-somethings doing the work he should be doing, but GOOD FUCKING GRIEF.

One of his geeks is this gimpy dude who can install a printer, but takes a fucking HOUR.

The other dude is openly stealing software / hardware and will sell you something if you need it.

Did I mention these three jokers have SIPRNET access?

Re:Wow... (2)

wisty (1335733) | more than 2 years ago | (#38331932)

Yeah, but I bet their status updates are flawless.

Re:Wow... (1)

TWX (665546) | more than 2 years ago | (#38332798)

By "Install a printer", do you mean, unbox the printer, remove all of the packaging material from it, hook it up to power and Ethernet, assign it an IP address or whatever other possible network protocol setup is required, add entries in a print server if used, and then adding it to one or more workstations, or do you just mean adding the printer queue to a workstation?

If the former, I can actually understand an hour, especially on big ones like HP Color LaserJet 4700s, but if the latter, then it should take six minutes, assuming nothing's wrong with the PC or the drivers.

As far as software theft is concerned, if he's stealing software like Office, with the addition of KMS and other network authentication systems, that problem should curtail when employees find their home installs of Office failing because the corporate version can't activate against the company's server. If enough of that happens then it should cause the employee to lose customers.

Re:Wow... (5, Interesting)

rbmyers (587296) | more than 2 years ago | (#38331754)

One consideration in my leaving the Aerospace Corporation when I did is that I wondered if anyone would notice my absence at any time other than lunch. The irony of the situation is that fining the Aerospace Corporation is a bit like the Federal Government fining itself, as no one but the Federal Government has any pecuniary interest in the Aerospace Corporation as a corporate entity--it might as well be a wholly-owned subsidiary of the US Air Force.
Although no one ever said so explicitly, I assume that the bizarre legal status of the Aerospace Corporation was to allow it to operate free from the constraints that govern civil service employees and profit-making defense contractors. Furthermore, the fact that the Aerospace Corp. was privy to so many highly-sensitive programs made it seem natural that no one knew what anyone else was doing--even it the employee was doing nothing.

Re:Wow... (3, Informative)

RKBA (622932) | more than 2 years ago | (#38331872)

I once had a Section Manager who came up with a "cook book" of hours each employee should charge to each of the various project numbers regardless of what they were actually working on in order for the Section he managed (several hundred employees) to always balance its budget exactly. Please note that there are very strict government rules against allowing, much less demanding that employees charge their time to anything other than the job number for the work they are actually doing, and many of us rebelled against this obviously immoral and illegal procedure of his. Eventually he was caught, but there was no public censure. After a short while he was transferred to some other management position at the government funded company.

Re:Wow... (1)

wisty (1335733) | more than 2 years ago | (#38331946)

*Within* the public service, he'd be promoted instead.

Re:Wow... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38332028)

Please note that there are very strict government rules against allowing, much less demanding that employees charge their time to anything other than the job number for the work they are actually doing

And in my experience practically no one takes those rules seriously. I worked for five years for a Navy contractor, and it was an everyday occurrence to be told which contract/task to charge hours to, regardless of what you were actually doing. The contracting officer couldn't care less as long as everything stayed within budget, so there was zero point in making a stink about it.

Re:Wow... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38332104)

I once had a Section Manager who came up with a "cook book" of hours each employee should charge to each of the various project numbers regardless of what they were actually working on in order for the Section he managed (several hundred employees) to always balance its budget exactly.

Sounds like he was dropping a hint that maybe you ought to be working on the assigned projects to fulfill the billing requirements, instead of whatever shit you were actually working on. Instead, you worked on something else while lying on your timesheet. Somebody did something wrong but I don't think it was your manager.

Re:Wow... (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#38333368)

Thing I don't get is that the federal government normally requires defense contractors and the like to keep very, very close track of what employees do and to which programs they bill their time, down to the decimalized hour, essentially six-minute intervals. Technically an employee is supposed to charge time to go to the bathroom back to the company itself instead of to a particular program. The whole point of such an asinine system is to keep this kind of fraud from being possible, and to attempt to keep employees working on a particular project on-task.

The point of the system is to make sure the pork money ends up in the right place, ie. the boss's pocket.

24 hours of work per day is possible (4, Funny)

Jeremi (14640) | more than 2 years ago | (#38331464)

Keep in mind that people have dual-core brains, so if they parallelize their tasks properly they can work as many as 48 hours in a day. (I don't recommend overclocking though, speed kills)

Re:24 hours of work per day is possible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38331582)

I worked at a place once where, if my machine was rendering, I could take a lunch break without timing out. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a way to pull that off, but I really think what happened was somebody wasn't paying attention when they were authorizing time cards.

Re:24 hours of work per day is possible (4, Funny)

SirGarlon (845873) | more than 2 years ago | (#38331886)

96 hours if you learn the mystical SuperSymmetry of the time cube [timecube.com] .

Re:24 hours of work per day is possible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38331950)

Frequent travelers can sometimes charge more than 24 hours in a day since a lot of companies want you to start billing the moment you leave your house to the time you reach your hotel. This probably wasn't the the case here, but it is possible to 'work' more than 24 hours in a day.

24 hours of work per day is REALLY possible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38333172)

I worked at a company, where my work was to do a stupid repetitive job, which would have taken a week.
I automated it down to about one and a half hour.

I still billed them the full 40 hours at standard rates.
I could have billed them 1.5h at 26.67 times the standard rate instead. But why? It only raises eyebrows and requires explanations, which those PHBs would have never understood.

It doesn't matter if my "employee" is an automaton. It could just as well have been 27 people working for 1.5 hours. What matters is that they wouldn't have gotten it cheaper somewhere else, and they should be happy that they got it much faster for the same price!

Nice gig if you can get it (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#38331484)

\subject

Rogue developer?? (5, Insightful)

new death barbie (240326) | more than 2 years ago | (#38331494)

Sounds like there was no development involved. If an accountant steals money by cooking the books, he's not a 'rogue accountant'. He's an embezzler.

This guy is a fraud and a cheat. Nothing rogue about him.

Re:Rogue developer?? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#38331614)

It was only a rogue employee if you consider someone who doesn't work to be rogue.

The company didn't care, because they billed the government more than they paid him, so for every hour he 'worked' but did nothing, they made money.

Sad thing is the guy died of natural causes during the investigation. It's a good way to spend your last few years, I guess.

Re:Rogue developer?? (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#38333328)

Once again, proof that crime *does* pay. Just make sure you die before you are caught.

Re:Rogue developer?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38331650)

He was the guy that wrote the key logger for the RQ-170 Sentinel that's in the hands of the Iranians now.

Re:Rogue developer?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38331862)

A person is their job title as well as their activity.

Re:Rogue developer?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38332392)

Maybe he wrote a dungeon-crawling game.

Re:Rogue developer?? (1)

subreality (157447) | more than 2 years ago | (#38333450)

You don't understand. It's a different crime when it has something to do with computers. That's why we need all these computer crime laws!

Re:Rogue developer?? (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 2 years ago | (#38333730)

And if that 'rogue accountant' has higher ups that are accomplices, then the accountant is not rogue -- it's the contracting company which is. Hopefully, some of the people in that company will go to jail for fraud too.

A good start... (4, Insightful)

hedgemage (934558) | more than 2 years ago | (#38331498)

You know, what really needs to be done to keep military contractors from defrauding the government, and thereby the US taxpayer is to start prosecuting cases as treason rather than slap-on-the-wrist fines. Every dollar that these parasites siphon from the DoD is a dollar less defending the US from legitimate threats, or at least a dollar less that the American people should be taxed. In these times of tight budgets and the prospect of painful cuts to both civilian and military programs, we should pursue those who seek to cheat the US military and treat them no differently than we would someone who is providing material aid and comfort to those who wish to do us harm.
An organization that had no problems charging the Air Force for 'work' done by someone that they knew was simply an empty desk shows an absolute disregard for the taxpayers and the brave men and women in the military who serve to protect the US by putting themselves in harm's way. IMO this company got off easy when they should have faced the corporate death penalty.

or we can move the work in house and cut the overh (2)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#38331506)

or we can move the work in house and cut the overhead + have more control over the work.

Re:or we can move the work in house and cut the ov (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38331812)

Really?

Have you seen how hard government employees, especially DOD employees, work?

Re:or we can move the work in house and cut the ov (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38332024)

You pretend that the government doesn't have it's own bloat.

Re:or we can move the work in house and cut the ov (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38332884)

Sure because govt salaries always draw the best talent right?! I'm a contractor and I live pretty frugally but if I were on a govt salary I'd have to live in a cardboard box. Cost of living anywhere in the DC area makes the GS scale a joke. If the pay scale were reasonable I'd consider it but not with my skills and their pay scale right now.... Moving skilled work in house simply ensures it will be done poorly IMO.

Re:A good start... (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 2 years ago | (#38331854)

Treason? No that's only for playing Russians at Chess.
Even selling weapons to Iran and a terrorist group that has recently killed 241 American servicemen is the mark of a true patriot.

Re:A good start... (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 2 years ago | (#38332278)

Treason? No that's only for playing Russians at Chess.

Bobby Fischer wasn't charged with treason, and he wasn't charged for playing Russians. He was charged for violating sanctions against Yugoslavia.

Treason is defined in the US Constitution, and while it might cover Fischer's actions, it'd be more than a bit of a stretch. It certainly doesn't cover stealing from the government in ordinary ways. Nor does it cover selling arms to Eastasia when the current enemy is Eurasia, even if Eastasia was the enemy last week.

Re:A good start... (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 2 years ago | (#38334194)

At the time when he was about to play Boris Spassky there were a few people in politics throwing the "treason" word around. Meanwhile Poindexter is still haunting the halls in Washington instead of being sacked and imprisoned, while North got involved in politics himself and even had photos taken of him wrapped up in the flag.
Anyway, my response was about throwing the "treason" word around and not about actual convictions because it's pretty obvious that the current circumstances don't even come close. Loners get charged with crimes like that while groups can just point fingers in a circle and embarrass those in power.

Re:A good start... (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38332018)

Or they could just switch to fixed-firm contracts.

That will hardly ever happen (1)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | more than 2 years ago | (#38332062)

Because there is too much black ops, secrecy and higher value contracts at stake. Why risk any of that, for the mere few millions this guy billed wrongly? The amount of money going on in the USA government budget that everyone wants a share of and voters get no insight on is so much more than this, it's not worth risking their share of it.

What would really help is making the USA government transparent and politicians accountable for all the money spent. Roughly half of the USA tax money is going to black ops, defense projects and other defensive/offensive more or less classified projects. It shouldn't need to be more than 5% that's actually secret, but for some reason, the politicians have a benefit in keeping this budget way higher than practically any other country that claims to be a "western democratic country". To explain what that reason may be, is left as an exercise to the reader.

What's rogue about him? (1)

cmv1087 (2426970) | more than 2 years ago | (#38331504)

He's not doing the job he claims to be doing, sure, but he's not actively working against either corporation or the government. Sounds like he's just a lazy developer who thought he had a nice scheme for making without the work, not a rogue.

Re:What's rogue about him? (1)

cmv1087 (2426970) | more than 2 years ago | (#38331526)

Change that to was. He's apparently dead now.

Re:What's rogue about him? (1)

M0j0_j0j0 (1250800) | more than 2 years ago | (#38331560)

And change too, "who thought " , because he did had, end of story: he died victorious! Now that's a smartass.

Re:What's rogue about him? (4, Funny)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 2 years ago | (#38331618)

Well, it was only a matter of time, those 26 hour days are killer.

Re:What's rogue about him? (2, Funny)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 2 years ago | (#38331986)

don't cry to me about 26 hour days.

well, in my time, we had to get to work half an hour before we got home.

and we were *happy* to do it.

damned straight.

Re:What's rogue about him? (1)

wisty (1335733) | more than 2 years ago | (#38331954)

Change that to was. He's apparently dead now.

Did they catch him when some kind of automated billing script kept on kicking without him? And if so, how long did it take for them to connect the dots?

Time Travel (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38331544)

Once upon a time I billed 27 hours in a day because I was traveling across the world staying in the same day. ( We were always told that all times were "local" ). The system accepted the time and no one in the approver list ever questioned it.

where does time zones fall in billing like any way (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#38331634)

As that has to be some kind of rule some where to even it out.

Re:where does time zones fall in billing like any (1)

Capt. Skinny (969540) | more than 2 years ago | (#38331930)

The 21 hour day on the way back ought to even it out.

Thank Goodness! (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#38331550)

I thought, for a sinking moment, that there had been a rogue employee at military contractor Union Aerospace Corp...

The Rogues Know It Better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38331552)

The rogues know what is important in life: bars, amusement parks and movie theaters.

Tin foil hats (1)

munky99999 (781012) | more than 2 years ago | (#38331694)

---Aerospace Corp. oversees many of the nation's most classified programs.

---Hunter died in August 2010 of natural causes while under criminal investigation, Daniels said. He was 56.

---The company said it discovered the fraud in 2008 when a third company inquired about Hunter's security clearance.

Natural causes at 56 while living nicely? Oh ya?

Re:Tin foil hats (1)

monopolarbear (2412522) | more than 2 years ago | (#38331752)

Besides,

In addition to submitting fraudulent time cards, Hunter falsely claimed to hold a doctorate from Oxford University in England when he had only a high school education

I seriously doubt of any foul play on his death, but he sure was very odd fellow.

Overbilling? Install SAP (3, Informative)

lucm (889690) | more than 2 years ago | (#38331714)

A former client of mine (Fortune 500) is using SAP for the timesheets, and it's not possible to save the timesheet if there is more or less than exactly 8 hours billed in a day. Hugely convenient, unless someone is interested by reality.

Re:Overbilling? Install SAP (1)

M0j0_j0j0 (1250800) | more than 2 years ago | (#38331814)

You better check that user exit again for uname exceptions then.

Re:Overbilling? Install SAP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38333334)

In addition to being the world's most expensive timesheet system, SAP can be customized to override default rules such as "only allow 8 hours per day". The customization would only cost a few hundred thousand$ for a task that in reality would take only a few hours to implement.

Re:Overbilling? Install SAP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38334008)

Sounds easy enough to circumvent. Oh, look, we have two employees working that job 8 hours a day for a total of 16 hours a day between the two of them ... and they happen to be the same person registered to different employee numbers.

Rogue Developer? (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 2 years ago | (#38331828)

They should have known better... I don't think anyone's done any development on Rogue [wikipedia.org] in years, or even decades. Maybe if he was a Nethack developer he might have gotten away with it...

Sophisticated Methods (5, Insightful)

monoqlith (610041) | more than 2 years ago | (#38331866)

"This person was hired before we had sophisticated methods to verify international degrees," Aerospace spokeswoman Pamela Keeton said in a statement. "He failed to disclose his other employment as required."

Sophisticated methods...like calling them and asking.

Re:Sophisticated Methods (2)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 2 years ago | (#38332090)

Apparently, an international phone call is more expensive than paying a salary to an unqualified employee...

There's always going to be a few bad androids (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38331964)

er, apples.

In any field there's always going to be a few bad apples, so let's not use a broad brush.

I used to work at Aerospace (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38332066)

The Aerospace Corporation is a great place to work if you are good at what you do and you love your job. You are given responsibility and are expected, without indoctrination, to be honest, true to the projects you work on, to the company's customers, your managers and your co-workers. The company is set up as a not-for-profit and it does not manufacture or compete, placing it in the position that it can be let in to what may be private and proprietary among competing defense contractors because Aerospace represents the interests of the government (the customer). It is inexcusable that the government was overcharged. Though I do not know the circumstances of this overcharge, I can tell you that there are projects the customer sets up where oversight can be artificially limited. Highly classified projects may give access to an extremely small number of people. I've experienced where my boss had no clue what I was doing on a project. The annual review went something like this...

Boss: So, how have you been doing?

Me: Great!

Boss: I asked and they said you're OK. I asked if they wanted to change you out. They said no.

Me: (annoyed) Thanks for sharing, got to get back to it.

Boss: Good meeting.

My boss could not know what I was working on due to customer imposed constraint. I did my job well, he believed me, and you, dear taxpayer, got more than your money's worth. Could I have abused the system? My thoughts never went there at the time, but looking back on it, it could have taken a couple of years for someone to be administratively allowed to take my place so, yeah, it was possible. I never learned of this happening, there certainly was no culture to support such behavior, and since we were, in essence, protecting ourselves by protecting you, it was not in our best interests to shortchange any project.

Aerospace holds others and itself to the highest levels of expectation. Someone who has passed extensive government background check is, by definition, trustworthy. Even if they were duped they are responsible. They've done the responsible thing, have demonstrated they are not above the rules, will figure out ways to not be duped like this again, and can go back to making certain we continue to be safe and that our tax dollars are spent more effectively.

Re:I used to work at Aerospace (4, Insightful)

tsotha (720379) | more than 2 years ago | (#38332426)

Heh. I never worked for Arerospace Corp, but when I was doing military projects I had the same surreal experience. My boss didn't have a "need to know", so he just went by whatever the program office said. Since it was R&D type work the program office didn't really know how long things should take. And I worked in a vault, so it wasn't like someone could have stumbled in and caught me sleeping. I could probably have gotten away with working one day out of three.

But I didn't abuse it either. If you're on the right project your work amounts to a really cool hobby for which someone else is picking up the enormous tab.

Why outsourcing is good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38332176)

Just think, for what this guy was being paid, you could pay 10 people in another country to not work. This is why outsourcing works.

Similar story in our pharmacies (1)

simoncpu was here (1601629) | more than 2 years ago | (#38332212)

There is a trend in some of our local (PH) pharmacies, where they would pay a licensed pharmacist to show his license to authorities. Then, they would hire unlicensed sales ladies in lieu of a pharmacist. The pharmacist gets paid without working, and the pharmacy would end up with less costs. Win-win.

he's in the wrong line of work (1)

Gravis Zero (934156) | more than 2 years ago | (#38332272)

he sounds like the perfect bank executive.

He wasn't a software developer (4, Informative)

edko (42913) | more than 2 years ago | (#38332678)

Mr. Hunter wasn't a software developer. He was a software quality assurance guy.

Interesting line... (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 2 years ago | (#38332964)

Hunter died in August 2010 of natural causes while under criminal investigation, Daniels said. He was 56.

Quick, somebody find my tin-foil hat!

Good for him (2)

Coward Anonymous (110649) | more than 2 years ago | (#38332966)

"He allegedly ran the scheme from 2003 until 2008... Hunter died in August 2010 of natural causes while under criminal investigation, Daniels said. He was 56."

He was having fun while he could. We should all take note as we might not be around tomorrow.

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