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FBI Publishes Top Email Terms Used By Corporate Fraudsters

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 years ago | from the security-unclassified-uscode-smuggle-espionage dept.

Crime 105

Qedward writes "Software developed by the FBI and Ernst & Young has revealed the most common words used in email conversations among employees engaged in corporate fraud. The software, which was developed using the knowledge gained from real life corporate fraud investigations, pinpoints and tracks common fraud phrases like 'cover up,' write off,' 'failed investment,' 'off the books,' 'nobody will find out' and 'grey area'. Expressions such as 'special fees' and 'friendly payments' are most common in bribery cases, while fears of getting caught are shown in phrases such as 'no inspection' and 'do not volunteer information.'"

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Watch your words... (5, Funny)

BeerCat (685972) | about 2 years ago | (#42515803)

"So, this new range of paints is a grey area - neither black nor white. But if you spill any, while painting the library, make sure you keep it off the books. Hang on, there's someone knocking at the door..."

Re:Watch your words... (1)

overmoderated (2703703) | about 2 years ago | (#42515895)

My encryption was a failed investment...

Re:Watch your words... (5, Funny)

AK Marc (707885) | about 2 years ago | (#42515951)

If you are going to paint in the library, make sure to cover up the books. If there is an accident, make sure there is no inspection, and try to avoid special fees for cleanup.

Re:Watch your words... (3, Funny)

Zouden (232738) | about 2 years ago | (#42515997)

This paint is terrible! It's a totally failed investment. I better get some new paint and cover up these splotches quickly so no one finds out.

Re:Watch your words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42516097)

Nobody will find out that things don't work well if you do not volunteer information about the problem. If you need immediate help, call my mobile or come by my office. Of course it's not illegal to just write it off as failed investment, but it is not ethical to tell others that the paint is bad if you didn't at least try to get the problems corrected.

Re:Watch your words... (3, Funny)

Fishead (658061) | about 2 years ago | (#42517327)

New hobby... trolling the FBI / corporate security with innocent usage of suspicious phrases.

My new years resolution is now to use a minimum of one of these phrases in every email I send using the company email system for the year 2013. My employer is large enough that they most certainly use this sort of filtering.

Heck... they're probably tracking my Slashdot account... Hey guys... just kidding!

Re:Watch your words... (4, Funny)

wierd_w (1375923) | about 2 years ago | (#42516243)

Sadly, several important documents were irreparably damaged by improper regulatory activities which resulted in many important books being cooked, quite literally, by being placed too near to the old radiator style heating systems in the library.

When asked why no-one was notified about important documents being improperly handled like this, many library employees said it was standard operating proceedure to not reveal additional information to internal management, and that it was simply a case of inspectors not doing their jobs that the damage occured.

The library management has begun an internal investigation into the matter, but due to a recent computer mishap coupled with the removal of the obsolete paper copy card cataloge, a considerable amount of vital data was lost or deleted concerning which books the library actually owns, which ones are from inter-library exchange programs, and which ones are missing and unaccounted for.

At the current rate, it is likely that no one will ever find out the true extent of the damages, so disciplinary measures are unlikely to manifest any time soon. Most employees interviewed simply expect a standard "slap on the wrist", followed by business as usual.

Re:Watch your words... (2)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | about 2 years ago | (#42516131)

More seriously, "cover up" and "grey area" can also happen in conversations about an event by a third party (which is in the news, or speculation about what the higher ups in the company might be doing, etc.). They do not necessarily imply involvment of the 2 parties talking. Other terms, such as "failed investment" might happen innocently among project manager, even if the failure was not fraudulent. Expect lots of false positives.

Some other terms ("special fees", "friendly payments", are more telling. Or rather: "were mor telling", until publication of this news item. Now they've been added to the vernacular of conspiracy theorists gossiping about fictive bribery scandals that their bosses might, or might not be involved...

Re:Watch your words... (3, Insightful)

aldousd666 (640240) | about 2 years ago | (#42516667)

They're not auto-matic indictments, they're just keywords to narrow things down when say... you have a tarball of a bazillion emails from wikileaks uploaded to some bitttorrent site. (Yes, I mean for you, not the government to use, it was an example.) Still, one wonders what the FBI, who produced the list, has on their keyword list "warrantless" "we dont need a judge" "wiretap" "domestic spying" "naw, dont' bother getting a warrant" "security letter."

Re:Watch your words... (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | about 2 years ago | (#42516859)

They're not auto-matic indictments, they're just keywords to narrow things down when say...

That's a given. This will flag the e-mails for manual review. But even though false positives will cause no (obvious) trouble for the sender and receiver, they will waste time of those people who are supposed to look for suspicious activity, and if there are too many of them, the system becomes useless...

Re:Watch your words... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42517009)

Of course it could also be the first tier of a multi-tier analysis system: The first step does a simple keyword filtering to get the number of mails down for the next, more elaborate (and more expensive) automated analysis step, and only the mails surviving the second step are passed to human reviewers. Note that the less mails you have to analyse, the more effort you can put into each mail, so it makes sense to first eliminate the majority of mails with a very fast method.

Also, the keyword search might be made context sensitive: Someone in the accounting department may quite frequently use "write off" in his normal conversation, while the marketing department might not use that phrase very much, unless communicating with the accounting department. So you might use the keyword "write off" only for mails not originating from or addressed to the accounting department.

Re:Watch your words... (1)

aldousd666 (640240) | about 2 years ago | (#42517711)

I see your point, but your example is perhaps a little unfortunate: most of the financial fraud would probably be committed by the accounting department (sorry, couldn't resist.)

Re:Watch your words... (1)

Shoten (260439) | about 2 years ago | (#42517889)

They're not auto-matic indictments, they're just keywords to narrow things down when say... you have a tarball of a bazillion emails from wikileaks uploaded to some bitttorrent site. (Yes, I mean for you, not the government to use, it was an example.)

Oh, right...because when the FBI starts looking at your conversations in particular out of those bazillion emails in the middle of an investigation, there's no way they would ever, *ever* just get carried away and look for a problem where there isn't one...

Re:Watch your words... (1)

aldousd666 (640240) | about 2 years ago | (#42518013)

er... they have to start somewhere? it's not meant to be fool proof. just better than reading all of them. do you, when you browse the web, look at every single document, following every link, until you get one that is relevant? no, you go to google, put in some keywords, and look at those results. Do you get wrong pages? Same thing. I don't think the government should be reading our emails without a warrant or anything, I'm just saying, logistically speaking, there is nothing wrong with producing false positives, there are many ways to weed them out, even before 'reading' them. there is always the possibility they'd get false positives even just picking emails at random to read too, so I don't see what your issue is... if the moral implication of searching people's email is what you're upset about, then complain about that. But if you're already past that point, and you're going to search them, keywords are a good start. I don't see how that's anything but self-evident.

Re:Watch your words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42521497)

Oh, right...because when the FBI starts looking at your conversations in particular out of those bazillion emails in the middle of an investigation, there's no way they would ever, *ever* just get carried away and look for a problem where there isn't one...

They're asking firms to do it for them. It's probably the creepiest part of the article.

Rashmi Joshi, director of Ernst & Young's fraud investigation and disputes services, said: "Despite being the prime means of all conversations unstructured email data plays almost no role in the compliance efforts of firms. "Most often such email traffic is only seized upon by regulators or fraud investigators when the damage has been done. Firms are increasingly seeking to proactively search for specific trends and red flags."

Once again the big brother dystrophy is alive in the land of the free.

Re:Watch your words... (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | about 2 years ago | (#42516759)

You misunderstand. This isn't about getting high amount of accuracy. It's about getting a starting point for such investigation.

Re:Watch your words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42518101)

You misunderstand. This isn't about getting high amount of accuracy. It's about getting a starting point for such investigation.

No, you misunderstand. There hasn't been a crime reported, they're searching for evidence of a crime which may not even exist. And doing so by reading your emails. It's like the DEA searching everybody's grocery bags for items which are commonly used in a Meth lab, and then launching a more detailed investigation into your activities when they see that you have purchased baking soda, tinfoil, kitchen matches, and cold medicine.

They like to call this type of thing "Crime Prevention" or "Proactive Law Enforcement" because it sounds better than saying "Unreasonable Search and Seizure". If they don't already have a reason to read MY emails, specifically, or look in MY grocery bags, specifically, then they need to get the fuck out of my business until they have an actual Reason which is specific to MY business.

Oh, almost forgot: Obama President Osama Bomb Terrorist Jihad Plot 9/11 911 School AR-15 Shooting Kill Murder Cocaine IRA Waco LSD Pot Ammo Fertilizer Pipe Poison Gas Allah Threat Drone IED Explode Rental Van Murder Kill Senator Congress Rap Music Assange Wikileaks Revolution KKK Black Panther Illuminati Alien Area51 Ruby Ridge Claymore Bunker Silo Nuke Nuclear Radiation Sabotage Infiltrate.

Re:Watch your words... (4, Interesting)

Luckyo (1726890) | about 2 years ago | (#42518453)

I take it you never worked in any kind of monitoring and enforcement. In reality, what grabs your attention (in addition to user reports) is the certain known patterns which give you a starting point from which to investigate.

I did some of investigating certain port scan patterns back when I was admin on a university campus. About 95% of people doing it were innocent of any wrongdoing, usually gamers with games that did massively overly broad LAN IP/port scanning searching for other players running the same game. About 95% of those who weren't were just starting script kiddies, and catching them in act early let me let them off with a slap on the wrist and no real damage to them or other people. Just young nerds who got their "oh my god 10mbps network" back in POTS modem age, saw another couple of hundred clueless people on the same network and figured they could root their unsecured windows machines to pump up their directconnect hub shares.

And then there were two people I got who were seriously trying to search for vulnerabilities and install trojans on computers of others people for much worse reasons, including one asshole who was actively trying (and succeeding in some cases) to access email accounts and other personal data of young female students to better harass them in real life. These two were banned from campus network and none of those two would have been caught that early in act (if at all), if it were for those of us volunteering as admins following up on certain usage patterns.

FBI is giving out certain usage patterns associated with certain kind of crime. I can very much envision this being incorporated into some sort of workplace monitoring scheme on the email server which will have about the same kind of accuracy. But it gives a starting point from which to look at, and nothing more. For example, your spam, while it would certainly attract attention, would pretty much immediately be disgarded as "not what we're looking for" for obvious reasons, because while it does meet the criteria for the starting point, it's also obviously not what any enforcer would be looking for.

Reporting a crime requires crime that was actually perpetrated, and you wanting to report it. In many cases, things can be managed within company/organization without having to involve actual law enforcement with far lesser consequences for all parties involved.

You misunderstand law, police and "justice" system (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42521767)

What is being described, and the actions you yourself report, are indications of so-called "fishing expeditions" and vigilantism.

Both are properely identified as immoral, and are often illegal as well.

So, you yourself are a prime candiate to be investigated for criminal activity.

Have a nice day.

Re:You misunderstand law, police and "justice" sys (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | about 2 years ago | (#42522069)

I still recall how one admin I knew answered some dumbass with similar, utterly clueless PoV: "do you also try to teach your father how to fuck?"

In most countries, laws specifically allow network administrators to check for security risks with these methods. Private users? In many cases illegal as that would indeed be invasion of privacy. Network administrator? Legitimate action needed to maintain safety and integrity of network.

Re:Watch your words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42525469)

What the fuck got into your head that you thought you had the right to monitor any kind of traffic as a network admin? Who do you think you are? The bloody STASI? If you were police investigating a specific case, then sure, but you were checking out random people, as a network admin no less. Your job is to administrate the network, not play the cop. If you wanna be a cop, no problem: go work for the police. Even the police don't do this to random people here (it is in your language called fishing expedition, and illegal). Stick with your job. If your employer ordered you to do illegal things, refuse to do them. Maybe what you did is legal in your country (a fucked up country in that case IMO), but if if you were doing what you did in my country I could successfully sue you for invading my privacy irrelevant if I did anything wrong myself.

As for the fellow who was trying (and apparently succeeding) that extortion with information he received with trojan horses. We seemed to have broken the law by doing that. As soon as he was attempting this, the women would know he couldn't have received that information legally. So they would have gone to the police, and then the police would've maybe contacted you, and you'd likely catch the fellow and he'd be prosecuted and be in jail where he belonged. But without the police asking you to research stuff (with warrant and such), you do nothing.

God, I am glad ISPs here aren't like you. Mielke would be proud.

Re:Watch your words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42520197)

"special fees" is something you think you'd see in promotional material too: "Members pay lower special fees, while suplies last!"
"friendly payments" however could be anyone talking about bribery, if they speculate it is happening or it really is; I suppose it could also be used for a "token amount" of money paid for services rendered to another department within the company (i.e. marketing may make friendly payments to IT for work on the website -- [small amount of money leaving marketing budget and into it for an internal job]).

Irony (5, Funny)

boundary (1226600) | about 2 years ago | (#42515809)

I wonder if E&Y used this when they were auditing Lehman Brothers...

Re:Irony (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42517023)

As a CPA, former auditor, and forensic consultant, I can tell you 3 things:

(1) Audits are not designed to detect fraud, further, i.e, they are only designed to provide only reasonable assurance that the statements are free from material error. Typically this is interpreted to mean that if members of a company were conspiring to commit fraud as opposed to some lone individual stealing money, it is less likely to be caught.

(2) Most auditors are dumb, especially in the US, in my view largely because the CPA exam is far too easy and largely memorization based.

(3) You won't find many accountants on slashdot since they tend not to be among the intellectually/technologically curious types in my experience.

Re:Irony (3, Funny)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 2 years ago | (#42517229)

(3) You won't find many accountants on slashdot since they tend not to be among the intellectually/technologically curious types in my experience.

Ah yes, this old problem again:
Counsellor: Well I now have the results here of the interviews and the aptitude tests that you took last week, and from them we've built up a pretty clear picture of the sort of person that you are. And I think I can say, without fear of contradiction, that the ideal job for you is chartered accountancy.
Anchovy: But I am a chartered accountant.
Counsellor: Jolly good. Well back to the office with you then.
Anchovy: No! No! No! You don't understand. I've been a chartered accountant for the last twenty years. I want a new job. Something exciting that will let me live.
Counsellor: Well chartered accountancy is rather exciting isn't it?
Anchovy: Exciting? No it's not. It's dull. Dull. Dull. My God it's dull, it's so desperately dull and tedious and stuffy and boring and des-per-ate-ly DULL.
Counsellor: Well, er, yes Mr Anchovy, but you see your report here says that you are an extremely dull person. You see, our experts describe you as an appallingly dull fellow, unimaginative, timid, lacking in initiative, spineless, easily dominated, no sense of humour, tedious company and irrepressibly drab and awful. And whereas in most professions these would be considerable drawbacks, in chartered accountancy they are a positive boon.

Re:Irony (2)

ryzvonusef (1151717) | about 2 years ago | (#42520139)

(3) You won't find many accountants on slashdot since they tend not to be among the intellectually/technologically curious types in my experience.

HEY! I exist, darn it! :D

But never mind me, I once found a Chartered Accountant (British Variety, ICAEW I reckon) who actually gave me some very insightful pointers on the working of the british tax system, and he was masquerading as an AC! So we do prowl on Slashdot ;p

----

I won't comment on the relative merits of various accountancy qualifications, partly because that's a pissing match on the level of vi vs emacs (nano rules, bitches!) and partly because I have already done so in the past, it's back there somewhere in my comment history (I recall using cake as analogy...)

However, for the slashdotteurs who have little understanding of the terminology, I *will* provide some detailed info on the reasonable assurance bit, to help clarify and placate those who might assume auditing to be mere quackery (rest assured we are no ducks, though I give no assurance we are *not* geese...)

Basically (and to grossly simplify) Audit is merely one of many *Assurance engagement*. An assurance engagement is, again to simplify, where a professional gives his opinion (the "assurance") on something.

Professionals are people who *ought to know better* about a certain item; this is not just your uncle Joe who came along on your hunt to buy a jalopy, this is mechanic X who deals with cars, and knows (or at least, *ought* to know) a lemon when he sees one.

Thus a mechanic might give you assurance that the car you are buying is road-worthy, a property inspector might give assurance that the house is structurally sound etc...

Similarly, auditors assure shareholders that the financial statements are *true and fair*. (Yes, *true* and *fair* are two separate qualities.)

But here is the deal; most of the folks here are likely to be computer programmers, right? You know that programs run for thousands of lines of code, and that, especially with a collaboration work, you can't be sure that *every single line* of code is both correct and necessary. But as long as shit works, it gives 1+1=2, and doesn't fry the computer whenever it runs, you ship, right?

Same is the deal here. You can't be 100% sure in any sort of assurance engagement, but as long as it's *mostly* correct, and falls within an acceptable error range, no one minds the occasional odd or end.

This is called "reasonable assurance". Auditors do NOT provide "absolute assurance", because they cannot possibly insure that 100% of accounts are true and fair (can you imagine counting every single screw to ensure the count is correct?); rather they provide "assurance that statements are *reasonably* fair", meaning things work, and the company will at least run for another 12 months(which is what's meant by "going concern"), after which we will conduct another audit.

(side note, there is another one, called "limited assurance", where auditors only give assurance on a limited scale, a bit like the mechanic only insuring that the engine and transmission work, and that the brakes and body is not his responsibility...)

Our standard, our error of margin, is called "materiality". Materiality is the difference between loosing a 12-pack of pencils and a jumbo jet; one is a minor annoyance, the other could sink a company. There are guidelines for how to set materiality levels, something like a certain small percentage of revenue or assets.

As long as the errors on the financial statements are *not* material (i.e. errors amount to something three notepads, half a CD spindle and a stapler missing), we will issue a "reasonable assurance" that statements are "true and fair", even though they are not, because in the grand scheme of things, a lost stapler is not exactly likely to sink the company, nor will the shareholders be amused to learn that we delayed approving statements (and their dividends!) by three months simply to hunt down some bits of stationery.

And now you know.

Re:Irony (1)

TemporalBeing (803363) | about 2 years ago | (#42523633)

As a CPA, former auditor, and forensic consultant,

Well, I'm not a CPA - but my wife is (now) and of course in her studies I picked up a thing or two...

I can tell you 3 things: (1) Audits are not designed to detect fraud, further, i.e, they are only designed to provide only reasonable assurance that the statements are free from material error. Typically this is interpreted to mean that if members of a company were conspiring to commit fraud as opposed to some lone individual stealing money, it is less likely to be caught.

Exactly, but it's also with respect to the Auditing Plan submitted by the firm being audited, which does have standards (GAAS, IIRC) that it must comply with. Though as a forensic consultant you probably are looking for any traces regardless. But it's a pretty big loophole that firms could use to hide fraud, simply by leaving it out of the Auditing Plan.

(2) Most auditors are dumb, especially in the US, in my view largely because the CPA exam is far too easy and largely memorization based.

Can't speak to that. Though I do know they've been making some major changes to the CPA exams - all four parts - in the last few years. Some of it would be very hard to answer based on memorization - essays and simulations are now a big part of several of them, but there's still a lot of multiple choice in there too.

(3) You won't find many accountants on slashdot since they tend not to be among the intellectually/technologically curious types in my experience.

True. Accounting is, IMHO, just filling out forms which is rather boring to this crowd. Yes, you have to understand the numbers to fill out the forms correctly and all that, but this crowd would be more interested in automating that whole process. Of course, Auditors will always have to be involved to make sure that (i) the people using the automated software are using it correctly, and (ii) that the software is written correctly but making sure everything works out. And that whole process of auditing just changes as the software changes...yeah...not this crowds cup-o-tea.

Re:Irony (1)

ryzvonusef (1151717) | about 2 years ago | (#42520241)

Well...

1-An audit firm is the sum of it's constituent audit partners...blaming the whole firm is effectively meaningless.

2-An audit is as effective as the engaging audit partner is willing it to be.

3-Although ICAS will have us believe that audit rotations have no *benefit*, even it's President (Sir David Tweedie) can't ignore the fact that auditors are getting...*too cosy* with the clients.

Syntax Error (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42515821)

Expected ' before "write" on line 1.

What are top terms used by GOVERNMENT fraudsters? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42515825)

Answer: all government is fraud.

--libman

Re:What are top terms used by GOVERNMENT fraudster (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42515845)

paid troll

Re:What are top terms used by GOVERNMENT fraudster (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42516203)

I know you are.

I, on the other hand, have a very long and well-documented history of ideological conviction, and have suffered quite a bit in the name of Truth.

--libman

Re:What are top terms used by GOVERNMENT fraudster (2)

Pseudonym Authority (1591027) | about 2 years ago | (#42516269)

Being flamed on the internet for your sweeping generalizations and moronic declarations provided without argument does not qualify as suffering.

Re:What are the top terms used by GOV'T fraudsters (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42517739)

Being accused of excessive brevity is a rather new experience for me, which comes after many tens of thousands of pages of detailed (allegedly "long-winded") arguments against statism. But I cannot repeat the same lecture course on every single comments thread, and a rational reader would be able to find many great books (ex) [wikipedia.org] from which they can get an introduction to similar arguments.

Nor can I remain silent in light of misleading stories such as these, where a corrupt and violent monopoly (government) receives almost unlimited blind faith, and the very rare examples of private wrong-doing (the vast majority of which should be a contractual rather than a criminal matter) are exaggerated with propagandistic zeal.

The right thing to do is to stand up for Truth, no matter if I can spare 15 seconds or 15 hours to write my post.

--libman

Re:What are the top terms used by GOV'T fraudsters (1)

BVis (267028) | about 2 years ago | (#42517997)

Time to get your meds adjusted and change the tinfoil in your hat, there, Sparky.

I am REALLY high right now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42518823)

Could you say that without any 'blue' words? I'm having trouble understanding that whole end of the spectrum right now. Please stick to red or green.

--libman

Re:I am REALLY high right now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42520039)

SlashcodeScraper.Options['Slashdot']['FalsePositiveSigCIDs'] += 42518823

(Hmmm, maybe a few hundred fake Libman posts would compel me to make it a one-click feature in my Slashcode viewer proxy script, but for now I don't even consider it a minor annoyance. It's actually quite fun! A few people have tried to spoof me over the years, but actually matching my writing style has always been beyond their intellect...)

--libman

Re:What are the top terms used by GOV'T fraudsters (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42519735)

Time to get your meds adjusted and change the tinfoil in your hat, there, Sparky.

I will consider all medical advice on the basis of scientific merit. For the past ~15 years I required no significant medical intervention, only diet and exercise. My IT and physical security policies (if that's what you mean by "tinfoil hat") are both non-intrusive and effective, but I am always open to suggestions. I have a very long history of using my real name [freetalklive.com] and even my contact information [whois.net] online, so you have absolutely no basis for implying that I'm paranoid, while you yourself are hiding behind an alias. (My posting as "AC" on /. is a result of politically biased mods.)

If you have anything constructive to add to this conversation, you should do so through reasonable arguments, not insults.

--libman

Re:What are the top terms used by GOV'T fraudsters (1)

Pseudonym Authority (1591027) | about 2 years ago | (#42521463)

I never said you were brief, I said that you made sweeping generalizations and moronic declarations. The later does not imply the first.

Re:What are top terms used by GOVERNMENT fraudster (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | about 2 years ago | (#42516983)

masochist?

88/14 Seig Heil! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42516119)

The holocaust never happened.

Asskisser (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42515833)

Or is that a brown area?

Company memo to stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42515841)

Its not a computer programm but a company memo to staff on how to do it right.

Sorta like this? (4, Funny)

ArcadeNut (85398) | about 2 years ago | (#42515883)

I know this is a grey area, and this may sound like a cover up, but we need to keep this failed investment off the books or do a write off. Nobody will find out.

Re:Sorta like this? (1)

toygeek (473120) | about 2 years ago | (#42515979)

Are there any special fees or friendly payments? If so, I'm in. Give me a call. My phone number is 419....

Re:Sorta like this? (1)

TemporalBeing (803363) | about 2 years ago | (#42523769)

Are there any special fees or friendly payments? If so, I'm in. Give me a call. My phone number is 419....

I'll join too. Just call me at 911-5673.

Nah, the warez people have got this (4, Funny)

Valacosa (863657) | about 2 years ago | (#42516033)

"I know this is a g2ey 4r34, and this may sound like a c0\/er up, but we need to keep this f41led inv3stment off the b00ks or do a \/\/rite off. N0b0dy will find ou7."

Re:Sorta like this? (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 2 years ago | (#42516263)

Set to the tune of Call Me Maybe, this could be a hit.

So they're only looking for (1, Funny)

bugs2squash (1132591) | about 2 years ago | (#42515991)

British Fraudsters.

Duh (3, Funny)

1u3hr (530656) | about 2 years ago | (#42516023)

Any idiot that SENDS AN EMAIL from his corporate account discussing a fraud, using whatever phrases, deserves to get caught. What the fuck does "Off the books" mean if not "DON'T WRITE ANYTHING DOWN".

Re:Duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42516053)

A lot of small companies (and I do mean small, although I suppose large ones probably do it more) keep things off the books... but most of them are only defrauding the government.

Re:Duh (1)

phagstrom (451510) | about 2 years ago | (#42516085)

but...but....it was an email, not a book.

Re:Duh (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | about 2 years ago | (#42516133)

Yeah, that's why "call my mobile" is also one of the flag phrases...

Re:Duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42516367)

(Because mobile phones are impossible to trace or intercept. :P )

Re:Duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42521757)

(Because mobile phones are impossible to trace or intercept. :P )

When an investigation starts after the fraud, yes. You'd need a time machine. E-mails are often preserved. That's what this article is about.

Re:Duh (1)

otherniceman (180671) | about 2 years ago | (#42516205)

Any idiot that SENDS AN EMAIL from his corporate account discussing a fraud, using whatever phrases, deserves to get caught. What the fuck does "Off the books" mean if not "DON'T WRITE ANYTHING DOWN".

And, if you are going to send an email telling everyone to delete the incriminating emails, make sure you delete that email.

Furthermore, Mike Brighty, another Hasbro Sales Director, was clearly aware not only of the pricing initiative itself but also of its illegality when he suggested to Ian Thomson to ask Lesley Paisley of Littlewoods to delete an incriminating e-mail ('its highly illegal and it could bite you right in the arse!!!! suggest you phone Lesley and tell her to trash?')

Source: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:mTdDzUvGeksJ:www.oft.gov.uk/shared_oft/ca98_public_register/decisions/hasbro2.rtf+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=uk [googleusercontent.com]

Re:Duh (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42516531)

We have a better phrase for this where I come from: "Let's take this offline".

Re:Duh (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | about 2 years ago | (#42517011)

Oh no, so all those concalls (a couple a day at least) where I uttered that phrase wound up being manually inspected? There's a few FBI guys sleeping somewhere.

Re:Duh (2)

Hentes (2461350) | about 2 years ago | (#42516607)

Once corporate people discover encryption, we will be doomed.

Re:Duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42516609)

I'm confused - shouldn't they be caught? Me, I prefer my criminals dumb...

Re:Duh (1)

zazzel (98233) | about 2 years ago | (#42516803)

I wonder why the above comment has been moderated "funny". I think he was dead serious. But it's good to know that at least SOME criminals are such utter morons that they would leave a digital "paper trail".

Re:Duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42519883)

You have no idea about the extent of human stupidity, or how blatant, serious violations of the SOX act only warrant a slap on the wrist.

I moved into management, and found out a new hire was getting paid 12 hours a day when only working 8 hours a day. In an E-mail conversation, the employee, (who was a recent graduate of CSU in Finance) said that he was hired less than what was promised and his supervisor told him to pay himself 12 hours a day when he was only working 8 to "make up the difference". The supervisor, in e-mail confirmed this and said this was approved. His supervisor also agreed that it was approved, in e-mail. Upper management was notified that the low-level and mid-level managers approved this payment for non-worked hours, provided e-mails. You know what happened? The employee was *NICELY* told that the business doesn't run that way and only get paid the hours they worked, was given his raise to cover what was promised and the person who pointed that out got a reprimand and warning not to do that again. The managers that approved the payment for non-hours worked, they were told not to do that.

Small podunk company? No. Fortune 100 NYSE listed company.

/Still a little bitter about it.
//Same managers have done the same thing twice in the last two months, not even a slap on the wrist to them.
///And they STILL discuss everything in e-mail

Other reasons.... (1, Funny)

mindwhip (894744) | about 2 years ago | (#42516083)

A lot of these phrases also apply when you are having an affair with the secretary and/or wife of the boss...

Re:Other reasons.... (2)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | about 2 years ago | (#42516141)

What? Does the secretary charge "special fees" and "friendly payments" for her "services"? She isn't moonlighting near the train station is she?

Re:Other reasons.... (1)

tibit (1762298) | about 2 years ago | (#42517691)

A colleague runs a hedge fund in New York, and he's paying his secretary $200k yearly. He's stupid if he doesn't have a professional prostitue, preferably with a Ph.D., working for him :)

all sounds pretty innocuous to me--- (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42516091)

Isn't that how investment bankers talk all the time?

Re:all sounds pretty innocuous to me--- (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 years ago | (#42516123)

Isn't that how investment bankers talk all the time?

Yeah, I thought "write off" was standard operating procedure.

Though I don't suppose that means it can't be fraud too...

Re:all sounds pretty innocuous to me--- (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42516589)

Yea, it is standard operating procedure to write certain things off.

But it's also somewhere where you can sneak some fraud through too. Which you can only do because it's normal to write some things off, so it's a way to hide an extra thing.

Re:all sounds pretty innocuous to me--- (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42516147)

Investment bankers committing fraud are like kids pissing in the public swimming pool. As long as they're being discrete about it, the general public happily ignores the inevitability that its going on all around us all the time.

Re:all sounds pretty innocuous to me--- (2)

alci63 (1856480) | about 2 years ago | (#42516617)

Why fraud when it is so simple to be perfectly legal in all these tax havens ?

Re:all sounds pretty innocuous to me--- (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42517847)

it's a grey area.

Double meanings (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42516215)

This will just make them change their language to have a double meanings like "Let me buy you lunch" may suggest an ulterior motive just like "Let me buy you a drink" does. I am sure this type of thing goes on anyway.

They forgot (1)

Grayhand (2610049) | about 2 years ago | (#42516219)

"My friend, I'm a Nigerian princess in need of a way to transfer 25 million dollars into a US account." The point is fraud generally plays off an element of greed. You help me and you get something for nothing. It's the basis of 90% of all confidence schemes. The "off the books" scams are along those lines. Break the rules and I'll make you rich.

Re:They forgot (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | about 2 years ago | (#42516409)

This article isn't about scammers casting a wide net to find victims for confidence tricks; these are business partners and colleagues actually conspiring to commit corporate fraud or tax evasion.
The confidence trick is a meta-scam: It pretends to invite you to become a partner in crime, while you are in reality the intended victim. They're two different things.

Write off (2)

Meneth (872868) | about 2 years ago | (#42516229)

Obligatory [youtube.com] .

I am puzzled (2)

drolli (522659) | about 2 years ago | (#42516353)

Iff you ever do something within the grey area, then do so without witnesses. Leaving an email trail that somthing is done in "the gray area" to "keep things of the books" is pretty much the opposite. It is very likley that reacting to such emails takes a misbooking or a thing for which you can at worst get fired straight to a criminal level.

I for my part always walk away in business if somebody suggest me things in "the gray area". If i am somehow related to that person i would point it out during in a few words during the coffee break.

If colleagues/boss engage in such things i also walk away. Gives me the option later to deny knowing about it in detail.

Tautology much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42516645)

So if we want to detect a cover up, the best term to search for is "cover up"?

I have trouble finding meaning for any of this without, for instance, incidence rates for both fraudulent and legitimate corporation.

Talking about "unethical" things applies to ethical people too, that's how they determine whether or not it's ethical.

Re:Tautology much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42517071)

So if we want to detect a cover up, the best term to search for is "cover up"?

No. But if you want to find out whether someone has discovered your cover-up, searching for "cover up" is probably a good idea. :-)

Re:I am puzzled (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42516995)

Gives me the option later to deny knowing about it in detail.

Formal opposition, if your are a board member, is a good way to deflect guilt for those grey area decisions as well. Just make sure the minutes are always recorded and intact.

Admin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42516461)

Just launched quick search on our Exchange server - mobile phone manufacturer - and found lots of e-mails with the mentioned keywords in management mailboxes. WTF?!

Re:Admin (1)

inasity_rules (1110095) | about 2 years ago | (#42516869)

Nokia? Is that you?

Problems for politicians..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42516491)

It's not the bankers and fraudsters that need to worry about this. They don't really cause any problems for the average person. It's the politicians who are really at risk.

I wonder what the equivalent system for detecting lies is?

OMG!!! (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 years ago | (#42516599)

Those are the same words that investment bankers and banks in general use all the time!

I knew the whole banking industry was just a ball of fraud.

Good Information (-1, Offtopic)

avisa (2810943) | about 2 years ago | (#42516713)

Very good Information: http://www.vietnamvisaorg.com/ [vietnamvisaorg.com]

Corporate Speak! (0)

kurt555gs (309278) | about 2 years ago | (#42516845)

GNAA leverages core skillsets and world-class synergy through teamwork to provide clients worldwide with robust, scalable, modern turnkey implementations of flexible, personalized, cutting-edge Internet-enabled ebusiness application product suite esolution architectures that accelerate response to customer and real-world market demands and reliably adapt to evolving technology needs, seamlessly and efficiently integrating and synchronizing with their existing legacy infrastructure, enhancing the sodomy-readiness capabilities of their ecommerce production environments across the enterprise while giving them a critical competitive advantage and taking them to the next level.

Re:Corporate Speak! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42517161)

You forgot the link to the enhanced rear hole solution page. :-)

Re:Corporate Speak! (1)

kurt555gs (309278) | about 2 years ago | (#42517227)

I am NOT a member, so I don't know all the in's and out's. I just thought this was a great example of the babble heard in company meetings throughout the nation.

As long as fraudsters don't end up in government.. (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about 2 years ago | (#42516863)

the FBI have my blessing.

Re:As long as fraudsters don't end up in governmen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42517349)

Haven't you been paying attention? The fraudsters ARE the government and have been for decades now.

In another news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42516937)

Download the deFBIaTor OutlookExpress pluggin, it will automatically translate any trigger word into safe words when sending and back when reading.
It's free and all data collected are used only by deFBIaTor Inc and it's trusted partners for targeted low bandwith customer respecting advertisement for:
Swiss banking services, Executive Security services, Executive DeStressing services and similar...

Make your email usefull again ! for fun and profit...

Should be checking reddit.com/r/bitcoin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42516951)

The sooner the bitcoin related scams are finished with the better.

Don't Miss The Interesting Thing (2)

smpoole7 (1467717) | about 2 years ago | (#42517015)

Folks, this is the future. Computers can cross-reference and correlate things at lightning speeds and, once something approaching true artificial intelligence comes along, they'll be able to tell (with 99% accuracy) when someone is lying or telling the truth.

Recommended reading: the "Troy Rising" series by John Ringo. Even if you're not into the "oo-rah" and military stuff, Ringo's one of the best when it comes to realistic artificial intelligences. By the third book ("The Hot Gate") one of the protagonists has struck up a friendship with one of the fabber AIs. The AI admits as much to her, that it can not only tell when a human is lying, it can tell when that person is engaged in illegal activity, just by observing behavior.

In the Troy series, the privacy issues are handled with strict "protocols" (i.e., laws hard-coded into the programming) that govern AI behavior, but this is something that we're going to be facing in the future. What the FBI is doing here is going to look like the first crude steam locomotives compared to what AIs will be capable of in not too many years from now.

Re:Don't Miss The Interesting Thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42525585)

Oh, we knew about this long ago. In 1956 this fellow Philip K. Dick wrote a book called The Minority Report. An adaptation of the movie was released in 2002 called Minority Report. Its about the very same subject.

The Lives of Others (Das Leben Der Anderen) is another movie about this very subject, in the STASI context.

When your communication is monitored in large amount like in this example then you know you are living in a police state.

There's also a very easy way people could use to get around it: public key authentication like GnuPG.

Keep us safe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42517143)

In a related note some other words that are used in a large amount of frauds:
-To
-A
-It
-And
-Don't let the wife know

Protect yourselves, report everybody!

More terms for M-x spook (1)

emag (4640) | about 2 years ago | (#42518025)

Sounds like emacs' spook [gnu.org] will be getting an update with more keywords and phrases!

But how often are these terms used in other cases? (2)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | about 2 years ago | (#42518089)

One obvious issue is how often these phrases show up in legitimate contexts. For example, "grey area" might be used frequently if one has a legal department. Not to volunteer information could easily be an instruction to an overly talkative employee or executive or the like to not blab about what the company is currently trying to do but hasn't gotten to work quite yet, or even has gotten to work and are industrial secrets. The last is a surprisingly common problem- a relative of my at one point was the COO of a baking company that was owned by someone who knew little to nothing about the industry (having inherited it) and on at least two occasions blabbed to people outside the company secrets about their manufacturing processes in apparent attempts to impress people. And that was in baking. In the circumstance my relative couldn't get the owner to stop (it is a bit hard to tell your boss to shut up) , but similar issues probably show up in a lot of industries.

So while some of these phrases seem obviously problematic (off the books is the most obvious one) I suspect that others could by themselves be often very innocent.

Most common phrase leading to malfeasance (2)

Quila (201335) | about 2 years ago | (#42518407)

"I accept this position as CEO."

Strange (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 2 years ago | (#42518735)

I would of expected the most common words to be "I", "we", "the", "a", and so on and so forth.

Never write when you can talk... (1)

knorthern knight (513660) | about 2 years ago | (#42524773)

"Never write when you can talk. Never talk when you can nod. And never put anything in an e-mail." -- from 2005 by Eliot Spitzer, former Attorney General, New York State.

An opportunity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42525085)

I see a market opening up in word processor add-ons that will red-flag all of these phrases just like they do grammatical and spelling errors...

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