India’s Black Money 2011: Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee said the tax department would launch prosecution proceedings in relevant cases from the names of account holders given by foreign banks


The news headline in Livemint & Hindustan Times reveals latest update on India’s Black Money…… here is the full article

*****  The PIL claims this is a “colossal failure to enforce the law” due to influential politicians in various parties being involved in the offences. *****

New Delhi: Ahead of a Supreme Court hearing on a public interest litigation (PIL) on black money, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee at a press conference on Tuesday detailed the government’s strategy to deal with black money and said the tax department would launch prosecution proceedings in relevant cases from amongst names of account holders given by foreign banks.

Pranab Mukherjee, Indian politician, current F...

Image via Wikipedia

 

The government has the names of account holders in Liechtenstein’s LGT Bank and information given by German banks.

Mukherjee refused to name account holders citing secrecy clauses attached to legal frameworks with different countries which are used to obtain information on Indian account holders in foreign banks.

The information, however, has been given to the Supreme Court in a “sealed envelope,” Mukherjee, said. The names would be revealed when the tax department launches prosecution proceedings in relevant cases, he added.

The Supreme Court on 27 January resumes hearing a PIL on black money being held in European banks by Indians, initiated by senior lawyer Ram Jethmalani along with some former civil servants, who want the court to examine the issue as well as the falling standards of administration on the part of the government.

The PIL claims this is a “colossal failure to enforce the law” due to influential politicians in various parties being involved in the offences.

According to Mukherjee, the press conference had its roots in a suggestion by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asking the finance ministry to place in public domain the strategy to deal with black money. Singh had made the suggestion during a recent cabinet meeting which discussed amendments India had signed with its tax partners to elicit information on foreign bank accounts of Indians.

During a hearing on 19 January, the Supreme Court took a tough position against the union government, asking it why it was not disclosing the names of Indian citizens who allegedly stashed away large sums of unaccounted money in European banks from 2002 to 2006.

The main pillar of the government’s strategy to deal with the problem is to amend tax treaties with different countries to allow for information on bank details to be shared.

Indian Money

Image via Wikipedia

According to Mukherjee, a change in international opinion in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis had played a positive role in amending treaties. 

The G-20 countries had decided to jointly take on countries or tax jurisdictions, which were reluctant to share critical information, Mukherjee, said.

sanjiv.s@livemint.com

http://www.livemint.com/2011/01/25144003/Black-Money–Pranab-says-can.html?h=E

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Black-money-Pranab-to-appear-before-Parliamentary-panel/H1-Article1-655117.aspx

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US Government Launches Anti-Fraud Site (StopFraud.gov) (via economics)


Here we get to read about the interesting & much required initiative taken by Obama’s US Government by launching StopFraud.gov
a website to educate individuals & reveal various actions of Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force.

stopfraud.gov

President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force has introduced a new Web site to educate Americans about how to protect themselves from fraud and report instances of fraud. The site, StopFraud.gov, will also provide information about the task force’s work. Obama established the interagency task force to wage a coordinated effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of f … Read More

via economics

The new age ETHICS-LINE ….


In addition to the earlier article, here are a few segmental solutions provided by EthicsLine.

The new Ethicsline solution will include:

  • 24/7/365 Telephone Hotline to accommodate the confidential and anonymous intake of allegations of business misconduct or noncompliance by live Communication Specialists. Interpretation is available in up to 150 languages.
  • 24/7/365 Web Hotline to complement the telephone hotline service and accommodate the confidential and anonymous intake of allegations from any computer with Internet access. The standard web reporting site is pre-translated in 30+ languages and additional languages are available.
  • Categorization of reported allegations during intake to facilitate the distribution of reports in accordance with your organizational structure and investigation workflow, and to enable trending and analysis by issue type.
  • Automated Transactional Report Delivery via e-mail and online featuring your choice of centralized or decentralized report distribution.
  • Case Management System for the management and analysis of reported issues across all sources of receipt. Using Case Management, you can review and respond to reported issues, enter reports received internally, assign and manage case investigations to resolution, search and analyze reported data, and create and manage investigative users. Real-time summary charts and graphs also allow you to drill-down, print, and export the data.
  • Monthly Summary Management Reports provide graphical and tabular views of report volume and issue types.

read more @ http://www.ethicsline.com

Waiters Aren’t the Only Ones Who Rely on TIPs !! Innovative FRAUD prevention Technique


I came across this extremely  innovative concept in an advertisement of ETHICSLINE, an Hotline provider in ACFE‘s Anti-Fraud Resource Guide that states

“IPs are the leading method for detecting organizational FRAUD & Abuse.”

Well, right here is an extremely amazing & clandestine idea that was revealed to me & its a pleasure to share this info with you all.

Everybody has heard about various HOTLINE’s available for different products & concepts viz.  Customer care, Order, Inquiries, Public facilitation, etc. But has anyone ever thought about maintaining the information database on numerous Compliance issues for an induvidual, a Company or any form of Business Entity.

Why is it Necessary:

Hotlines provide a confidential and anonymous means through which fraud and other forms of business misconduct may be reported. Since no organization is immune to organizational fraud and abuse, a hotline can enable early detection and minimize the negative impact to your business.

And, hotlines are mandatory for many companies: Section 301 of Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) requires publicly traded corporations to establish procedures for the confidential and anonymous submission of concerns regarding accounting or auditing matters. Even private companies, academic institutions, and government entities who are not currently required to comply with SOX have instituted hotlines since they are relatively inexpensive “insurance” when compared to other forms of internal control and provide real, measurable, anti-fraud benefits. Hotlines are also a core part of an “effective” ethics and compliance program as defined by the U.S. Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

What is it about?

Global Compliance introduced the original compliance reporting hotline in 1981 and is now the largest and most innovative provider – serving thousands of clients and their 25 million employees in over 200 countries. Global Compliance’s current client base includes 50% of the Fortune 100, 35% of the Fortune 1000, and 25% of the Global 500, along with major academic institutions, government entities, and non-profit organizations.

As the most experienced provider of hotlines worldwide, Global Compliance has built a proprietary database of over 3 million hotline reports – it’s the largest and most robust source of ethics and compliance reports in the world.

In addition to hotline and case management services, Global Compliance also offers expert advisory services, training and awareness programs, and benchmarking that leverages the proprietary database and provides contextual insight into ethics and compliance program performance. These services are also offered and delivered globally to its international client base today.

Hotlines are an effective means of uncovering allegations or concerns specific to:

  • Accounting, Auditing, and Financial Reporting
  • Business Integrity
  • Diversity, Equal Opportunity, and Workplace Respect
  • Environment, Health and Safety
  • Human Relations, Administrative, Compensation
  • Misuse or Misappropriation of Organizational Assets, Information

read more info @ http://www.ethicsline.com

Warning: The US Government Mail You Received Might Be a Scam


Warning

This article is a reprint of Wise Bread’s contribution to OPEN Forum from American Express — where small business owners can get advice from experts and share tips with each other.

Con artists are constantly bombarding us with bills that look like official government mail.  It is one of the most effective scams, and there’s a good chance you are already a victim.

“33% of all businesses that receive bills in the mail for products or services they never asked for actually pay the bills,” said Robert Siciliano, an identity theft expert and author of The Safety Minute.

Fake bills are especially convincing when disguised as government mail.  For example, here’s a picture of a fraudulent letter I received from the “Business Filing Division”

Fake Business Filling Bill Form

It looks just like a real California state form.  Using official language and citations to actual law, the letter warns that my business will be suspended if I didn’t pay $239 to update my company’s information with the state of California.  (California does require businesses to periodically update their information, but it only costs $20, not $239.)

After almost falling for this scam, I reached out to experts and other victims of government mailing scams to learn more about how it works.  Here’s a list of their best advice on:

I.  8 ways to spot this scam

Most of these fake government letters share the following tricky features:

1.  Everything looks official

These fake letters have official-looking seals, quote real regulations, and contain government forms that look like the real thing.

The words “Office Use Only” are prominently displayed on the top.  This is a sneaky attempt to mimic the words “Official Use Only.” – Harif87 (http://www.scam.com/member.php?u=136786), Scam.com.

“I’m a designer, and so I can usually spot the difference right away between a real government document and a spurious one.  But often times they’re very close!  I have a grudging respect for how well these sales letters are designed to look like government notices.”  – Matt Kirkland, Brand New Box.

2.  They have your correct information

Just because they have your correct information doesn’t mean the letter is legitimate.  A lot of your professional and personal information are part of the public record.  It is easy for scammers to pick info from online databases and go to work.  – Alexis A. Moore, Survivors in Action.

“Since your state filings are public records, they time the mailings to coincide with your corporation’s actual renewal dates.”  – Kate Lister, author of Undress For Success.

3.  Offering a semi-legitimate service

“Some of these companies offer a legitimate service that is actually required by State Law.  However, they do not offer this service in a forthright manner.”  – Lisa Nguyen esq, Proviso Law Group.

4.  Sneaky disclaimers

“The mailings generally contain disclaimers required by law, such as ‘This is not an invoice.’  However they can still be deceptive if prepared in a format similar to a state document such as an annual report.”  – John Meyer, Company Corporation.

Even when disclaimers are attached, they are sometimes printed in small gray letters, hidden among a sea of legal jargon, or printed on parts of the letter that is likely to be discarded.  –  Issamar Ginzberg, Entrepreneur of the Year.

5.  Prey on your fear of government and obedience to authority

“The letter language didn’t feel right.  It was vague and stressed a deadline.  It preyed on a fear that one is delinquent on a government related fee.” –  Blaine Ung, co-founder of WebinarHero.

“I got accustomed to writing checks to the government in order to get the LLC set up.  Just when I thought that the numerous fees were done with, I got a letter in the mail exactly as you described.  I was furious that I was going to have to pay $325 each year as another cost of doing business.” – Taylor Brown, lead software architect for YouNeedABudget.

6.  Targeting the most vulnerable people

“What makes this insidious is that they are preying on new business owners who are probably excited to get their business off the ground, almost at any cost.”  – Russ Hearl, co-founder of Sherpa Travel Exchange.

7.  Deceptive addresses

They are set up in virtual office parks located in prestigious business buildings. The addresses are in the state capital to avoid raising red flags. – Christine Durst, co-author of The 2-Second Commute.

8.  Official sounding names

They use important names like “Corporate Compliance Filings,” “Board of Business Center,” “Annual Filing Division,” “Business Filing Division,” “Compliance Annual Minutes Board,” “Federal Clearing House,” “Department of Business Minutes,” “Department of Business Compliance,” etc.

II.  7 most effective ways to protect yourself

1.  Google the phone number and payment address

“I did a Google search of the phone number to see if it led to a government Website; instead I found numerous postings that the number I searched belongs to an organization that scams business owners out of money. Thank goodness for these public forums and for the folks that take the time to post in them.”  – Caroline Callaway, Bolt Public Relations.

2.  Look for official consumer alerts

Check your state’s official website for consumer alerts.  Most likely your scam has already been reported (see official state websites for all 50 states).  – Nicole Winger, spokesperson for CA Secretary of State.

3.  Your accountant or lawyer may help for free

“I never charge clients for asking questions.  I thank them and make them feel good for bringing it to my attention before taking action so that they feel good about contacting me whenever another similar question comes up.” – Michael T. Hanley, CPA at Merl & Hanley.

“Generally, I don’t charge my client for looking at a document like this if they hired me to set up the LLC or Corporation.”  – Lisa Nguyen esq, Proviso Law Group.

4.  Set reminders in accounting or calendaring software

Enter your schedule of required government payments into your accounting software.  By setting up reminders in advance, you can quickly verify whether you are late for a payment.  – Dawn Tulman, ToiBocks.

If you have made payments to the real government agency in the past, the agency’s mailing information should already be in your accounting software’s database.  The fact that you have to create a new payee profile for this new “bill” should raise red flags.  – Rick Smith, Chefs Resource.

5.  Create an official “accounts payable list”

“We have an official Accounts Payable list.  Anything not on that list is required to be forwarded to me (president of the company) for review.” – Ken Wisnefski, Webimax.

6.  Use a legitimate third-party service

I registered my LLC through the Company Corporation.  My service package gives me unlimited access to their toll-free customer service hotline.  When I asked about the dubious letter I received, they immediately identified it as a scam.  Their website also has a helpful scam alert section.

Several other companies provide legitimate incorporation and business registration services.  For example, Denise LaBuda, founder of Money Wizdom, also got excellent help from Mycorporation.com when she received the same fake government solicitation.

7.  Join a community

Don’t reinvent the wheel.  Other business owners have received the same scam letters and have already done the research.  Joining communities like the Rotary Club, your local Chamber of Commerce, blog communities, or online business forums give you access to a large reservoir of collective experiences.

Membership in these communities can also open many doors.  When I did research on this scam, I identified myself as a contributor to the American Express Open Forum and Wise Bread community.  I received a torrent of responses, including immediate follow-ups from the California Secretary of State and the IRS.

III.  Getting help after you’ve been scammed

Should you contact law enforcement?

“Depending on how savvy the scammers are, it may be difficult for law enforcement to tackle from a resource perspective.  While there are a number of state and federal rules and regulations that can be called into play, the reality is that most won’t have much of an effect since the potential for enforcement is so low.”  – Edi Goodman, chief privacy officer of Identity Theft 911.

On the other hand, California’s Attorney General has been actively prosecuting these rip-off artists. When in doubt, it is probably best to make a report.

Organizations that help

There are non-profit victim advocacy groups that can help you file complaints.  “Reporting crime and knowing what to look for in a scam is difficult.  We have volunteers eager to assist anyone who is in need at no charge.”  – Alexis A. Moore, Survivors in Action.

Contact your credit card company

If you paid by check or money transfer you can probably kiss that money goodbye.  However, if you paid by credit or charge card, you may be able to dispute the charges. – Shawn Mosch, Co-founder of ScamVictimsUnited.

IV. The many variations of this scam

These government solicitation scams often target the following groups:

  • Business owners: Notice offers to update your company information, file your corporate minutes, renew your business registration, or help with other record-keeping requirements.
  • Taxpayers:  Scammer tempts you with a fake tax refund or scares you with a delinquency notice.
  • Property owners:  Letter tells you that you’re eligible for lower property taxes if you submitted to an official reassessment of your property’s value.
  • Licensed professionals such as realtors, cosmetologists, brokers:  You get a bill for renewing your license, along with a stern warning that failure to pay will result in revocation of your license.
  • Employers:  Letter tries to sell you employment posters required for the workplace.  Usually these posters can be downloaded for free from official government websites.

V.  Why this scam is so dangerous

Beyond monetary loss, there are many other reasons why you should worry about these scams.

Marked as a mark

If you respond to one letter, you might be marked as an “easy target” and receive additional – and perhaps more dangerous – solicitations in the future.

They might be after your identity

“The scammers are often looking for personal data as well as bogus fees.  They’ll use the info for ‘true ID’ thefts, which means setting up credit accounts in your name and making other mischief.” – James Walsh, editor of Scams & Swindles: How to Recognize and Avoid Internet Era Rip-offs.

You miss a real government deadline

Some of these scams “help” you fulfill a real government requirement at an extremely inflated price.  But just because they are charging you a high fee is no guarantee that they will do a good job.

In one recent California case, a company charged victims $175 to help them file corporate records.  However, the company didn’t bother asking the victims for the right information, and instead filed fictitious corporate records on the victims’ behalf.

VI.  Official state websites for registering or incorporating your business

Before you pay another “bill” from the government, check your state’s official website for the real requirements and deadlines:

Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
District of Columbia
Florida
Georgia
Guam
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Puerto Rico
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
U.S. Virgin Islands
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming

If you have received these fraudulent letters in the past, please share your experiences in the comments.  Search engines will pick up your story and make it easier for other people to identify these scams.

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US GDP Fraud … a report on user-generated Social News site www.nowpublic.com


The US government released GDP figures showing rosy 3.5% growth in the third quarter. But don’t be fooled: the books were cooked. This time by the cash for clunkers boondoggle, the first time homebuyers tax credit, and other forms of useless stimuli.

According to The Wall Street Journal, “fully 2.2 percentage points of the third quarter’s 3.5% growth figure related to vehicle purchases and residential construction, both juiced by government support. Federal spending added 0.6%.”

Spending Trend

Spending Trend

GDP Growth with & without Mortgage Equity Withdrawals (MEW)

GDP Growth with & without Mortgage Equity Withdrawals (MEW)

The Bureau of Economic Analysis says, “car sales shot up 157.6% quarter on quarter.” That means cash for clunkers accounted for 1.66% of total GDP.

So subtract fake demand (1.66%) from the official GDP figure (3.5%), and you’re left with 1.84% GDP growth. Not so great after all…

And if you take away other forms of stimulus, the GDP picture appears even darker. According to David Rosenberg, GDP would have been flat or negative without stimulus.

“Don’t believe the GDP hype,” Dan Denning cautions. “The big problems in the economy – too much debt, too much leverage, too much government – are still there. They didn’t go anywhere overnight. We’d suggest that getting sucked back into stocks now because of the US GDP figure is a very bad idea.”

“Of course, we could be wrong,” Dan, continues. “Maybe stocks will go up another 20% from here, or 30%, or 50%. But it’s not likely. It’s more likely that the recession is over, but that the Depression has just begun.”

“It’s begun because what the US GDP numbers actually show is a private sector in full retreat as its income shrinks, its assets fall in value and the cost of servicing debt rises. Into that terrible breach the public sector has stepped armed with an arsenal of inefficient and stupid programs that give the illusion of economic activity, but actually prevent the economy from liquidating excess capacity and bad debt (the two conditions required for a real recovery).”

“Never before did a gap between a 3.2% consensus GDP forecast and an actual print of 3.5% manage to elicit so much excitement in the equity market. It just goes to show how speculative the stock market has become.” The question is why the economy couldn’t do even better?

GDP Fraud

GDP Fraud

“Historically, the auto sector adds 0.1-percentage point or 0.2-percentage point to any given GDP report. In the third quarter, courtesy of cash-for-clunkers, the sector added 1.7 percentage points to the headline figure, which is less than 1-in-10 event in terms of probabilities. Tack on the rebound in housing and government spending and the areas of GDP that received the most medication from public sector stimulus contributed almost all of the growth in the economy. You read this right. If not for the entire government incursion into the economy in Q3, real GDP basically would have stagnated.”

Rosenberg puts the US “recovery” into perspective by comparing it to the eerily similar “recovery” experienced by the Japanese in the 1990s.

“While it seems very flashy, 3.5% growth is far from a trend-setter. Let’s go back to Japan. Since 1990, it has enjoyed no fewer than 19 of these 3.5%-or-better GDP growth quarters. That is almost 25% of the time, by the way. And we know with hindsight that this was noise around the fundamental downtrend because the Japanese economy has experienced four recessions and the equity market is down more than 70% from the peak. What is important for the future is whether the U.S. economy can manage to sustain that 3.5% growth performance in the absence of ongoing massive government stimulus.” In other words, it may be a little early to uncork the champagne.

The big risk going into Q4 is a renewed contraction in real final sales. That is not priced into the various asset classes right now. When good news starts generating the same volume as bad, then one can start with the champagne nibbling. Until then, be very careful with the interpretation of presented results. Don’t think easily that official GDP figures can be trusted like China does; most figures are cooked in the US too.

Look at the data from railroad traffic. Just like electricity demand, this indicator can’t be doctored. Statisticians eager to please the boss can’t massage those ones. Published last week, the Association of American Railroads reported a steep decline in rail traffic:

“Rail traffic remains down year over year for the week ended Oct. 24, 2009. U.S railroads reported originating 276,357 carloads, down 14.8 percent compared with the same week in 2008 and 17.3 percent from 2007.”

A 14.8% decline should cause concern to any bulls out there. One need to look beyond the government sponsored green shoots to see weeds sprouting up everywhere.

And this to think about:
“ If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State. ” (Joseph Goebbels)

Truth is the mortal enemy of the lie. This is a profound observation from such an evil man. The definition of truth is being in accordance with fact or reality. The Nazis were masters of using propaganda to manipulate facts and produce the reality that suited their wicked purposes. Other states have attempted to repress dissent and rule by using the Big Lie. The Soviet Union and Communist China come to mind.

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