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Skye Schmeitz

Netherlands

Member since December 10, 2013


  • How one company is helping Thai businesses battle a problem that costs billions of baht every year

    A car parts manufacturer in Thailand was puzzled when it found that despite turnover increasing substantially, there was a mysterious decline in profits.

    When Vorapong Sutanont and his financial forensics team at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) were asked to look into the case, they performed an investigation based on the suspicion that this notable imbalance was due to fraud.

    The team pulled hard disk drives from company PCs and searched emails between factory employees, reviewed accounting transactions and company records such as invoices and receipts, matching up purchase orders with actual material on the ground, and conducted interviews with suspects and employees.

    “What we found was actually much greater than what was even suspected by the company”, Mr Vorapong said.

    THE ROLE OF TECHNOLOGY

    In today's corporate environment, everything is stored electronically, and disk drives are a crucial part of any investigation.

    Up to six people usually occupy PwC's computer forensics laboratory on the 17th floor of Bangkok City Tower on Sathon Road, which was empty when Spectrum paid a visit last week as the staff were in Hong Kong for a two-week data analysis training course.

    Equipped with notebook PCs and servers, the room also contains a 45 by 60cm black briefcase made of hardened plastic composite.

    The computer forensics team preserves, extracts and recovers electronicall...

  • Mikelittle_132_

    FierceHealthPayer: Anti-Fraud: What are some early indicators SIUs can watch for signaling that reports of potential fraud, waste and abuse may become significant or urgent cases?

    Mike Little: Assessing allegations early is a challenge, but taking some specific and general steps can help SIUs determine if a case may become a priority. The first specific step is assessing the allegation. What's involved, and what's the scope of the issue? Could it be part of a larger problem or national scheme with the potential for media attention?

    Also check if patient safety is at risk. Financial harm at the expense of patients is an area that becomes urgent very quickly. And different case steps are necessary if patient safety issues are involved as opposed to financial issues alone. Are there signs that unlicensed individuals are at work? This can raise questions about your company's credentialing and due diligence processes that affect patient safety.

    And lastly, determine if employees from your organization may be implicated. That may cause reputational harm and indicate internal control weaknesses.

    But insurers and the federal government can no longer wait for complaints to arrive because often by then there's been significant loss. So SIUs should also take general steps to spot trends and risks. These steps involve knowledge.

    First, plug into a healthcare fraud task force. These exist nationwide and include other SIUs and federal and state law enforcers and regulators. These grou...

  • La-1854175-fi-healthcarewatch-03-jpg-20140502_177_

    Devyn Bisson is a 22-year-old Orange resident about to graduate from Chapman University with a degree in film. She knows she'll need to think about health insurance after graduation, but not just yet.

    "It's the last thing I'm looking at," she says. "I'm way more preoccupied with how I'm going to make money."

    With graduation looming, college students have many big issues to face in the coming months. They may include signing up for health insurance, and facing deadlines and even fines for laggards.

    For Bisson, signing onto her parents' health plan — something millions of young adults have been allowed to do under the Affordable Care Act — isn't an option, and her current job as a lifeguard in Huntington Beach doesn't offer health benefits.

    The student health insurance policy she now gets at school will expire this summer, leaving her without coverage.

    "As far as what healthcare I'm going to buy," Bisson says, "I have not looked at that."

    Few people like to think about health insurance until necessary, and that may be especially true for college graduates starting out on their own.

    Open enrollment — the period during which you can sign up for a new health plan — is now officially closed, but many college graduates and others still may be able to buy insurance.

    The government offers several exceptions for people to enroll during the year, even after enrollment closes.

    These "qualifying events" include the birth o...

  • Severeweatherwils_177_

    Even though the severe thunderstorms that bulldozed parts of Mississippi departed days ago, those with destroyed or damaged property will spend weeks, maybe months, looking to replace or be reimbursed for what they lost.

    Representatives of private insurers and the Mississippi Insurance Department have been on the streets in the state’s hardest-hit areas this week, looking to help those with damaged or destroyed homes, automobiles and other property. State Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney said insured losses could reach $100 million, and there could be a comparable amount of uninsured losses, too.

    State officials estimate more than 870 homes were destroyed or heavily damaged statewide, and Chaney says there’s extensive damage to commercial buildings, especially in Tupelo. More than 2,000 claims have been filed statewide so far, and that number likely will grow.

    But there are also many structures that suffered lesser damage, and State Farm spokesman Roszell Gadson said people first need to inspect the extent of their damage to see if a claim is worth pursuing. “If you have a $1,000 or $2,000 deductible and you have a broken window that’s going to cost only several hundred dollars to replace, you might not want to file a claim,” he said.

    Policies vary on what they cover, which Gadson says is especially important because many carry strict coverage limits on higher-end household/personal items, like furs, firearms and jewelry.

    When someone may hear back from an ad...

  • Of the 2000 consumers polled, 67% of respondents said economic conditions will make people more likely to be less than truthful on an insurance application. However, 87% said they have never at any point committed insurance fraud by being less than truthful on an insurance claim.

    The research showed there is a generational distinction in perceptions of what constitutes fraudulent behaviour with 19% of respondents aged between 25 and 34 years of age claiming it was slightly acceptable to over-estimate the value of goods that have been stolen or increase the cost of repairs, when making an insurance claim compared to only 7% of 55 year-olds.

    The consequences of fraudulent behaviour - even just exaggerating a claim slightly - were acknowledged by nearly half of respondents, with 48% believing an insurance company will take legal action if a person is found to have lied on an insurance claim. More than half (54%) believe it will be reported to the police as fraud and 60% said the person would stop receiving insurance cover.

    The results of the You Gov survey formed part of Equifax's white paper, entitled ‘What do Consumers Really Think About Fraud?', which included contributions from Mike Levi, professor of criminology at Cardiff University, Stratos Gatzouris, member of Hill Dickinson's counter-fraud group and chairman of the fraud special interest group with the Forum of Insurance Lawyers, and Anne Green, head of fraud management and strategy at Aviva.

    John Marsden, identit...

  • Fraud-prevention_177_

    SAINT JOHN, N.B. – Consumers are encouraged to learn how to spend smart and spend safe during Fraud Prevention Month. The Financial and Consumer Services Commission is providing resources to New Brunswickers to help.

    "Whether you are shopping at the mall or making purchases online, you should be looking at how you can spend smartly and safely," said Andrew Nicholson, director of education and communications with the commission. "During March, we will be offering tips and free resources to help empower you to make the right financial decisions, no matter where or how you are spending your money."

    Commission staff will be available at several home shows, scam jams and presentations around the province during the month. The schedule is online.

    "Sometimes we need a reminder to think twice before handing over our hard-earned money," said Nicholson. "Protecting your money can be as easy as asking questions about return policies before you buy or checking the licence or registration of someone selling you insurance or investments. We can take small, but important, steps to protect ourselves."

    Each week of the month has a theme reflecting the activities taking place:

    – March 8 – International Women's Day event: Pathways to Empowerment, Delta Brunswick Hotel, 39 King St., Saint John.

    – March 11 – Too Good To Be True Day. New Brunswickers will be encouraged to use the hashtag #2Good2BTrue to get tips and information from Fraud Prevent...

  • Aptopix-jpmorgan-mortagage-bonds-probejpeg-066be_177_

    Triblive.com

    NEW YORK — A whistle-blower will be paid $63.9 million for providing tips that led to JPMorgan Chase & Co's agreement to pay $614 million and tighten oversight to resolve charges that it defrauded the government into insuring flawed home loans.

    The payment to the whistle-blower, Keith Edwards, was disclosed on Friday in a filing with the U.S. district court in Manhattan that formally ended the case.

    In the Feb. 4 settlement, JPMorgan admitted that for more than a decade it submitted thousands of mortgages for insurance by the Federal Housing Administration or the Department of Veterans Affairs that did not qualify for government guarantees.

    JPMorgan said it had failed to tell the agencies that its own internal reviews had turned up problems.

    The government said it ultimately had to cover millions of dollars of losses when some of the bank's loans went sour, resulting in evictions and foreclosures nationwide.

    “There were a lot of bad loans made during the financial boom, and the United States taxpayer was left holding the bag through the VA and FHA loan programs,” said Edwards' lawyer, David Wasinger. “Hopefully the settlement sends a message to Wall Street that this conduct is not allowed, and that in the future it will be held accountable.”

    Edwards could not immediately be reached for comment.

    About $56.5 million of Edwards' award concerns the FHA portion of the case, and $7.4 million concerns the VA portion. Wasinger declined to discuss hi...

  • Ar-140219281_177_

    Gaza gets its first private security firm

    GAZA CITY // As hordes of excited fans scramble to reach Arab Idol winner Mohammed Assaf, they are pushed back by a group of men in shades, the face of Gaza’s first private security firm.

    Guarding the young singer on a rare trip back to his hometown is the very first assignment for Secure Land, a newly formed team of bodyguards whose mandate covers everything from minding VIPs, securing hotels and businesses to ensuring the safe delivery of cash in transit.

    “This is our first day on the job and we are securing Arab Idol star Mohammed Assaf,” Secure Land’s executive director Bilal Al Arabid said.

    “We have a team of 18 people protecting him, not including the drivers. This is our first mission protecting such a personality.”

    As Assaf drove to Palestine University in a UN car, his Secure Land minders followed in their own vehicle, a white-and-red company logo plastered to the door: “Secure Land. We make it happen,” it reads in English.

    It’s a family business and Mr Al Arabid’s father, Abdel Kader, serves as its chief executive.

    “We thought seriously about this service after we talked to institutions, companies and people, and found they accepted the idea because this sort of service is just not available in Gaza,” Mr Kader said.

    But getting a permit to operate such a business from the Hamas-run government was not easy, largely because none of the employees belong to any of Gaza’s many armed factions.

    “T...

  • Psychologists_can_help_students__and_their_parents__manage_a_wide_range_of_issues

    Professional Help is at Hand

    Jack is in grade 2 and can't read simple three-letter words, but he seems quite smart. His teacher is puzzled because the boy doesn't remember the sounds of letters from one day to the next.

    Mary is in grade 5; she used to be a cheerful friend but now is withdrawn and sullen.

    Bill is a new teacher in a secondary school and is having real troubles with managing the behaviour of some of his classes – they talk all the time and usually don't listen to him.

    Fiona is concerned about her son, who is in kinder. He doesn't play well with other children and is easily upset and angered.

    Ed is the principal of a school that has experienced the death of a popular student, and he is not certain how to support his staff and students.

    These are some of the people a school psychologist may be asked to help. I have worked in schools – primary, secondary and pre-school – for nearly 30 years and have often been involved with issues such as these. It is a wonderfully varied role

    Many parents (and some teachers) do not know their school has the services of a psychologist. The amount of service may vary, but nearly all schools – government and private – have access to psychological services.

    In some schools the psychologist is called a guidance officer, from the days when we had teaching backgrounds as well as psychological qualifications, and sometimes they are known as educational psychologists.

    So what might a psychologist do to help the people ...

  • Source

    IT seems as if every week there’s a news story about someone committing a crime and confessing to it on Facebook, bragging about it on Twitter or sharing photos of it via Instagram. In many ways, social media has been a boon for law enforcement, handing the police ready admissions of guilt, equipping criminal investigators with new types of evidence and empowering prosecutors to better dispel reasonable doubt of guilt.

    In a recent Delaware case, for instance, prosecutors were able to push for an increased sentence for an 18-year-old woman convicted of vehicular manslaughter after they found photos and comments on her MySpace page glamorizing alcohol abuse. In another case, in Las Vegas last year, locational information tied to tweets enabled the police to find potential witnesses to a fatal shooting. And in a 2012 case, a victim of armed robbery in Texas identified his assailants through publicly available Facebook photos.

    But legal scholars, judges and ethicists say that social media is also creating a range of new challenges for law enforcement. In some cases, the flood of digital information has overwhelmed investigators. False tips, now easier to submit anonymously, send the police on more wild goose chases. Meanwhile, these new types of evidence are forcing judges to make tough calls about how best to ensure impartiality and what limits to put on jurors’ free speech rights.

    “We all have a Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate ourselves,” said Lori B. A...

My Interests

  • Industrial Design
  • Environmental Design
  • Communication Design
  • Fashion Design
  • Audio/Visual Design