23 September 2011

The Wall Street Journal, which for the last 12 months has published “Corruption Currents”, a blog about fraud and money laundering, celebrated the anniversary this week with an article about its “top 5” convicted during the year for corrupt acts “so profound, brazen or weird they merit special recognition”.

They are:

  • Mark Ciavarella, known as the “cash-for-kids judge,” convicted of money laundering and conspiracy for sending large numbers of children to detention centres in exchange for kickbacks from the builder of the detention facilities.
  • Rod Blagojevich, the former Illinois governor whose corruption included the sale of the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama.
  • Jeffrey Tesler, who admitted paying more than $180 million in bribes to Nigerian government officials in order to get $6 billion of contracts for Kellogg Root Brown to build liquefied natural gas facilities.
  • Former President Rodriguez of Costa Rica who took $800,000 in bribes from Alcatel-Lucent in return for helping the company secure a $149 million telecom contract.
  • Ousted Tunisian President Zine al Abidine Ben Ali, sentenced in absentia to 35 years in prison and a fine of about $66 million for embezzlement and misuse of public funds.


This puts New Zealand frauds into perspective.

The report earlier this month of the KPMG (NZ) annual Fraud Barometer suggests that the value of ‘super-fraud’ charges is expected to exceed $300 million by the end of 2011. This more than doubles the 2010 value of $143.9 million.  Super-fraud involves cases over $3 million. KPMG reports that accounting fraud by staff was the most common type.

The list of offenders published on the Verify website has one heartening characteristic; “only” two of the recorded employee-fraud convictions in 2011 involve people who worked for State sector agencies.