Monthly Archives: November 2013

Putting Your Trust in the Wrong Person

Trust is one of those things that takes a long time to build, and can be destroyed in one minute. People seek trust in others, and companies hope that their employees are trustworthy. The trust that you have in someone is often times relative to the position and relationship that you have with them. The more that a person has the ability to help or hurt you, the more trust that you will need in them (that they will help you and not hurt you). Simply put, in matters that are important to you, is the person you are relating to or doing business with “trustworthy”?

In reading the Washington Post today, there is an article about a woman who was entrusted by the Association of American Medical Colleges to do administrative functions for them. Ephonia Green (is her name an indication of something?) embezzled over $5 million dollars from the non-profit, largely by creating phony invoices and opening bank accounts for phony enterprises in order to pay herself by looting her employer over an 8 year period. When you read the article linked here and included below, see how many times you see the theme “trust”. The organization wants answers, as they try to understand why the person they trusted would do such a thing, while the woman apparently offered none. Apparently, she needs a therapist to “ her come to terms with her misconduct.” Good luck with that, and don’t hold your breath waiting.

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Contracting fraud, designed to ultimately line the pockets of all parties involved, is not a new phenomenon in the non-profit, for-profit or even government sectors. Fraud within our defense departments has been rampant for decades, a fact that President Obama vowed to fight when he took office. You can see his procurement comments by clicking HERE. Such actions became necessary when it became obvious that the system based upon trusting people on their word alone (or rank) was shown to be flawed and costly. The case of the high-ranking Air Force procurement officer Darleen A. Druyun made headlines in 2006 when she was found to have been instrumental in one of the largest contracting scandals with Boeing that involved fraud, insider information and a sense of entitlement on her part.

What a way to honor the country that you took an oath to defend! Weaken them by stabbing them in the back financially by stealing from within.

It’s great that Mrs. Green is going to repay the $5.1 million by selling the house that she partially used those stolen funds to qualify for and acquire. Selling her sideline business may not put a dent in that $5.1 mil if she ran IT with the same principals she used to get the money to fund it, so good luck with that. Same thing with the Acura, timeshare and whatever else she spent the money on. My bet would be to do a search on her social for the past few years, to see what her tax return says about entities that reported any financial activity for her. People who are cunning enough to do fraud, are often brazen enough to tuck some of it away as a reminder of the fraud they perpetrated on their victims. It’s how serial killers often get caught: with a memento of the victim and crime in their possession. Those victims also trusted the WRONG person. Where there is smoke, there is usually fire, as some of the posters here have said!

Here is a post on trust from a great guy that I know. He sums it up pretty well:

In each other's pockets

What’s the Temperature of BAH Fraud Cases in the US?

An internet search reveals that the number of BAH fraud and other entitlement cases here in the US has increased. As one legal firm that we found put it, “The government has gotten serious about getting its money back”. It’s time they did.

A case in Arizona has popped onto the radar involving Air National Guard airmen who have been charged with stealing $1.4 million of money that they weren’t entitled to receive. 8 officers, included a Retired Colonel, and 13 enlisted airmen have been accused and charged with this crime.  Yes, you read right, even a Colonel. People see the title “Colonel”, and think that the person would be above reproach and wrong-doing. The Air Force Times article linked below states that leaders “failed to uphold military standards of integrity in part because they were ethically compromised by their own misconduct.”

 It must be a common enough offense these days, considering the number of internet results that you get when looking for BAH fraud attorneys. One military lawyer answered a question asked regarding how hard it is to be charged with BAH fraud. He answered by giving the elements of fraud quoted from military justice law, and then gave guidance on how a person can be convicted once the fraud is proven. His advice boiled down to “So to prove BAH fraud, they would need to prove that the service member, on purpose, filed a claim for BAH that they knew at the time was fraudulent.” His full writeup can be found below.

How do they connect the dots to show that you knew at the time the claim was fraudulent? Looking back to the legal firm who noted how serious the government is getting, they write that you should expect that the records you used to submit and justify the claim will be examined along with phone records, bank records, etc in order to prove that you intended to steal in the first place and then kept the money that you knew you weren’t entitled to have. Unlike overly-vexatious folks who jump the gun and file lawsuits just to be pains in the asses to people, the government takes its time to gather all of the evidence it needs by interviewing people who may know more than the servicemember will tell, and obtaining and reviewing what the actual documents show. No sense relying on the words of someone who, if they were intent on deceiving you in the first place, aren’t likely to tell you the truth even if you ask them. The forms they submit state that you are signing them, under penalty of perjury, so if you lied, then time to get the penalty that you signed your name as understanding that you might get if caught.

Many of the cases conclude with the person being stripped of rank, stripped of retirement pay and benefits, and made to pay restitution for the money they stole. In the case of someone who is no longer in the military, the penalty wouldn’t involve rank stripping that doesn’t mean anything on the civilian world anymore, anyway. Remember the case we reported on previously regarding the MD vets who stole monies they weren’t entitled to? They were all retired, getting disability pay for fictitious ailments. Wonder if there’s ever been a case of fictitious husband created to get entitlement not earned, along with fictitious ailments for fake disabilities? It would seem that anything is possible.

A case where the penalty was determined by EVERY month that the servicemember took BAH pay and didn’t give it back:

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There is a saying: Never lie to someone. Odds are that they already know the truth and just wanted to hear how you decided to spin it!

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that lie