www.colettesymanowitz.com

Perspectives on entrepreneurship, MBA-related issues, networking, personal branding, technology, investing, education and more…


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Medical regulator suspends 5 execs for alleged corruption

South Africa’s medical regulator suspended 5 senior officials, after allegations of corruption and unethical conduct reported by whistle-blowers https://blog.fraudcracker.com/medical-regulator-suspends-5-execs-for-alleged-corruption/

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U.S. sanction law targets Gupta network

It’s been a great week for the fight against corruption. The Gupta network of shady deals has been dealt a big blow, with the U.S. government hitting the family with financial sanctions that freeze all their U.S. assets. Those blacklisted are the Gupta brothers Atul, Ajay and Rajesh Gupta, and associate Salim Essa. https://blog.fraudcracker.com/u-s-sanction-law-targets-gupta-network/


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8 things leaders do that make employees quit

What are 8 things leaders often do that make people leave? 1 biggie is not creating a psychologically safe culture. Understanding the 8, and how they impact your team, will help you identify those at flight risk, and make changes that could make them stay. https://blog.fraudcracker.com/8-things-leaders-do-that-make-employees-quit/


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Google can forget you – but only in Europe

Want your past to be forgotten on the Net? Moving to Europe might be your best bet. Google doesn’t have to apply Europe’s “right to be forgotten” law globally. It must remove links to sensitive personal data from its search results in Europe when needed, but not for searches elsewhere worldwide.  https://blog.fraudcracker.com/google-can-forget-you-but-only-in-europe/


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British government still aiding repression in human rights-abusing countries

The British government continues to approve the export of hi-tech surveillance equipment and software of the type being used by states abusing human rights to monitor and repress dissent. This is according to new government data. https://blog.fraudcracker.com/british-government-still-aiding-repression-in-human-rights-abusing-countries/


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Protecting whistle-blowers in the digital age

Speaking at the #ACFESA Africa conference this week on protecting whistle-blowers in the digital age. Lots of interesting other talks. Great to see the move to digital happening more and more in all fraud-related areas – we need to be using smarter tools to fight smarter fraudsters. https://blog.fraudcracker.com/digitally-protecting-whistle-blowers/


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Call for forensic investigation into farmworker equity schemes

When 241 farmworkers became shareholders in the Langwyde Werknemers Trust 10 years ago, they were led to believe their lives would improve. Instead, many still live in dilapidated homes and are struggling to survive because they haven’t received any dividends from the company. The workers believe farm owners are exploiting them to benefit from BEE and get extra state funding. Find out more at https://blog.fraudcracker.com/call-for-forensic-investigation-into-farmworker-equity-schemes/


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VBS theft, money laundering & life’s little luxuries: Julius Malema’s time of spending dangerously

The lavish lifestyle and political aspirations of EFF president Julius Malema were funded from the R16m robbed from VBS Mutual Bank. Scorpio’s investigations show how the life savings of the poor and vulnerable VBS-depositors, plus municipalities around South Africa, paid for school-related expenses for Malema’s son, and Gucci, Louis Vuitton and tailored suits from designer Linda Makhanya, a Polokwane party venue and the EFF. https://blog.fraudcracker.com/vbs-theft-money-laundering-lifes-little-luxuries-julius-malemas-time-of-spending-dangerously/


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Inside entrepreneurs’ IP theft fight with Nedbank

Entrepreneurs Thandile Jwambi and Nicolas Kutumane are accusing Nedbank of stealing their card-blocking invention. In this real-life version of David vs Goliath, do the underdog entrepreneurs have a case? Find out more at https://blog.fraudcracker.com/inside-entrepreneurs-ip-theft-fight-with-nedbank/


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Does doing the same work over and over again make you less ethical?

Managers worry about staff breaking the rules. And rightly so. Working on the same task can lead to more rule-breaking and taking shortcuts. This can be a problem if your people do the same work everyday. For a simple solution, read https://blog.fraudcracker.com/does-doing-the-same-work-over-and-over-again-make-you-less-ethical/ #rulebreaking #unethical


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Millions of dirty Bobroff cash forfeited, thanks to NPA

South Africa’s NPA Asset Forfeiture Unit has gotten a court order forfeiting over R103m of Ronald and Darren Bobroff’s crime-tainted cash held in bank accounts in Israel. They fled SA for Australia, facing charges of fraud and theft. In 2018, they were on Interpol’s globally wanted list. The NPA said the huge forfeiture order was thanks to excellent cooperation between the SA and Israeli authorities. https://blog.fraudcracker.com/millions-of-dirty-bobroff-cash-forfeited-thanks-to-npa/


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How Uber uses psychological tricks to push its drivers’ buttons

Uber carried out an eye-opening, somewhat shady experiment in behavioural science to subtly entice its independent workforce of drivers to maximise its growth. If the drivers knew how Uber was manipulating their behaviour to grow Uber’s revenue, would they have taken part? https://blog.fraudcracker.com/how-uber-uses-psychological-tricks-to-push-its-drivers-buttons/


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Make your meetings a safe space for honest conversation

To have better meetings means leading with mutual respectful, inclusivity, and creating a space safe enough for your people to speak their minds. You can increase the freedom, candour, and quality of conversation in your meetings by focusing on 2 key areas: giving permission and creating safety. https://blog.fraudcracker.com/make-your-meetings-a-safe-space-for-honest-conversation/


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When fraud meets advanced tech

For years, auditors have focused on internal controls to see if the control environment works effectively to reduce the risk of fraud. As standards have evolved to focus more on fraud, so has tech. Yes, innovations such as AI, robotic process automation (RPA) and blockchain may help to detect fraud; but what if they also allow fraudsters to commit harder-to-detect crimes? https://blog.fraudcracker.com/when-fraud-meets-advanced-tech/


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Whistle-blowers are a sign of healthy companies

More whistles blown are a sign of a healthy company, not a sick one. Firms whose hotlines get used more, tend to be more profitable and have less legal exposure, with less damage to brand reputation and stock price. High usage shows open communication between staff and management (and a belief that issues raised will be resolved), rather than real trouble. https://blog.fraudcracker.com/whistle-blowers-are-a-sign-of-healthy-companies/


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Social media: a rising threat to journalists’ freedom

Social media has made democracies more democratic by giving everyone a voice. But it also makes cyberbullies with large followings dangerous enough to make the lives of journalists so unbearable, that they quit. In a worrying trend called cyber-misogyny, women reporters are often the targets of scathing, sexually humiliating, online abuse. How do we protect these courageous reporters who risk their lives in the pursuit of truth for us? https://blog.fraudcracker.com/social-media-a-rising-threat-to-journalists-freedom/


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Thank you to all the whistleblowers out there

Yesterday 30-July was Whistleblower Appreciation Day in the US, while 23-June was World Whistleblower Day. It’s our way of saying a big thank you to the people with the courage to speak out against corruption, fraud and wrongdoing. Let’s celebrate them and protect them! They make the world a better place for us and our kids. https://blog.fraudcracker.com/thank-you-to-all-the-whistleblowers-out-there/


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Ghost workers could kill your company

Are you paying salaries to people who don’t work for you, or who don’t exist? Ghost worker fraud on payroll is very hard to detect, especially in bigger companies without proper controls. It can lead to substantial financial losses, killing your company over time. So how can you stop it happening? https://blog.fraudcracker.com/ghost-workers-could-kill-your-company/


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Facebook slapped with record $5bn fine over privacy breaches

The FTC, a US government agency, has slapped tech giant Facebook with a record $5bn fine over privacy breaches – 20x more than any privacy fine imposed so far worldwide. Facebook must pay the fine, submit to new restrictions and a revised corporate structure, and set up strong new mechanisms from board-level down that will hold the firm and its execs accountable for their decisions about users’ privacy. Find out more at https://blog.fraudcracker.com/facebook-slapped-with-record-5bn-fine-over-privacy-breaches/


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Ethical leadership means first do no harm, in business and in life

We can’t expect others to do the right thing when we continue to do wrong. When balancing the needs of the 4 stakeholders in any business, a guiding mantra is this: we serve the customers, not the shareholders; we reward the shareholders; we support our staff to serve the customers, and we improve our communities. Read more at https://blog.fraudcracker.com/ethical-leadership-means-first-do-no-harm-in-business-and-in-life/


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A R1.2bn pot of toxic soup at EOH

Eight people. That’s all. Just eight people out of EOH’s staff of 11,500 put the entire firm at risk through a systematic process of fraud, corruption and bribery that saw R1.2bn of shady flow out of the company between 2014 and 2017. EOH believes it has stopped the rot. Only time will tell. https://blog.fraudcracker.com/a-r1-2bn-pot-of-toxic-soup-at-eoh/


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Forensic probe uncovers R1.2bn in suspicious transactions at EOH

According to an update today, law firm ENSafrica has found evidence of and is investigating R1.2bn in suspicious transactions at EOH. These may be valid transactions, theft or bribery and corruption payments. Yesterday EOH announced the resignations of 3 top execs. Find out more at https://blog.fraudcracker.com/forensic-probe-uncovers-r1-2bn-in-suspicious-transactions-at-eoh/


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4 ways lying becomes the norm at a company

How did lying become the norm at firms like VW? Four organisation-wide factors predict if people in a company will lie or not: lack of strategic clarity, unjust accountability systems, poor organisational governance, weak cross-functional collaboration. Find out more at https://blog.fraudcracker.com/4-ways-lying-becomes-the-norm-at-a-company/


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Medical aid schemes caught in a vice between fraud and claims of racial profiling

Fraud against medical aid schemes is a big problem worldwide. But in South Africa, there is another aspect to the issue. And that is race. An organisation for medical professionals has accused SA’s top medical aids of racial profiling in their fight against medical aid fraud. Find out more at https://blog.fraudcracker.com/medical-aid-schemes-caught-in-a-vice-between-fraud-and-claims-of-racial-profiling/


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Are you ready to fight fraud?

Strengthening the internal control system and the control environment will help reduce the likelihood of fraud happening as well as the impact of fraud, if it occurs. 49% of respondents in the 2018 PwC Global Economic Crime and Fraud Survey said their companies had experienced fraud or economic crime, compared to 36% in 2016. Read more at https://blog.fraudcracker.com/are-you-ready-to-fight-fraud/


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This is a WhatsApp whistleblowing message. I don’t know how else to do it

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In 2016, out of desperation while on a pilgrimage in France, former SAA treasurer Cynthia Stimpel sent a WhatsApp to National Treasury, warning them of a dirty deal in the making at SAA. It was ignored. They had blocked her at every turn, but Stimpel was relentless in her efforts to stop a R15b cash-raising deal from being pulled off outside of due process – and with the help of BnP Capital as transaction adviser for R225m – while South African banks could do it for +/-R85m. Stimpel was fired for standing up to corruption. Find out more at https://blog.fraudcracker.com/this-is-a-whatsapp-whistleblowing-message-i-dont-know-how-else-to-do-it/


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KPMG fallout: cheating allegations raise new questions

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After new allegations of KPMG cheating on internal training tests, audit committees now have questions about their external auditors’ own adherence to standards: are controls in place, are they well-designed, and are they operating effectively? Find out more at https://blog.fraudcracker.com/kpmg-fallout-cheating-allegations-raise-new-questions/


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Record number of CEOs fired for ethical lapses

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A record 18% of CEOs in the top 2500 global public companies were replaced in 2018, with 39% fired for ethical lapses. This is according to a PwC study released May2019, It’s the 1st time in the study’s history that ethical lapses led the causes of CEO turnover. Read more at https://blog.fraudcracker.com/record-number-of-ceos-fired-for-ethical-lapses/


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Create a workplace where everyone feels comfortable speaking up

It’s vital for employees to voice their concerns when they see something worrying or unethical. But how do you make everyone understand that their voice is valued? Find out at https://blog.fraudcracker.com/create-a-workplace-where-everyone-feels-comfortable-speaking-up/


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Survey finds fraud causing financial loss in almost half of businesses

undefined Occupational fraud and abuse are causing financial losses in half of all businesses, a survey from Mazars finds. The average loss per company surveyed, exceeded €10,000 (US$11,167 or ZAR160,362). Read more at https://blog.fraudcracker.com/survey-finds-fraud-causing-financial-loss-in-almost-half-of-firms/


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Bullying and sexual harassment rife in the legal profession

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Bullying and sexual harassment are rampant in the legal profession. This is according to the International Bar Association (IBA)’s global survey of nearly 7,000 legal professionals in 135 countries. Read more at https://blog.fraudcracker.com/bullying-and-sexual-harassment-rife-in-the-legal-profession/


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If your company is going through a public scandal should you leave?

If you’re working at a Gupta-tainted company like KPMG, and they’re going through a public scandal, here’s the big question: should you stick it out, or should you leave? Find out more at https://blog.fraudcracker.com/if-your-company-is-going-through-a-public-scandal-should-you-leave/


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Theranos whistleblower Erika Cheung on what went wrong and what’s next

Whistleblower Erika Cheung was key to the spectacular downfall of Silicon Valley blood-testing darling, Theranos. She stayed only 7 months before exiting, but not before uncovering massive fraud in Theranos’ blood-testing process. Read more at https://blog.fraudcracker.com/theranos-whistleblower-erika-cheung-on-what-went-wrong-and-whats-next/


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Sterling’s dark, dirty secret: a culture of sexual harassment and unequal pay for women

For 1000s of women, Sterling Inc., America’s largest jewellery retailer, was rife with sexual harassment, unequal pay and discrimination. But how did such a big, publicly traded firm keep this a secret for 14 years? Find out more at https://blog.fraudcracker.com/sterlings-dark-dirty-secret-a-culture-of-sexual-harassment-and-unequal-pay-for-women/


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P&G puts ad platforms like Facebook, Google on notice for fraud, harmful content, etc.

P&G blasted Facebook, Google, etc. for fraud, privacy breaches, harmful content next to ads, etc. P&G which spends billions of dollars on marketing products every year, wants to move its money to services that are free of toxic content. Find out more at
https://blog.fraudcracker.com/pg-puts-ad-platforms-like-facebook-google-on-notice-for-fraud-offensive-content-etc/


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Are patents worth it? Lessons from the $9bn Theranos fraud

In the wake of massive fraud charges, Theranos went from Silicon Valley darling to spectacular shut down in 2018. Yet in 2019 Theranos got 5 new patents! We need patents to boost innovation, but if they are granted to unethical firms, are patents really worth it? Find out more at https://blog.fraudcracker.com/are-patents-worth-it-lessons-from-the-9bn-theranos-fraud/