Fraud and the Economy: Correlation or Coincidence?

Executives, consultants, and business analysts are currently asking themselves a critical question: Does a major economic downturn increase a company’s chance of being hit by employee fraud? The answer to that question isn’t immediately clear.

Fraud experts are often quick to theorize that difficult economic conditions naturally create a higher instance of workplace fraud. The problem with this theory, however, is that it can’t really be proven true or false.

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Lennar CEO Lies About Losses in Joint Venture

Lennar Corporation (NYSE:LEN) CEO Stuart Miller was on CNBC on Friday to “respond” to allegations made by Barry Minkow and Fraud Discovery Institute about the company’s propensity for fraud. In the process of trying to diminish the impact of the serious allegations, Miller got caught in a blatant lie.

One of the allegations made in FDI’s original report on Lennar is that the company profits from cheating joint venture partners out of the money due to them. Minkow specifically named the LandSource venture (a project now in bankruptcy) as an instance in which Lennar profited while the other parties came out big losers.

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Lennar CEO Stuart Miller: Transparency? Or lies?

On Friday, Stuart Miller, the CEO of Lennar (NYSE:LEN) went on CNBC to respond to fraud allegations made by Barry Minkow and Fraud Discovery Institute. But did he really respond? Do you feel he is being transparent? Or is he creating more lies in response to the damaging report?

You be the judget. Here’s the transcript of the relevant portion of the interview:

Read moreLennar CEO Stuart Miller: Transparency? Or lies?

Lennar CEO responds to Barry Minkow and Fraud Discovery Institute

Early today, Barry Minkow and Fraud Discovery Institute released a report on Lennar Corporation (NYSE:LEN), highlighting what the authors believe to be ten red flags of fraud at the company. Lennar’s stock was hit hard by the news.

It didn’t take long for Lennar’s CEO Stuart Miller to speak out against the allegations. About all he was able to do, however, is try to discredit the messenger. Lennar didn’t have any substantive response to any of the allegations, they simply highlighted Barry’s well-known criminal past and referred to Nicolas Marsch (Barry’s client) as a “disgruntled litigant.”

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Increased Government Spending Won’t Fix the Economy

Using government money (our money!) to “create jobs” sounds great, doesn’t it? When you hear about massive layoffs, a proposal that create jobs sounds appealing. But this really isn’t the way to stimulate our economy. The government will spend far too much money creating far too few jobs, when the real way to get ourselves out of this financial mess is to create incentives for long-term growth. (Read: Lower taxes and create a situation in which businesses and consumers can thrive.)

Downsize DC offers the following educational information on the right way to stimulate (fix) the economy:

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Commit One of the Largest Financial Crimes in History, Continue to Live in Your $7 Million Apartment

As our friend Bernard Madoff waits around for the wheels of justice to move in his “alleged” $50 billion Ponzi scheme… he’s been a busy boy.

No, he’s not sitting in jail, where a fraudster of his magnitude deserves to be. Instead, he was allowed to post a $10 million bond, and is nice and cozy in his $7 million Manhattan apartment. What a hardship!

Read moreCommit One of the Largest Financial Crimes in History, Continue to Live in Your $7 Million Apartment

SEC employees more worried about future careers than actual enforcement?

It can’t be! It’s being alleged that Securities and Exchange Commission employees cared more about their careers than actually doing their jobs. One might think that a strong enforcement record might be career enhancing, but what do I know.

It’s easy to pick on the SEC in general. There are lots public companies doing questionable things. The agency has limited time and resources. So a lot of cases that aren’t obviously egregious might not be fully investigated or prosecuted, but it’s hard to blame the agency for that.

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“Climate Change”: Just Another Fraud on Consumers

I sometimes wonder how all this “global warming” and “climate change” stuff got started. Who decided that it was some major catastrophe in process, for which we should spend billions of dollars in a meaningless fashion? And how did so many people get duped into believing this lie?

Well, one person we can thank, is “internet inventing” Al Gore. Never mind that he heats enormous houses and flies on his own private jet, both creating a bunch of naughty carbon. He says we need to reduce carbon emissions… “we” being everyone else.

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Latest numbers: MPS still sucks

If you’re new here, I should tell you that I’m a fan of writing about Milwaukee Public Schools. Not a fan of MPS, but a fan of writing about it. There’s just so much material to work with!

We’ve got one of the worst school districts in the nation, hands down.  The district spends over $14,000 per child per school year, but the children still can’t read, add, or subtract. (And no, the poor performance isn’t due to the fact that MPS is an “urban” district. Nor is it a result of “not having enough money.”)

Read moreLatest numbers: MPS still sucks