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Credit Union Fraud Lands CEO in Jail

It is not so much a question of “how,” or even “why” a woman by the name of Fuataina Afutiti stole nearly $2 million from the Veterans Health Administration Credit Union in Detroit, but by what measure did so many look the other way?  When it comes to credit union fraud it’s critical that the board accept their fiduciary responsibility to the credit union members to safeguard their

Fraud Background Design. Criminal Offence Word Cloud Concept.

Fraud Background Design. Criminal Offence Word Cloud Concept.


The Michigan Attorney General has sentenced her anywhere from 2-1/2 years to 20 years for the theft. He called her crimes despicable, and they were, but as president and chief executive of the credit union did no one suspect she was stealing them blind?  Did the board have no interest in paying careful attention to the actions of their CEO?  Credit union fraud is serious and the repercussions can extend beyond their president and chief executive.

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Posted by Chuck Gallagher in Credit Union Ethics and tagged , , , ,

Automotive Ethics: Volkswagen Going for Ethical Record

No, this is not the reposting of an old blog produced last about Volkswagen faking diesel emissions tests. This is a brand new ethical scandal that is just now developing. Apparently, Volkswagen is attempting to go for an ethical record.

volkswagen-audiIf you may not have known, Volkswagen owns the Audi brand. The company that brought the world the Beetle also brings us luxury cars that run from about $45,000 to the astronomical. Unfortunately, it appears as though money does not equate with good ethics.

Volkswagen has just disclosed (rather, admitted) that Audis have software that is able to lower the car’s carbon dioxide levels during an emissions test. I am not an engineer or software developer and so I can’t even begin to tell you how it works, but the clever folks at Audi were able to fake results so that they are lower than they actually are in everyday traffic situations.

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Posted by Chuck Gallagher in Automotive Ethics, business ethics and tagged , , ,

Banking Ethics: What Can We Learn from the Wells Fargo Disaster?

Wells Fargo was caught red-handed when their bank employees were pressured to open as many as two million banking and credit card accounts without customers’ knowledge. The pressure was applied directly from above to the retail banking employees with threats that if they didn’t produce, they would be out of jobs.  Banking ethics are at the forefront of this scandal and not likely banking-ethics-wells-fargosomething that Wells Fargo thought much about when the actions of the retails banking folks were cranking fake sales.

In an industry marked by mistrust and misdeeds, the Wells Fargo scandal set a new low for unethical behavior and fraud.

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Posted by Chuck Gallagher in Articles, Banking Ethics and tagged ,

Reddit: Who Controls the Ethics of the Social Media?

It is very important to begin this post by saying, “It’s not about the politics!” The ethical topic before us is who is controlling the social media and what the lessons we need to all learn are from social media misuse.

social mediaTo greatly simplify the discussion, I will just say Reddit is a social media site that was founded in 2005 primarily by Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian. Reddit is an aggregation site that pulls together comments and commentary, discussion and special interests from throughout the world.

Within Reddit are numerous, “sub-Reddits,” or discussion areas. For example, if medical research or water coloring interests you, there are discussion areas for that. It is estimated that about 6% of all adult internet users have explored or are active on Reddit. Overwhelmingly, the site is Millennial. The age range of the typical user is 18 to 29. The orientation of Reddit is left leaning, as is their First Amendment right.

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Posted by Chuck Gallagher in Social Media and tagged , , , ,

Governmental Ethics: How Are We Electing Our Politicians?

Before the madness of our last presidential election (and I say this without regard to whomever you voted for), there was a more local story that encapsulates politics and the process of electing public officials.  This is governmental ethics in the trash!

governmental-ethics-2Fairfax City Mayor Richard “Scott” Silverthorne was arrested for distribution of methamphetamine in an uncover sting. The mayor entered into the drug dealing lifestyle which was to exchange drugs for group sex.

The mayor was caught providing two grams of methamphetamine to undercover detectives. I might also mention that to supplement whatever they paid him to be the mayor he was also working as a substitute teacher for the Fairfax County School system.  Mind boggling!  Government ethics be damned by Mayor Silverthorne.  Guess he felt that his lofty position would make him immune to the law?

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Posted by Chuck Gallagher in Governmental Ethics and tagged , , ,

Credit Union Ethics: Former Credit Union Head Guilty of $2.5 million Embezzlement

Fraud happens for a variety of reasons.  Most fraudsters will tell you that they never intended to destroy their lives by perpetrating a fraud and break trust.  Most, like myself, started out with the best of intentions.  But there are some bad apples in every bunch Credit Union Ethicsand, it appears that Linda Lee Clark, 68, of Corydon, Iowa was a bad apple.  Clark who began working at the SCICAP Credit Union in Chariton, Iowa in 1978 admitted to embezzling  $2,494,809 of funds from the credit union from the day she started until she resigned in 2015.  This case represents a blatant violation of accounting ethics from someone who knew better.  Whether credit union ethics, banking ethics or accounting ethics – this case is nothing more than fraud pure and simple.

Credit Union Ethics (or lack thereof)

It is unclear what Linda Lee Clark did before her initial employment at SCICAP Credit Union.  According to media reports from the beginning, Clark redirected account holders’ deposits into her own personal account and the accounts of her children; and initiated unauthorized withdrawals of funds from member accounts into her own personal account and the accounts of her children. Clark concealed the embezzlement by maintaining two sets of accounting records on the Credit Union’s data processing system. When it comes to credit union ethics, it’s clear that Clark started with the intent to deceive and was smart enough to create a credible paper trail that worked for some period of time.

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Posted by Chuck Gallagher in Credit Union Ethics and tagged , , , ,

AAEP – Commitment to Ethics in the Equine Veterinary Practice

What motivates ethical behavior and who are the stakeholders when ethical decisions are involved?  Those are questions that face those in an equine veterinary practice.  They are being discussed in depth at the AAEP (American Association of Equine Practitioners)  annual conference in Orlando 2016.  Honored to be their opening keynote speaker, we began by looking at who is involved when it comes to ethical decisions and those with whom ethical conflicts may occur.

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Posted by Chuck Gallagher in Veterinary Ethics and tagged , , ,

Accounting Ethics: Weatherford International False Reports Lead to Unethical Behavior

As the recent national elections were heating up and the debates were rocking the news cycle, a major tax fraud scandal almost escaped notice. At Weatherford International the tax fraud constitutes one of the larger fines in recent memory: $140 million for accounting fraud.

Weatherford InternationalThe company is Swiss-based Weatherford International, a major gas and oil conglomerate. They have offices throughout the world and thousands of employees. To understand this scandal, it is necessary to introduce the acronym “ETR,” or the effective tax rate. The ETR is the tax rate a corporation pays on its taxable income. If the company fraudulently (and purposely) plays with the tax accounting, they can inflate (or deflate) earnings.

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Posted by Chuck Gallagher in Accounting Ethics and tagged ,

Unethical Behavior Costs JPMorgan Chase $264 million in Fines

A bribery scheme to “hire” the friends and relatives of potential bank customers in China in return for their business, has cost JPMorgan Chase a whopping $264 million. For the sake of information, I guess it might be interesting to relate that the scheme was starting to work as they netted $100 million in new business.  All in all, it’s a banking ethics disaster.

jpmorgan-chaseThe JPMorgan Chase hired “hundreds” of mostly unqualified workers in the Chinese market and they were making merry progress until they were accused of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. In agreeing to the settlement, JP Morgan Chase  acknowledged wrongdoing as part of the settlement. To be honest, companies caught with their fingers in the fortune cookie jar rarely admit to bribery, but apparently the fine they received was just a fraction of the fine that they could have received.

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Posted by Chuck Gallagher in Banking Ethics and tagged , , , , ,

When Reality TV Meets Really Bad Ethics: Ask Travell Thomas

Travell Thomas could arguably be one of the best poker players in the world, but when it comes to unethical behavior, he is a world class champion. This scandal could also be named: When Reality TV Meets Really Bad Ethics.

when-reality-tv-meets-really-bad-ethicsIf you are a fan of the World Series of Poker (I said, if), Mr. Thomas could ring a bell with you. He won first prize in the televised tournament. He was the darling of the poker world with his larger than life personality and outlandish hats.

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Posted by Chuck Gallagher in Ethical Behavior, ethics and tagged , , , ,