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ABB: When an Unethical Fox Guards the Ethics Henhouse

Ethics is a word that is often tossed about with reckless abandon. Executives often take on the role as “ethics officers,” when they, themselves have no idea of what the responsibility entails. It is window dressing. Then there are people who assume the role of ethics over-seers or ombudsmen whose credentials are never explored because, frankly no one else can be bothered to do ABB Ethicsthe training.  This became a real problem for ABB.

You may never have heard of a Swiss engineering group called ABB. They are a huge, multinational organization with operations in South Korea. The treasurer of the Korean branch is also one of two executives in charge of ethics training and for “legal and ethical integrity.”

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

Sky High Auto Insurance Costs? May be Bad Ethics

It was in February of this year, that I wrote a blog about an auto insurance fraud ring that involved more than 40 people in the Las Vegas area. At the center of the ring was a family collision and repair business that was profiting from making false repair claims and making hefty profits from what was reported versus what the repairs actually cost to make. At the time, I warned that such an ethical crime was hardly victimless. Though no one was “assaulted,” the net effect of artificially-charged insurance rates, ultimately affect everyone who owns an automobile or commercial vehicle, and they ultimately must pay higher insurance rates. Those responsible for the fraud were sentenced, the business license was pulled and fines and/or jail time was the ultimate result.

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Posted by Chuck Gallagher in Insurance Companies and tagged , , , ,

Have We Gone Full Circle Ethics at Wells Fargo?

Feel free to call the recent class action lawsuit against Wells Fargo full circle ethics, or even more to the point: “What comes around, goes around.”

No matter how you want to call it, Wells Fargo is about to pay customers $110 million as part of a class action lawsuit resulting from its fake-accounts scandal.

You may recall that Wells Fargo employees were literally forced by management to open up fake bank accounts for customers who never wanted them. The $110 million to resolve the class action lawsuit comes on top of the $185 million in fines brought against Wells Fargo by the city and county of Los Angeles for its sales practices.

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

Lexi Thompson: If No One Sees It, It’s Still Ethical?

When first reading this post, many of you may think, “Chuck, why are you commenting on golf today?” I’m not, I am going to talk about the perceptions many have about ethics in 2017 and Lexi Thompson lived that sports ethics moment!

Lexi Thompson is an incredible golfer. You certainly don’t need me to tell you that. On March 25, 2017 (a Saturday), she was playing the final round of the LPGA ANA Inspiration golf tournament. It was at the beautiful Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California.

In that final round, Lexi Thompson was way out in front. Then she proceeded to violate the rules by picking up her ball to “mark it” before making a putt and then she put it back in the wrong place. No official saw it happen. Incredibly, a television viewer did see it. The viewer emailed the golf association a day later explaining what she had seen.

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

What does Steve Ballmer have to do with the Ethics of Govt. Spending?

 

Steve Ballmer, the man who with Bill Gates founded Microsoft, has just launched an interesting piece of software called USAFacts. The software is intended to track government spending. My response is that it is long overdue.

Steve Ballmer has spent $10 million to develop the “product,” because it was nearly impossible for him to find information on how the government was spending its money – and where. In a recent interview on CNBC, Ballmer said:

“What we’re trying to do now is create a foundation for a more fact-based discussion about what’s going on with government in our country. This is really a starting point. We need more data.”

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Posted by Chuck Gallagher in Governmental Ethics and tagged , ,

Was Massive Accounting Fraud Uncovered at Homex? Seems So!

At first glance, this case of massive accounting fraud and unethical business practices might seem to be someone else’s problem; some other country’s problem. However, we not only live in inter-connected times, we also invest globally.  And fraud can happen in any company just ask Homex!

Desarrolladora Homex S.A.B. de C.V. or Homex, for short is a homebuilder based in Mexico. They build homes in Brazil as well as Mexico. Homex stock is traded internationally which is why the SEC cares if the stock is being fairly-traded. Homex is in thousands of stock portfolios in international funds.

The company has just been charged with massive accounting fraud amounting to $3.3 billion. They reported fake revenues on more than 100,000 residences most of which were never built. The fraud occurred over a three-year period.

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Posted by Chuck Gallagher in Accounting Ethics and tagged , ,

What does Tammie Sensenig have to do with Healthcare Fraud?

What makes this case of healthcare fraud so egregious isn’t the dollar amount that was stolen, but the lack of checks and balances that permitted repeat offenses by the same provider. It also makes me wonder how many hundreds, maybe thousands of similar cases are discovered every year. In Lancaster, Pennsylvania about a month ago Tammie Sensenig was charged with healthcare fraud.

Tammie Sensenig is a behavioral health consultant. I could not resist, and I had to do some research to determine if my hunches about what a behavioral consultant did were accurate. Sure enough, they often counsel patients on the best therapies to improve their physical and mental health; they teach, consult and treat patients. That’s pretty important stuff, and their patients look to them for advice on their physical and emotional well-being.

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Posted by Chuck Gallagher in Health Care Fraud and tagged , , , ,

Governmental Ethics: Government Policing Itself for Ethics Violations? It’s About Time!

In this political season, where “Left and Right” have never been so far apart from one another, we must sometimes allow that good things can come from unexpected places and not everyone is “the enemy.”  So when you think of governmental ethics – is it time for the goverment to police itself for ethics violations?

The new Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke is going after sexual predators in his own department. He has sent a letter on what he expects as proper ethical behavior to the 70,000 employees under his “command.” The letter was prompted after a “senior law enforcement official” with the Department of the Interior was accused of multiple accounts of sexual harassment. The official was accused of touching, hugging, text-messaging and flirting with six women, and of discussing “inappropriate” subjects.

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Posted by Chuck Gallagher in Governmental Ethics and tagged , ,

Alabama Former Governor Robert Bentley: Why do Powerful Politicians Behave Badly?

The Alabama Ethics Commission met last week to hear testimony in regard to allegations against Alabama Governor Robert Bentley. It was found that there is a strong likelihood he violated Alabama’s ethics and campaign finance laws. If Bentley is found guilty, he could face the rest of his life in jail plus having to pay massive fines.

This is not governor Robert Bently’s first unethical rodeo, in fact he is still fighting problems stemming from his personal and working relationships with a former member of his staff. While everyone seems pleased that the governor is being brought to justice, there is also anger at what the State of Alabama has been put through over the last 18 months.

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Posted by Chuck Gallagher in Governmental Ethics and tagged , ,

Is The Hippocratic Oath Sick in Modesto, CA? Medical Ethics

Every choice has a consequence. How often have I said that and in how many settings? Yet, some people and even professions believe it always applies to the other guy. Big shots think that unethical behavior is the domain, for example, of automobile mechanics. Truth is, I have known many, extremely ethical automobile mechanics. Poor ethics is not determined by income, nor class, education or profession. Proof in point is what has just occurred in Modesto, California.  Seems that medical ethics has gone bad!

Medical Ethics

Modesto is a lovely community in the middle of the California’s Central Valley. It is surrounded by agriculture; almonds, fruit trees, dairy farming and grapes. This case of bad medical ethics involving five medical doctors plus medical billing businesses and pharmacies smells more like the substance that farmers put on their fields.

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Posted by Chuck Gallagher in Medical Ethics and tagged , ,