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Financial Crime News

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FinCEN's biggest problem is that it is incredibly low profile and hardly anyone knows what it is or, even, in broad terms what it does. That's been its problem since its early days. For years it dined out on the single case that really hit the news: the Black Market Peso Exchange but that was old hat even in the late 1990s. Now it's got a new plan and it's aping, well, everyone else who wants to get their name in the papers. (free content)

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On 20th November 2012, HP issued a press release saying "“HP is extremely disappointed to find that some former members of Autonomy’s management team used accounting improprieties, misrepresentations and disclosure failures to inflate the underlying financial metrics of the company, prior to Autonomy’s acquisition by HP." That started a large pile of poo rolling downhill and, as we found out this week, Sushovan Hussain, Autonomy's Chief Financial Officer, was at the bottom of that hill.

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You'd have to be an idiot not to recognise this mail as spam. But that's not the dangerous bit. The spam is identified as containing malware Sanesecurity.Scam4.874.UNOFFICIAL (DO NOT search for it: read on for why). We wouldn't bother reporting another, simple, spam-scam but this one isn't simple and there's a whole ecosystem behind it that only multiple layers of security, working together at server level and at desktop level, were able to protect us from. That was where this writer did something stupid, thinking he was doing something interesting. This attack arrived with us within the past hour and is therefore currently active. **Free Content**

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This is more than a little bit scary. A criminal, exactly what kind isn't clear, has been reading the major Australian employment website Seek.com.au - and then he (it's almost always a "he") is sending invitations to become involved in money laundering or, possibly, to be a victim of a long-established scheme to defraud his victims. The scam letter is a collection of so many currently trendy phrases that it might be convincing - especially to someone who is in awe of cryptocurrencies, blockchain (as they call it) and so many other trigger words. Oh, and there's an interesting twist to the old version of this crime.

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We can't even be bothered to write about this amazing spam-scam. Just read it and weep - tears of laughter. Alexandra, supposedly at supportf@finditeasy.info, you are hereby nominated for a prize at the annual spam-scam awards.

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The single over-riding principle that makes cryptocurrency accounts attractive to criminals is not the supposed anonymity (that argument is a done deal except for those who don't know what they are talking about) but the fact that, by design, there is, literally, no single body or person with regulatory authority.

What that means is that, while governments and courts (at the behest of victims) can make Asset Recovery Orders, or, as the US government is trying to do with its listing on OFAC of crypto-currency accounts that it claims it has reasonably identified as connected to listed persons, these are after the fact restrictions and to try to enforce them is, by reason of the essence of the distributed ledger, only ad hoc....

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We've introduced this same spam-scammer over the past few days and it's still at it. This time, however, there's no doubt what it's up to: it's trying to sell fixed return investments without any of the statutory information that's required for such promotions. But,then again, why bother complying with financial sector laws when the whole enterprise shows the signs of being fundamentally illegal?

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Somewhere, a new spam-scam factory is pumping out new schemes at the rate of one every couple of days.

They introduce via a domain name that has nothing to do with whatever they are using as the hook for the scam, but they do have certain things in common which enable us to identify them as sourced by the same spam-scam crew. Today's is from philstudio.net under the banner "Portfolio Direct" and is headed "Free guide to direct lending."

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As low-cost mortgage schemes and Pump and Dump scams return to the internet, there's more proof that frauds are cyclical. Today sees the gold spam we've seen in a while. And it even offers a "standby letter of credit."

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HM would not be amused. The UK Treasury, which is increasingly given to adopting American terminology, recently issued an "advisory" relating to jurisdictions with deficiencies in their counter-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing regimes. Hilariously, it was identified as a possible scam by the Thunderbird e-mail client.

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